L&D QuestionTime – Michelle Parry-Slater

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

Fear is holding us back. Fear we don’t have the skills we need. Fear of the technology. Fear of upsetting the tick box transactional apple cart. Fear is such a stifling emotion. I find it interesting that business is naturally risk averse, yet expect to keep moving forward with innovation and customer satisfaction. I challenge my customers with two questions; What will happen if you don’t modernise your workplace learning? What does awesome look like to you and your organisation? Those questions speak directly to the heart of their fears.

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

I am a massive fan of Twitter. I get a lot from my Personal Learning Network on Twitter, both via Tweet Chats and Tweet Ups. I also massively enjoy webinars, particularly the Learning & Skills Group webinars. Don Taylor is a fantastic host.

What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning? Interactive Video. I am a huge believer in video based learning. You only need to consider the success of film and television to know that video captures imaginations. Combined with the impact yet brevity of a movie trailer, you can transfer a lot of knowledge in a format that sticks via video. It works in so many organisations, from sharing your best in house expert’s knowledge, to capturing the real needs of your customers, from demonstrating how to use or fix machinery, to sharing TED talks. Video based learning works, so with the introduction of interactive video to that amazing mix, I can’t wait for the chose your own adventure style videos, making great use of branching scenarios for learning personalisation, allowing a learner-led, learner centric experience which really gets to the heart of the learning matter quickly and effectively.

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

I would like to see L&D to be separated from the HR banner. I think that HR is evolving at a much slower rate than L&D, so is often being held back by HR’s counting of training hours or performance reviews. For me, learning is all about great conversations not how many hours someone sat in a training room eating nice biscuits and listening to the sage on the stage. Instead of offering 5 training days a year, imagine offering 5 networking days a year plus learning at point of need. L&D needs an independent voice in an organisation, or at least a voice which is recognised to be able to impact change effectively.

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

Mmm, interesting to ponder what I think the L&D world will look like, or what I would like it to look like. I believe they are two separate things as 2020 is perhaps a little too soon to turn the tanker completely. What I would like it to look like is completely embedded within operational business units as real BPs who are empowered to make the evolutionary progress required to get staff in businesses to have access be able to learn at point of need, not to have to wait for a course, to have in house experts tapped in to, and to provide the right interventions for the right people at the right time, every time. What I think it will be is sadly held back by a stalwart few old schoolers still holding onto counting hours, ticking boxes, transactional course booking, entertaining not training,  being reactive not proactive. However I also hold the hope that I am wrong and 2020 starts a decade of consolidation.

What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

Be kind, always, particularly to yourself and make a positive difference.

About Michelle Parry-Slater

Michelle is a passionate Learning & Development professional interested in modern learning, strategic planning, and effective learning delivery. Excited by making learning an everyday event; work is learning & learning is work, Micelle is enthusiastic in the extreme because life is for making a positive difference. Michelle is Learning & Development Director at Kairos Modern Learning.

Connect with Michelle on Twitter – @MiPS1608

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