Member Spotlight – Duncan Edwards

In the next in this bi monthly feature we hear the thoughts and opinions of Duncan Edwards.

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

Reward (not necessarily financial) and recognition.  We were only just talking about this at work yesterday and how to encourage staff to take more learning courses.  25% of the staff are very eager to learn, 50% do it because they have/need to and 25% will delay and delay.   We are exploring including L&D in annual appraisals, notional fun monetary awards eg $10 to use in canteen, fun certificates, team learning awards to introduce competivity etc

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?

MOOCs will definitely take off, but they can be no more than generic learning, including technical aspects.  So a great way to introduce staff to new topics and concepts, but only at introduction and next level training.  After that, training has to reflect the organisation, its strategy, risk appetite, products, key concerns IF L&D is to contribute to the business’ success.  L&D has to be focussed and value adding, not generic.

That is what organisations have to realise, training has to be focussed on the needs of the organisation.  it is not like going to school where you have a broad education.  It really is about “how can we make this organisation better AND achieve its strategic directives?”

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

Evolution.  I wish it was a revolution as then it would inspire me, but I only see incremental change.  The mechanism of delivery is changing e.g. e-modules; but it is not revolutionary.  L&D is still seen as dull and boring.  (I know myself – I have compulsory e-training to do.  If find it ‘not relevant’, boring and if it says it will take 1 hour to complete, I aim to finish in 20 mins.  And that sums up most of my peers as well.

I would like to see ‘real time’ training!  A system that knows what skills and experience you have, that knows what you are doing now and says, “Whoah, you need some training before you take the next step”.  Short, sharp focussed training – no more than 5 minutes.  Or a prompt if you need longer.

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

Very reactive.   Don’t have the time or resources ( or the imagination!) to be innovative.  We follow ‘new ideas’, but they are no really new – as above, normally a new delivery channel (but nothing dramatic).

Regulators and business practices drive the training courses – but training courses and needs have not really changed from 20 years ago.

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

Think carefully.  You will not have a good career if the organisation views L&D (‘training’) as a necessary evil.  You often need to look for the bigger organisations who realise they need to pay more than lip service to training.

Above all – you need to be fresh – have innovative ideas, not be afraid to express them.  AND continually demonstrate the value you are bringing to the organisation.

About Duncan Edwards

Based in Singapore for the past 15 years Duncan is a Chartered Accountant and experienced business professional with demonstrated experience of working and building client service teams across ASEAN. He has extensive business management and operating experience across ASEA, UK and Europe.  Former Executive Management Board member at OCBC.  Member of Ernst & Young’s Business Risk Services Financial Services global leadership team.

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