James is Learning & Performance Solutions Director at Good Practice and is an experienced learning and development professional, taking a keen (but not exclusive) interest in online technologies for learning and is responsible for developing and delivering the organisation’s learning and performance solutions strategy.
In your opinion what is the biggest anxiety within the world of learning and development at the moment?
I immediately feel the hives developing when performance outcomes with a genuine purpose aren’t at the centre of a learning initiative. Without that focus I struggle to see the point. Unfortunately, a lot of L&D professionals still shy away from the conversation about these because they either can’t articulate properly what it is they are trying to achieve (and can’t admit it) or don’t want to detail a defined metric because they don’t want to be seen as ‘failing’ (which they don’t want to admit it). It’s a perennial issue, sadly.
Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?
If you genuinely have your head up, you soak up a lot of learning and ideas from various sources, so it’s probably unfair to name specific sources. But I am going to, anyway! I’ve been so inspired by Julie Dirksen’s book “Design For How People Learn”. I still find myself dipping into to recharge my instructional design batteries. It’s my first recommendation if people are looking for a practical, common sense, yet creative introduction to our field. I’m delighted that Julie is updating it and we can expect a new edition later this year.
What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?
I’m not sure this is a great innovation but a very welcome stride: genuinely learner-centred content management systems. People are increasingly frustrated by badly designed search facilities and user interfaces. They expect to (and, indeed, need to) find necessary resources quickly and easily. We’re starting to see technologies that facilitates this. And they are most welcome.
What “game changers” would you like to see and why?
I love the idea of a Spotify or Apple Music for learning. Learners discovering content and making “playlists” guided by interests or goals shared by others. There is a lot of talk about L&D being content curators, but I think the day is coming where learners are their are own curators.
What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2020?
My honest answer is “not as advanced as I would like”. We still live in a world where “networking” is thought of a career management term. But I have learned more from my network (both face to face and on social media) than I could have imagined. I would love to think we will get to a place where it, in the wider world, is as accepted a learning term as “course” or “workshop”.
What advice would you give your 21 year old self?
Have the courage to “fail”. (Although, I think my 35 year old self could benefit from that advice more.)
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