L&D QuestionTime – Isobel Nancarrow

In your opinion what is the biggest anxiety within the world of learning and development at the moment?

The pace at which L+D departments are adapting to new technologies. By this I mean that people operate differently, work differently and learn differently. The speed at which people are expected to take on new skills is adapted to the internet, not the structure of an L+D programme. If L+D departments don’t speed up the process of adaptation, they face becoming superfluous.

Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?

Two main areas. For me it isn’t enough to hear speakers or read theories, I need to see what people are doing, what works and what doesn’t.

That said, I am influenced by thought leaders and companies, but it is intuitive search engines that form my thinking around L+D. For example the way that a site or a search engine can predict and suggest needs based on our behaviour. This I see as symptomatic of the way people are learning, through networks of knowledge, resources and people. We are adapting to our surroundings and becoming opportunistic in our approach to learning, by seeing what opportunity is in front of us, or suggested to us then taking it.

What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?

If it’s not on the horizon yet, it should be – a dating style learning app – where you can map skills and find the person either in your locality or in the company that can help with a project.

I would like to be able to sit in a bar in London talking to someone about astrophysics (which I know nothing about) then open the app to find an astrophysicist in the bar, whom I can pose a question to.

What “game changers” would you like to see and why?

I would like to see L+D managers thinking more like marketers. To run learning campaigns as part of the behaviour change process. To communicate within the organisation in a manner that makes the L+D department central to the development of the company. If I am allowed an obvious plug, this is exactly why we set up CampaignLearning.com

What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2020?

I hope we will see significantly more collaboration across the boundary of L+D, within organisations. I fear however this is a slow burner.

What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

Life is not an end goal, it’s a journey to be enjoyed.

About Isobel

Isobel is Managing Director at Nancarrow Partnerships who provide advice and in-the-field marketing services to support sustainable business growth. Drawing out company strengths and highlighting these to clients, partners and stakeholders.

Working with companies to establish appropriate ways of engaging your audience through the use of both on and off line media. Developing marketing plans, communications and resources. Working with businesses to strengthen your position in the marketplace.

Follow Isobel on Twitter @IssyNancarrow

Isobel is also a consultant for the Learning & Performance Institute

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