Learning Live was very insightful with balance of thought provoking seminars and actionable workshops. With so many takeaways to share I’ve added 6 insights which will give you food for thought to the normal takeaways. A big thank you to The LPI for putting the event on!
Stop creating content and start facilitating learning
In the opening panel the point was made with real passion by Lori Niles-Hofmann who stated that she’d killed 70% of the requests for e-learning modules. To better learning she triaged requests and created shorter, bitesize content that solved a specific issue. Fellow pannelist Catalina Schveninger was in agreement supporting talking about how switched her focus from content creation to peer to peer learning. This was effective as it allowed learners to raise issues that were important to them with answers being conveyed by internal experts in a way that they understood with the right level of technical detail.
In another panel, Katie White shared the story of how her p2p learning network organically started playing risk, using sales targets and problem solving to capture territories from one another.
The point here is that it is the job of L&D to support learning in a meaningful way. Creating courses and content that people won’t use or look at is not doing that effectively. Connecting teams, supporting curiosity and creating timely resources is much more effective. To do this, challenge those who say they need new courses. Understand why they want the content and understand the outcome they are trying to achieve.
Focus on the outcome and not the content
A consistent message throughout Learning Live was this; ‘Understand the outcome you are trying to achieve and then work backwards from there.’ By using tools such as Simon Sinek’s 5 why’s it’s possible to get to the underlying issue instead of tackling symptoms.
On a practical level, actively listening to different stakeholders to gain a well rounded perspective of the issue was recommended. This requires an open mind and, as Adam Harwood noted, don’t go into meetings with a solution. Instead, think about the problem critically, challenge assumptions and find a solution which works within the context. By doing so you will have a bigger impact on the business and have clarity around the learning outcomes. Especially as the solution will be more personalised and relevant.
Use the learners metrics to support yours
With a recent emphasis on data and metrics across the industry there was a call to make measurement more meaningful. As Donald Taylor put it ‘just because you’re present doesn’t mean you will have learnt’. One panel suggested abandoning Kirkpatrick’s levels 1&2 which were seen as vanity metrics. Instead they suggested using the metrics which your learners own performance is measured on. The way they had success doing this was through benchmarking performance data before and after the learning. This will show correlational trends which adds context to L&D focused metrics. Although we were warned about drawing a direct link as other factors would also be be in play.
Adam Harwood embraced this approach, seeking evidence from those that wanted training to demonstrate their need. This resulted in being focused on the outcome rather than the perceived need.
To support quantitative metrics, Lori was firm in the belief that a strong network throughout the business will give you qualitative data. In particular providing feedback and honest answers about content and courses. This was supported by both Katie and Lorenzo Giliomee who used a mix of qualitative and quantitative metrics to measure their impact and these largely came through either casual conversations or through comments within the company social platform.
Treat learners like customers
Lorenzo explained O2’s change in approach hinged on this insight. The first step was to align learning to the rest of the organisation by tying learning initiatives to the marketing campaigns that were being run. This meant using similar imagery, terminology and metrics. The benefit of this was reduced barriers to learning and more engagement. Plus, by improving the user experience learners were focused on the task rather than the medium.
In some cases L&D waits for learners to engage with the content that’s been curated. Instead treat learners like prospective customers and engage with them on their terms. Then take the time to find out what they want and need and address those findings.
I hope you enjoyed those takeaways but the learning is not over yet! I also wanted to share with you 6 insights which will give you food for thought from conversations, keynotes or other presentations throughout the two days:
1. Humans love change – Don’t be afraid to create changes and fresh challenges, learners will adapt. Just look at how our behaviour has changed with contactless payments and the opportunities it’s brought with it.
2.The culture of a team / company starts with you – If you want to change a culture then start the change within your team and let it flow from there. The first step is to be a role model yourself.
3.Develop a safe place for learning – whether it be a meeting room, offsite or through VR, learners need a place where they can experiment, test and develop the new skills they’re learning where they won’t be judged when they fail
4.Curate user generated content – processes, helpful tips and resources are all created by teams to help each other. Empower the creation of this and help others to find it and use it.
5.Be hard on the problem but soft on the ego – as an approach this makes meetings less emotionally charged and it becomes easier to get buy in as everyone works to a common goal.
6.Data can be biased – data often isn’t wholly representative and curators of data will seek to tell a story that fits their narrative so think carefully before making generalisations with it.
Overall the event taught me a lot about the changes and challenges within the industry. The way the event was run was perfect, it allowed a great balance of knowledge transfer, networking and talking to exhibitors. Great job LPI!
About the author – James Barrass-Banks
James is a Digital Marketing Consultant with a thirst for knowledge and a love for growing & developing people. His experience is multifaceted including; training, coaching, managing successful marketing campaigns and project management. With an interest in theatrics, food and American Football the Superbowl is his favourite combination of the three!
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