Think like a marketer to engage your learners with curated content

By Harriet Croxton

Digital marketing concept. Human hand with a megaphone surrounded by media icons

This article, Ten Great Ideas for Valuable Curated Content from Hubspot, one of the leading global suppliers of Marketing Automation software, caught my eye as curation is a topic we’ve been talking about quite a bit lately in relation to learning content.

Marketers, as a breed, are inherently very good at this sort of thing; good internet users, good researchers, good sharers.  What can L&D professionals learn from them?
In most organisations learning and development has in the past been ‘all about the push’. Traditional courses and other learning content is created and has generally been pushed out to users from an LMS or via other marketing efforts. However, we know that much of the learning that takes place these days is on-the-job, experiential learning and as learners we are becoming very much more used to finding the answers to our questions in a more social and experiential way. L&D needs to encourage this type of learning and curate content for its learners to then explore for themselves.

For instance, an L&D department might act as curator to put together the best-of-breed thinking on leadership or management from the top business schools. As HubSpot discuss in this article, the types of content can be very varied. It might take the form of a series of quotations from highly respected professionals; or a collection of presentations accessed on Slideshare or a similar website; or a collection of industry case studies, all of which can be very valuable sources of learning. It’s the locating and pulling together of this content where the L&D professional can add real value. Continue reading

Ten trends in workplace learning that play to millennials’ strengths

By John Helmer

Millennial woman using laptop in open air Learning is undoubtedly changing in organisations, and in ways that ought to be advantageous for learners under thirty, given the characteristics and preferences we have identified in our upcoming report on leadership learning and millennials.

Broadly speaking, the use of technology for workplace learning is moving past an era of ‘course replacement’, in which technology was used to mimic traditional training forms – i.e. classroom courses replaced with online courses – and into an era where digital technology is given more free reign to use its particular strengths to make learning activities more efficient and more closely integrated into workflow.

This movement ‘beyond the course’ has been talked about in the learning technologies industries for some time, mostly by vendors – but it is only now that we are seeing practitioners taking the lead on transforming their learning practices with the aid of technology – and in the process, threatening to leave their vendors behind.

I talked to Carole Bower, Head of Learning at Lumesse, who identified ten key trends she is seeing in her work with clients.

  1. Demand for more shorter/bite-sized content now – particularly explainers (90 second video/animations)
  2. If a social forum/discussion is created as part of a programme (e.g. Management Development) it rarely gets used. Best use of social learning is informal/non-directed.
  3. Finding content is key, and we have seen an increase in the number of portals focused around particular subject areas such as leadership, with a good search facility to drive discovery and enquiry
  4. Gradual introduction of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) practices, accompanied by more learning done in the employee’s own time (something that Towards Maturity’s research suggests Millennials are more willing to do) and a recognition that home computing power is often better and less restrictive than what is available at work
  5. More appetite for accreditation. As an example, one of Lumesse’s major clients now focused on CPD points as a way of recognising professional development
  6. More comms requested from us in order to drive adoption of learning, and the use of techniques more usually seen in consumer-focused marketing. This goes with a move towards less ‘push’ and more ‘pull’ from the training department
  7. Aligned with the point directly above, content ratings are more often used, as seen on consumer sites such as Trip Advisor). We have seen a move from one client (a millennial himself) to retire any course that has a star rating below 4.
  8. Blend is back (multi-mix of learning delivery options)
  9. Mobile learning is more often requested, although usually as part of particular strategy – e.g. a programme aimed at remote workforces.
  10. More focus on performance support – i.e. so-called ‘just-in-time’ learning, as opposed to proactively developing skills for future

Leadership learning and millennials in the UK military

By John Helmer

GarryAs part of our ongoing theme on leadership and millennials, I talked to Colonel Garry Hearn. Garry has had a long and successful career in the British Army, much of it in training. Most recently he led the modernisation and transformation of all Defence Technical Training and Education (for approximately 30,000 students per annum), analysing and converting courses into an effective blended solution.

In 2012 he was awarded the OBE.

What is different about the Millennial Cohort that is joining now?

Mostly positive. The major difference we see with young recruits now is that the quality of thinking has changed, and their ability to think and want to find answers is very different.

This is partly due to the education system in the UK, which now very much encourages experiential learning. As well as that it’s about technology, and millennials’ use of technology. Technology allows young people to explore for themselves: they go to Google, they go to Facebook, ask their friends for answers online, and so on.

Given that command and control is never going to disappear in military leadership, how is leadership changing?

It’s less about the fundamentals of leadership and what good leadership is, and more about the individual displaying the right personal characteristics of leadership. The difference comes in terms of empowering and enthusing.

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Everything you know about millennials is wrong

By John Helmer

Photo of Jennifer DealHalf way through my interview with Jennifer Deal of CCL I start to feel oddly light-headed.

I have been researching millennials for the best part of a month. I’ve read a stack of research reports and articles, held interviews with an array of experts from both practitioner and academic communities, and even talked to the odd millenial. From this mass of information and opinions a degree of clarity had begun to emerge. And then I talked to Jennifer.

We are discussing her upcoming book (‘What Millennials Want from Work’, January 2016, McGraw-Hill) and I have just asked her what is really distinctive about this generation.

‘Tattoos,’ she says.

‘I beg your pardon?’

‘They have more tattoos.’

I listen on, as she enumerates two more distinctive characteristics: a different attitude to technology from Gen X, and a worrying increase in near-sightedness. But that’s it: the list stops there.

‘Interesting,’ I say, slightly foxed by the fact that she has not mentioned any of the usual things people say about this age group – that they’re entitled, cosseted, narcissistic; prefer to work in groups rather than stick their necks out and take responsibility, have no loyalty to employers, etc., etc. ‘Er … anything else?’

‘Nope,’ says Jennifer.

‘So what you’re telling me,’ I say (looking around for something solid to hold onto), ‘is that almost everything people say about the difference between the millennial generation and previous ones is fallacious?’

‘If it’s framed as a difference,’ she replies, ‘yes’.

Listening back to the recording of our interview there is thump, which might well be the sound of my jaw hitting the desk.

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