Member Spotlight – Niall Gavin

In this new bi monthly feature we hear the thoughts and opinions of the life blood of the Learning and Performance Institute – its members. In the 1st of the series we hear from Niall Gavin.

What does the changing nature of Learning & Development mean for L&D professionals?

More than ever now, we are lucky if we are one step ahead of our learners, with regard to facilitation, curation and digital skills. These are essentials now. We also need to be actively scanning the learning landscape and environment ahead, or we will be caught up with at best, overtaken at worst.

What in your opinion are the most effective ways of encouraging staff to become self-directed learners?

By training managers to take responsibility for setting their people’s direction, enabling them to get on with it (and access the learning required) and then monitoring and supporting their progress. Learners will become self-directed if given the permission and the space to become so. If not, they’ll do it themselves, off-grid and, having done so, may see other opportunities elsewhere.

There has been a great deal of publicity and conversation around MOOC’s this past 18 months – what do you think the future look like for MOOC’s?

Great for the above self-directed learners, but corporate L&D doesn’t yet seem to have grasped the potential, nor developed a flexibile enough approach to encourage and facilitate their people to participate. My own limited experience as a learner suggests that the facilitation and discussion touch points are critical to maintaining learner enthusiasm and continued engagement throughout.

Is Learning and Development going through an evolution or a revolution?

Slow evolution.

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

What I (and many others) now call “my Personal Learning Network” (PLN), mostly individual L&D, HR and OD professionals external to my immediate place of work, accessed and interacted with via informal Social Media, professional organisations and personal contacts. The LPI and the CIPD have upped their game considerably in supporting and encouraging this approach recently and the profession has gained considerably as a result.

What advice would you give to someone looking to take up a career in learning?

Leave your ego at the door. The day of the all-knowing ‘sage on the stage’ is over. Be prepared to learn from others, to continually seek to improve you own skills, be comfortable with the discomfort of not knowing, but have (or develop) the skills to find out and share your findings (thereby walking the talk and demonstrating what modern and future learning looks and feels like).

About Niall Gavin

Niall is an experienced and qualified professional with well-honed leadership and development skills in Learning, People & Performance Management and learner-centric Technology Assisted Learning, developed working in both the commercial and the public sectors over the last nearly 30 years. An enthusiastic champion of Virtual and Social Learning tools, an active blogger and Tweeter, he was responsible for leading FirstGroup’s investigation, development, delivery and utilisation of new types of technology assisted learning solutions for First’s business user community.

Thrice Winner of the IITT (now LPI) National Training Awards in 2002, 2003 & 2004;
Holder of the Chartered Management Institute Diploma in Management;
Fellow of the Learning & Performance Institute; Member of the Chartered Management Institute and Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Professional Development

Specialties: Training Management, Leadership and Performance Management; Development and deployment of virtual, social media and e-learning solutions; Learning programme development, design, resourcing, implementation and evaluation.

Connect with Niall on twitter – @niallgavinuk

If you would like to take part in the series then simply email [email protected] or call Michael (Head of Member Services) on 02476 496 215.

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