With the announcement late last year of the finalists of the 2019 Learning Awards, we continue this new series of L&D QuestionTime in which we hear from this years finalists.
Today we hear from Claire Barron shortlisted in the Learning Professional 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 lies in the huge pace of change at the moment, something that could get even faster in the future! The constant emergence of new skills to develop and huge array of new technology to deliver development on is vast, ensuring we are fast, flexible and funky is critical. Business needs are constantly changing, and the way in which our learners wish to consume content is also rapidly evolving, ensuring we have super engaging content, that is easily consumed and doesn’t quickly date is a hugely exciting challenge.
Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?
My thinking around L&D is largely informed by my learners, there is no better way to shake off the shackles of a central office function and expand my L&D horizons than to ensure I am interacting with my learners, as they perform their role. I am lucky enough to be designing and delivering training programmes for Vodafone’s huge frontline in retail and contact centres. I regularly get out and talk to this exciting audience and find out how they are learning, at work and in their day to day lives. Replicate what they are doing voluntarily and we know we can build that culture of everyday learning.
In addition to the usual exploration of articles, videos, subscriptions that we are all thirstily consuming, I am also very privileged to work within a fantastic team at Vodafone who are constantly challenging each other, sharing learnings, mistakes and successes across our business.
What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?
Well I am finding it hard to choose just one! So maybe it is a collection of innovations that when used together it is fantastic, things that we are combining in a new programme at Vodafone called Ready2LEAD – personalisation, a social media style collaboration space, gamification with some really innovative missions that not only drive learning and collaboration but also bring it to life in the workplace and allow us to see the impact. We are also integrating apps to that can fulfil additional business or learning needs and I am loving how exciting and thought provoking great online content can be Getting the right recipe for these kinds of innovations is super powerful.
What “game changers” would you like to see and why?
Using AI and performance statistics to deliver training when and where it is needed in call centres or retail stores, not just in the overused term “bitesize chunks” but in a really engaging, adult to adult way that supports learning through doing and collates/curates additional learning to be used when more time is available.
In an increasingly digital world with many pressures and the need to constantly evolve, to learn and unlearn, then I would love to see wellbeing thought of in all L&D initiatives. At the centre of this digital transformation beats the fragile heart and mind of a human being and by integrating resilience, mindfulness, self-awareness and other wellbeing initiatives into training programmes, both face to face and online and encouraging collaboration in the workplace we will strengthen our workforce in so many ways.
What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2030?
I think it will be an absolutely amazing place, L&D truly integrated with the business through technology, demonstrating it’s impact and supporting learners on their own personal career or role development, but only if we embrace the change! As L&D professionals we must be ahead of the curve on leading change, on digital advocacy and on re-writing the rules.
What advice would you give your 21 year old self?
Brilliant question… I would say trust your instincts, a wonderfully human ability that we often doubt, our confidence or self esteem holds us back, but trust your instincts … ask the question, take the job, end the relationship, make the leap, when you do that you are very rarely wrong.
Claire Barron is the Customer Experience and Capability Manager at Vodafone Group. Claire is responsible for the design and delivery of all of the global learning programmes that Vodafone uses to develop its 100,000 strong frontline in stores and contact centres in 26 countries across the world. Claire has spent her 24 year career with Vodafone, 16 years in the retail field, followed by 4 years in Customer Experience Management which has given her the real life experience she uses in her current role.
Connect with Claire on LinkedIn