L&D QuestionTime Awards Finalists – Cameron Glennon

With the recent announcement of the finalists of the 2020 Learning Awards, we continue this series of the L&D QuestionTime where we hear from this years finalists.

Today we hear from Cameron Glennon shortlisted in the Rising Star of The Year category.

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

For me the biggest anxiety is not making a difference. Negative connotations around L&D are usually relating to tick-box exercises that add no real value to the organisation or the individual. In order to dispel these negative connotations, we need to work hard to ensure that everything we are creating is going to add value, and ultimately, improve performance! If our learning intervention isn’t going to make someone’s job easier, is it the right thing to do?

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

In terms of ‘who’, I think we are extremely fortunate to have so many incredibly intelligent people sharing thought provoking ideas and opinions on a regular basis. Unashamedly, I am a big Nick Shackleton-Jones fanboy and love the way he challenges the ‘we’ve always done it this way’ mantra. As well as Nick, I have really enjoyed David James’ recent podcast series and always try to keep up to date with the likes of Lori Niles-Hoffman and Kevin Yates amongst many others!

The ‘what’ is a slightly more difficult question to answer… I love sport and find it incredibly interesting how different athletes manage their own development, and the parallels with L&D. One of my favourite TED Talks by Eduardo Briceno (‘How to get better at the things you care about’) really helped to shape my thinking on this. I guess a lot of my thinking is driven by practicality – if I was the end user, what would actually help me to perform better, not what my manager thinks that should be. I think in L&D sometimes we lose sight of this.

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

For me, the most exciting innovation in L&D is the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Several organisations are already utilising the power of AI but for many of us it is a new and exciting technology. If I come across a challenge in my role, I usually have one of two approaches: have a quick google search or speak to someone and ask the question! Whether or not I can solve my challenge is down to whether I can locate the exact information in a context that I understand, or the person I ask knows the answer – and if the answer to both is no, then I am still stuck…
Imagine a situation where you can ask a chat bot any question and be presented with the answer exactly when you need it and in the format that is most useful?! The impact that this would have on performance in every organisation would be incredible, reducing lost time and effort due to lack of information, and creating an environment of true Performance Support.

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

Again, I have to say AI and big data – the opportunities here seem almost endless! With all new technologies, there is always the challenge of working out how to effectively harness the potential, but it seems like we are getting closer to the answer. AI will give us the ability to not only understand the support that people need but also when exactly they need it, providing tailored information and support.

There is a tendency to shoe-horn technology into solutions rather than really understanding what it is that we are trying to solve and how this is going to benefit the end user. Technology is clearly a powerful tool when used effectively but it loses its efficacy when we don’t centre its use around the learner. When thinking about our end users, if we are unable to answer the question from their perspective of ‘why should I care?’, then it is unlikely we’ll create something that will have real impact.

What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2030?

Wow, what a question! I think there are some huge challenges for organisations, their people, and specifically the L&D function relating to automation. Ultimately, the world of work will be so different by 2030 and with that, so will job roles across all industries. L&D need to be in a position to fully support people in these new roles where the focus is likely to be much more on soft, human skills opposed to traditional technical skills – how do we develop people’s emotional intelligence, for example? Further to this, all the reports seem to suggest that automation will create more jobs than we will lose, but there is an obvious challenge of upskilling the people losing their jobs to move into new roles.

Having said this, I am optimistic that L&D will see some huge improvements over the next decade. By 2030, I hope we will be in a situation where challenges in the work flow can be solved by simply asking the question (whether this is through a chat bot or some crazy hologram I am unsure!).

What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

‘It is ok to not have everything figured out!’ When I was at university, I used to get myself stressed out by the fact I didn’t have my career planned out. I knew that I wanted to be a ‘success’ but thinking back I had no idea what that actually meant – probably driving a fast car and wearing a fancy watch!

About Cameron:

Cameron has been in the industry just over 4 years and specialises in working with clients to design and develop bespoke learning technology solutions.

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