Preparing for the future of learning

This week’s post comes from #chat2lrn crew member, Judith Christian-Carter B.Ed (Hons), M.Phil, FLPI, Chartered FCIPD. Judith is a Director of Effective Learning Solutions, a UK-based learning services company. You can find her on Twitter @JudithELS

Are you preparing for the future of learning and if so, how?   We all know of L&D people future-of-learning-jlswho stubbornly refuse to let go of what they hold dear, most of it historical and deemed to be safe. Some will say that “if it isn’t broke, then don’t fix it”, but the growing consensus is that L&D is broken and in desperate need of being fixed!  So, just how can it be fixed and how can we prepare for the future of learning? Inspiration for this post comes from an excellent Towards Maturity* report published earlier this year.

The fast changing world of work

Here’s the thing: we live in a world in which new working practices are fast emerging, new technologies are being adopted, flexible working patterns are becoming the norm, people are working in different locations and often in multi-generational teams. The upshot of which means that how, when and where people learn is also changing, which, in turn, leads to a new and different learning landscape. It is this new landscape that requires an accessible, agile and flexible approach to be adopted by all L&D professionals, as only will such an approach ensure that L&D plays a major contribution to the performance and productivity of all organisations.

For most L&D functions small tweaks will not suffice, it is major shifts that are required: “But for these shifts to take place, learning professionals must also address their own knowledge and practice, and to upskill and reskill themselves. They need to make sure they have the skills to listen, observe, question and reflect how learning can best support the delivery of organisational goals. They need to understand where and how learners are learning, and to understand the potential for all the different forms and channels for learning, and when to create and when to curate. They must be role models in the new learning agenda where close alignment to the business operation must be the norm.” (Peter Cheese, CEO of CIPD, 2016). So, what exactly do these “shifts” entail and, even more importantly, how can they be achieved? This is the focus for our chat.

What does L&D need to do?

We need to:

  • let go and move on
  • change our attitudes towards learning
  • ditch all those learning traditions that are downright unhelpful
  • always stay relevant to the needs of our learners
  • become facilitators, creators of network connections, social mentors, curators of knowledge and learning resources.

How can L&D achieve this?

We need to:

  • improve our “business” credibility
  • demonstrate our value, and help people to develop and build the skills they need to do their jobs
  • move to a more customer-activated strategy
  • respond quickly and work fast, and be accountable to our customers
  • demonstrate key behaviours – all based on actions and not just words. 

This is your task, if you will accept it, to join in and discuss these requirements on 20 October, 2016, and let’s see if we can generate ideas for some much needed changes in true #chat2lrn style.

*If you have time, check out:

http://www.towardsmaturity.org/article/2016/05/09/in-focus-preparing-future-learning-2016/

 

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Science of Learning: When and How

2016-08-30_10-00-45The 2014 Association for Talent Development’s (ATD) State of the Industry report, shows organizations spending spent $1,208 on average, per employee, on training and development. Salas and the other authors of The Science of Training and Development in Organizations: What Matters in Practice, groundbreaking research using a series of meta-analyses, tell us that well-designed training is effective. It also says that the way we design, deliver, and implement training is what impacts the degree to which it is effective, asserting:

… (D)ecisions about what to train, how to train, and how to implement and evaluate training should be informed by the best information science has to offer.

Salas and fellow authors said reviews of training literature found many training efforts to be faddish, disconnected to the scientific literature, and lagging behind other sciences, with training programs implemented for inadequate and wasteful reasons.

Too many training myths still prevail. A 2008 Cisco whitepaper discussed the multitude of learning myths prevalent among learning practitioners. An entire book was recently published on learning myths.

Using research in practice aims to integrate scientific evidence with day-to-day practice in order to gain better outcomes. For example, carpenters may not know all the physics that goes into good practice, but they practice the science as shelving and framing would fall down if they didn’t.

What happens when L&D practitioners don’t practice the science of learning? Not practicing our science means our organizations and learners suffer and resources are wasted.

In this chat2lrn, we’ll discuss whether and how to use the science of learning in L&D practice.

References

C. Fadel. & C. Lemke. (2008). Cisco Systems. Multimodal learning through media: What the research says http://www.cisco.com/web/strategy/docs/education/Multimodal-Learning-Through-Media.pdf

Salas, E., Tannenbaum, S.I., Kraiger, K and Smith-Jentsch, K.A. (2012). The science of training and development in organizations: What matters in practice. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 13 (2), pp. 74-101. 42. http://psi.sagepub.com/content/13/2/74.full.pdf+html

Tharenou, P., Saks, A., & Moore, C. (2007). A review and critique of research on training Psychological Science in the Public Interest-2012-Salas-74-101 http://www.celiamoore.com/uploads/9/3/2/1/9321973/tharenou_saks_moore_-_hrm_review_-_2007.pdf

R. E.  Mayer, R.E. (1997). Multimedia learning: Are we asking the right questions? Education Psychologist, 32, 1-19. http://www.uky.edu/~gmswan3/609/mayer_1997.pdfPsychological Science in the Public Interest-2012-Salas-74-101

Leicester City, Brexit and Pokemon Go: 2016 mid-year review

This week’s post is from #chat2lrn crew member Ross Garner, an Online Instructional Designer with GoodPractice in Edinburgh. 

2016’s been a crazy old year. First Leicester won the Premier League, then the UK voted itself out of Europe. Now, children and adults alike are walking in front of cars and crashing into lampposts as they use their phones to hunt virtual Pokemon.

If you’d put money on any of the above, you’d be very rich indeed.

But are we any wiser this July than we were back in January? Or has the unpredictability of the past six months shattered our confidence?

On this week’s #chat2lrn, we’ll be asking how this year has been for you? How have your expectations compared to reality? How have your ideas changed? What has gone well? What failures have you learned from?

Here are three ideas to get you started:

We operate in complex systems

How did Leicester City overcome 5000-1 odds to top the Premier League? Sure, training played a part. But so too did management decisions, the culture at the club, the mistakes made by opponents, and no small amount of luck.

When you are designing learning interventions, how much do you consider the system within which you operate? Is training the answer, or are there other factors at play? Can the success of one team be replicated to another, or are other factors like environment, team dynamic or luck skewing the results?

In complex systems, where we have a big impact on some areas but less of an impact on others, do you need to nudge rather than lead?

Emotion trumps facts

Throughout the UK Brexit debate – and the US Presidential race – facts have been cast aside in favour of sweeping generalisations. Why do these generalisations stick? Because they chime with the real-world experiences of voters. Because voters have an emotional connection to the candidates and to the ideas.

When we’re developing a new learning initiative, is it enough that we think it will improve the performance of our colleagues or clients? Do our learners believe that? Does it make sense to them, in their context, without knowing what we know? How much do you consider our learners’ hopes, fears, or even their workplace happiness?

Fun matters

Pokemon Go had as many users in its first week as Uber had in 7 years. It makes over $1million in revenue every day. As we look at the seriousness of the world around us, it’s encouraging to see hundreds of people gather in one space to catch a pikachu.

But how does this help us as learning and development professionals?

Well, it tells us that fun matters. Yes, we do a serious job. And yes, performance at work is important. But that doesn’t mean that developing a team, and striving towards a common goal, can’t be fun. What can we do to promote fun? Can fun improve productivity?

We’ll be discussing this, and your own ideas, at our #chat2lrn mid-year review. Thursday, August 28, at 8am Pacific, 11am Eastern, 4pm BST. See you there!

It is time for learning to get back to messy

Messy learning

This week’s post is from chat2lrn crew member, Fiona Quigley, who works with Logicearth Learning Services based in Ireland. 

I don’t know about you, but I love a bit of a mess – or more to the point, I love working through a mess to make sense of it, structure it and tidy it up in my mind. To me that is what ‘real learning’ is. To have to make sense of something that you are unsure of, to have to put in a bit of effort and to have a bit of angst about it all until the penny finally drops – that is the best of learning for me.

So does this type of thing happen in or get facilitated by corporate L&D departments? Not in my experience. This is not a blame game though – I think it is more to do with the business environment that we are currently operating in. Often L&D get blamed for not ‘providing’ the best learning experiences – but in my opinion, many times they are just responding to what the business is demanding. Business needs people to learn fast and many of us mistakenly think that organising it centrally will be quicker. Quicker isn’t always better.

Getting lost in translation

And the other problem is this – we lose the nuance and complexity; we distort, reduce and obfuscate real learning. We dumb things down and complex learning topics like leadership, communication skills and working well with others often get lost in translation. How many organisations these days continually speak of difficulties in ‘training’ leaders or helping people to communicate and work together better. Maybe it has something to do with trying to make the messy much tidier than it needs to be?

So join us in this week’s messy chat2lrn and share your thoughts on this topic.
Thursday, July 14 at 8am Pacific, 11am Eastern, 4pm BST.  See you there!

Is assessment a necessary evil or a blessing in disguise?

This week’s post comes from #chat2lrn crew member, Judith Christian-Carter B.Ed (Hons), M.Phil, FLPI, Chartered FCIPD. Judith is a Director of Effective Learning Solutions, a UK-based learning services company. You can find her on Twitter @JudithELS

asssessment

As a learning professional, do you regard assessment to be part and parcel of your job role? If you do, then you aren’t alone but why is the learning profession so obsessed with assessment? Is it by desire, or as a result of coercion from line managers and senior executives? Even if the reasons are largely historical, this still doesn’t make the need for assessment to be right, or serve as an excuse when it’s done badly, which, alas, is all too often the case.

Testing, testing and yet more testing

Today, in several countries there is much controversy surrounding the excessive testing of school students. However, for some time there has also been a growing groundswell of criticism about the use and frequency of assessing adult learning. Does the love of measurement lie at the root of the obsession with assessment? After all, just think of all those quotes and saying extolling the value of measurement: “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it”, “If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it” and “If you cannot measure it, it doesn’t exist” – so it must be a good thing, mustn’t it?

Okay, many people do want to know how they are doing, be they a learner, a manager or the organisation as a whole. So measurements that inform them of what they want to know are a good thing. However, there are two aspects to this: the first is what is actually being measured, and the second is how it has been measured. The truth is, that what you measure is what you get! So, does the fact that I have scored 100% on a compliance or regulation-based test mean that I am competent to perform either in the workplace? If all I’ve been assessed on is knowledge and not understanding or the application of that knowledge, then probably not.

Designing assessment is far from easy

Designing valid and reliable assessments is an extremely skilled and experienced activity. As with other aspects of learning provision, there are far too many who assume that anyone can design assessments. It is largely this assumption that has led to assessments being used when they are not needed and, when they are needed, being designed so poorly.

Putting assessment in its place

Do you think that the time has come for the learning profession as a whole to acknowledge that assessment has got totally out of hand, as well as being conducted extremely badly in far too many instances? Why should assessment be assumed to be a given when people are learning? Instead, should its use be questioned and challenged in each and every situation? Measuring and collecting data are just fine, as long as there are reasons for doing the former and collecting the latter. If no reasons can be provided, then should we leave well alone and just get on with helping people learn what they need in order to do their jobs better? 

Lots of questions, so join in and discuss these and others on 2 June, 2016 08.00PDT/11.00EDT/16.00BST  to see to what extent assessment is viewed as a necessary evil or a blessing in disguise.

 

 

Device Agnostic Learning Design: Are You a Believer?

Today’s post is written by Andrea May, #chat2lrn crew member and Vice President of Instructional Design Services at Dashe & Thomson in Minneapolis, MN. Andrea is an instructional designer, project manager, wife, mother, Girl Scout troop leader and theater artist. Find her on Twitter @andreamay1.

device-explosionHow many different electronic devices do you interact with on a daily basis? My guess is that most L&D professionals will say at least two, perhaps a computer and a smart phone. Some will add several more to that total. Tablets, smart TVs, gaming systems, smart watches, e-readers, and many other devices have made their way into our daily lives. I’ve even seen wi-fi enabled refrigerators that can hunt for coupons and notify you when you are running out of milk.

Now consider the two or three devices you use most often. For many of us, those three devices are a computer/laptop, a smart phone, and an iPad/tablet. We use each device for different purposes based on its strengths and weaknesses. Your smart phone is ideal for dashing off quick texts, providing turn by turn directions to your destination, getting answers to questions while on the go, and even for making an occasional phone call. But the screen size is less than ideal for doing actual work or taking a course online. Tablets provide a nice hybrid for some tasks, but they don’t fit well in your pocket and it is still challenging to use it for the tasks that would seem best suited for a PC with its full keyboard and mouse and much larger screen.

But what if more content was designed in such a way as to be device agnostic? eLearning courses, for example, that work just as well on a smart phone as they do on a PC, could set users free to interact with that content exactly when and how they choose. The user could choose a device based on their preferences rather than on the needs of the content. Exciting stuff!

The trends are heading in this direction. So what do we, as L&D professionals, need to consider in order to design content that is essentially device blind? Join us this Thursday, March 24th 09.00 PDT/12.00 EDT /16.00 GMT on Twitter for #chat2lrn and share your ideas on enabling device agnostic learning content.

 

Trends, Goals, and Professional Development…Planning for 2016

“Ajay is a Chartered Professional Accountant and a Certified Training and Development Professional but considers himself a Workforce Revolutionary. Ajay is a 3-time published author with John Wiley & Sons recently publishing his third book titled, “The Trainers Balanced Scorecard: A Complete Resource for Linking Learning and Growth to Organizational Strategy” (http://amzn.to/c3Qsk0). He is also a multi award-winning writer receiving the 2014 and 2015 prestigious TrainingIndustry.com Readership and Editors’ Award for Editor’s Choice and the Top 10 most read articles. Ajay regularly appears on the #1 Montreal Talk Radio morning show discussing workforce performance issues.”

Visit his (uncensored) workforce performance blog, Workforce Revolution

The 35th anniversary of John Lennon’s death just passed but his words remain…“So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Another year over. And a new one just begun.”

Yes. Another year is over and what have you done? If you are unable to fully answer this question don’t worry, you are not alone. The end of a year comes upon us quickly and it is often difficult to reconcile considering the promise a start of the year offers.

Each of us begins every year with renewed vigor and energy then in the end, which we believed was so long away, comes upon us with little notice. If you feel deflated from the passing of another year I have bad news…another one is around the corner. But here’s the good news. If you don’t want to experience disappointment the same time next year then do something about it now.

Moving Forward By Looking Back

The first step to achieving your end of year expectations is to first take a moment to reflect upon the past year. Learning only takes place if you are able to recognize what you can learn from past experience.

Begin by taking inventory of your experiences in the past twelve months. Human nature is to focus on the mistakes rather than successes. Both provide valuable learning lessons and it is essential that you not repeat the failures and attempt to leverage the successes.

When reflecting, take note of everything you observed/experienced in the past twelve months. What were the fads disguised as trends? What were the trends that meant well but never delivered on their promise? What did you learn from them? What experiences did you take away? Answering these questions is key to achieving your next twelve months objectives.

Goal Setting Isn’t Goal Achievement

Reflect upon the goals you set. Did you set any at all? Disappointment is only measured based upon the goals you initially set. Otherwise your disappointment is a waste of time…the only disappointment you experience is why you never set goals in the first place.

If you did set specific goals at the beginning of the year then measure how well you’ve achieved them. I assume you’ve achieved some to your complete satisfaction, you achieved others to the extent to say you met them (but not to your complete satisfaction) and then there are the remaining ones that you didn’t achieve at all. Focus first on the ones you didn’t achieve and then the ones you could have done better achieving.

If you failed to set goals then you are solely to blame for your end of year ineffectiveness. But don’t wallow in the disappointment learn from the experience. Set specific goals for the next twelve months but be sure to set them up so you can track your progress throughout the year. And, never make it a shopping list of goals. Plan too many and you will set yourself up for certain failure this time next year.

Professional Growth Is Not Optional

Finally, take care of your own professional growth. It simply amazes me how so many learning practitioners I come across don’t place any effort into their own learning. How can you not practice what you actually preach unto others?

The second error many practitioners make is to be myopic in their development. Stop focusing on what you actually do. While it is relevant to maintain your expertise it is equally important to develop holistically. To be taken seriously by your leadership, think about complimenting your skills with learning that lifts your value and expertise to be more inclusive of ancillary concepts and roles.

Give Yourself a Year-Round Present

Christmas is around the corner. Why not be kind to yourself. Plan your 2016 with learning events and opportunities by subscribing and/or registering for courses and conferences throughout the year. This will guarantee your professional growth and lead you to reflect favorably when 2016 comes to an end.

We hope that the past twelve months have been good to you. What I mean by that is not only in successful attempts but also if you didn’t achieve your objectives. You must be able to look back on both experiences to add to your personal growth. My wish for you is to take these experiences and leverage them for a more fruitful and exceptionally successful 2016.

Please share your experiences from the past year with the #Chat2lrn community. What are the fads or trends that you believe added value or were a waste of time? What was your wish list from last year that you achieved or wanted to achieve? What is going to inspire you to achieve your goals in twelve months? Join us on December 17th, 8:00am PDT, 11:00am EDT, 4:00pm BST for a #chat2lrn discussing these and other questions.

Allow me to leave you with a closing John Lennon thought and my sincerest wish to you that seems appropriate for this post:

“A very merry Christmas, And a happy New Year. Let’s hope it’s a good one. Without any fear.”

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