Why Brexit uncertainty means trouble for L&D

By John Helmer

Man with umbrella in waist-deep water in the rain to illustrate Brexit uncertaintyHR’s recent drive to develop ‘VUCA’ leadership turns out to have been timely: the situation created by Brexit is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. And of the four letters making up that acronym it is the ‘U’ – uncertainty – that is currently causing most concern for the People function.

On a webinar given by Lumesse partners IEDP I learned that HR people are ‘hungry for certainty’ over Brexit. With the March 2019 deadline set by the UK government’s triggering of Article 50 beginning to loom unpleasantly, we find ourselves 25% of the way through the process but with no clarity at all about which of the various possible leaving scenarios will prevail.

IEDP’s Roddy Millar asked guest presenter Michael Skapinker (Executive Editor Financial Times / IE Business School Corporate Learning Alliance) whether he was seeing any specific solutions or approaches that HR departments were putting in place to prepare themselves for leaving: ‘How can one prepare oneself for something that one doesn’t know?’ replied Skapinker; ‘we don’t know what the situation will be.’

At time of writing, everything still seems to be in play; meaning anything from a Norway-style scenario where the UK retains some access to the single market, through a transitional period of as-yet-undetermined length which might smooth out the lumps and bumps, to a so-called ‘train-crash’ Brexit where Britain leaves without a trade deal and operates under WTO rules.

Whether you’re a beleaver or a remoaner – whether or not you think suffering the pain of divorce is worth the eventual rewards we might reap from leaving the EU – it is hard to deny that there will be pain.

So where are the problem areas for L&D?

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How L&D can help line managers to support learning

By Duncan Barrett

website_blog_300x170While many organisations are looking at how best to support a culture of learning and meet the needs of self-directed learners, many are still dealing with the challenge of engaging employees around content that needs to be delivered and understood by its workforce, whether for compliance or operational reasons.

For L&D teams facing this challenge, the most important ally must surely be the line manager.

We explore these themes in our webinar: Learning in the Line: L&D, line managers & the self-directed learner 

Line managers form a silent (or not so silent) army of support that is ready, willing and able to guide their teams in meeting the challenges of uncertainty and complexity that are sweeping through the world of work as we know it … Well – something along those lines!

In truth, line managers are pulled in multiple directions to meet the needs of the organisation as well as their team.

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Vlog: the STARFISH model for gamification of learning

By John Helmer

starfish_vlogPeople talk a lot about gamification of learning but what does it really entail? Gaming structures and techniques can massively improve engagement with learning, and bring dry subjects like compliance vividly to life. But simply adding a leaderboard and a few badges your learners can win to a standard elearning course will not cut the mustard.

So how do you make sure your learning programme is really tapping into the authentic power of game-based learning?

In this, the first of a new series of learning vlogs introduced by our own Carl Crisostomo, Carole Bower takes to Brighton Beach to illustrate a handy mnemonic that can help you ensure your gamified learning programme is the real deal.

Contact us if you’d like to discuss how we can help you provide engaging and innovative gamified programmes for your learners.


How adaptive pathways make digital learning more elastic

By Nicholas Murphy

Close-up elastic band to illustrate making digital learning more elasticOne of the key challenges for digital learning design is creating solutions that meet the needs of all learners. Risk often drives decision-making when it comes to content: if we don’t know how much people already know, we create content that tries to teach everybody everything, regardless of their level of expertise. This is particularly true for any training that is driven by a regulatory or compliance motivation.

Challenging this approach has become a key driver for us at Lumesse in moving, with our clients, towards a more personalised, learner-centric dynamic.

Typically, courses teach and then test: it’s the foundation of most e-learning. But that model is founded on an assumption that the audience will have a low baseline of understanding. The reality, however, is that most learner populations will already know quite a bit about a given topic (even if some of that ‘knowledge’ comes from hearsay, myth or legend!).

One sure way of making the learner switch off is to make them sit through a lot of material they know already. So reversing the teach-test structure and running an initial diagnostic has been a principle in learning for some time. Test me first, teach me what I don’t know, and then test me again.

However, both of these approaches are limited. They work for content you need to remember, but much less well for behavioural competency, where we need to feed the subconscious to drive behavioural changes.

Increasingly, we are beginning to use adaptive learning paths to increase the effectiveness of digital learning. Here’s how it works.

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Understanding the deep motivations of learners

By John Helmer

Man holding sign: 'Think Tank'Learning professionals need to understand the driving motivations and needs of their learners in order to structure learning effectively in the post-course world. In doing this they need to be less model-driven and more evidence-based.

This was just one of a number of fascinating insights that arose from our latest Think Tank dinner.

We assembled an invited group of L&D leaders to discuss these issues in a three-part discussion held under Chatham House rules. Contributing to the debate were delegates from the worlds of Finance, Mining, Telecomms, IT and commodity trading.

You can read highlights of the discussion here.

But for those who want a deep dive into the second part of this fascinating discussion, read on, as we address the following question:

Part 2: What alternative ways of structuring learning are emerging as we move towards less reliance on ‘the course’?

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Listening to learners could be transformative for L&D

By John Helmer

Man holding sign saying 'Think Tank'‘We make huge assumptions about our audiences and we don’t do anywhere near enough validation of those assumptions. This is something that we really want to focus on now. It’s all about user experience and really getting some proper data … who are our audience? Who is it we’re trying to reach? What kind of people are they? What are their backgrounds? What are they like? What are they not like? How do they want to learn? Instead of looking at a model that might tell us what they think that is 30 years old, let’s actually speak to our learners and really try and understand them. I think that is, potentially, a huge transformation for learning.’

This impassioned plea for a change of attitude in L&D towards learners was just one of a number of insights that arose from our latest Think Tank dinner.

We could be at a pivotal moment for L&D. Though there has been chatter within the guru space for many years about informal learning and 70:20:10, a number of compelling drivers are making it imperative that practitioners now think beyond the confines of the course (if they are not doing so already). This is causing them to focus more deeply on how they connect with and engage learners – but also to change the way in which learning is structured and delivered.

We assembled an invited group of L&D leaders to discuss these issues in a three-part discussion held under Chatham House rules. Contributing to the debate were delegates from the worlds of Finance, Mining, Telecomms, IT and commodity trading.

You can read headlines of the discussion here.

But for those who want a deep dive into the first part of this fascinating discussion, read on.

Part 1: What are the drivers of change as we move towards less reliance on ‘the course’?

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How to drive maximum adoption for your digital learning programme

By Steve George

Diagram explaining the AIDA acronymPicture the scene …

You’ve been working hard. You’ve spent months building up to this event (if only everyone knew the sacrifices you’d made!). Everything comes down to this moment.

Last week you pressed the button and launched your career-defining, world-changing, learner-enhancing, company-building, brain-expanding digital learning programme, and now, with trembling hands and a heart pounding with excitement, you are going in to get the reports to show what a massive earthquake of an impact it’s had …

Only it hasn’t.

Never mind an earthquake, your career-defining, world-changing, learner-enhancing, etc. course hasn’t even created a modest tremor. Surely this can’t be right! No-one has even looked at it?

You run the report again, double-checking all your parameters, and find that yes, it’s true … not a single person has so much as cast a glance at it.

Imagine the crushing disappointment! How did this happen?

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Clive Shepherd: ten things I know about learning

By John Helmer

Clive ShepherdWe’re very pleased to have Clive Shepherd, Founding Director at The More Than Blended Learning Company, and a thought leader in our industry, as a guest on this blog. Clive has contributed this piece to The Curve Magazine – packed with useful tips and insights – which you can pick up at our Learning Lounge event on 3 February 2016.

  1. We will not learn without paying close attention. We will only do that if we regard what’s going on as relevant to us.
  1. Novices are easily overloaded with new information. Paying close attention is tiring.
  1. Five minutes is probably as much time as most of us want to spend attending to new information. On the other hand, we are happy to spend hours engaged with stories or solving challenging problems.

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Towards Maturity points the way forward for L&D

By John Helmer

Knob labelled risk turned to minimumIn an industry that tends to lapse into inspirational memes at the drop of a hat, we too often spout motherhood statements about innovation while conveniently ignoring its more troubling flip side, risk.

There is no innovation without risk. And this, one could argue, is the nub of the problem faced currently by L&D in the UK as revealed within the pages of Embracing Change, the industry benchmark report released this week by Towards Maturity. The risky business of learning innovation seems just too rich for the blood of many in training, a branch of the enterprise that, historically, has not had that much to do with the sort of high-stakes investments that digital transformation often requires.

Partly in consequence of its back story, training has lagged in adoption of digital technology when compared to its swankier cousins, marketing and finance. By comparison, training comes across in the numbers (if not in the rhetoric) as unadventurous and risk-averse. Course-based, stand-up training is still massively dominant in UK organisations, and training continues to be seen as a cost centre, rather than as the engine of growth and competitive advantage.

However. While the headline result of this year’s benchmark research – ‘70% of L&D teams fail to improve business productivity’ – might seem dispiriting; and Clive Shepherd, for one, pulled no punches in pointing out exactly how ‘stuck’ the report shows L&D to be, there are clear indications in the report of what L&D should do to improve this situation, and a growing evidence base on which it can draw in doing so.

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Hi-vis learning: how to do elearning without computers

By John Helmer

Two men on a hardhat site consulting a tablet computerHow do you do online learning when the workforce isn’t online? Sounds like an impossible brief? Well I’ve been talking to the account team at Lumesse Learning who are increasingly taking on just such briefs – and this is definitely not the non-starter it might sound like at first hearing.

In certain parts of industry – within the fast-growing service sector, for instance – large swathes of the workforce don’t come into contact with any sort of computer from one week to the next – let alone a computer with internet access. Think of the vast managed services industry, which supplies legions of cleaners, drivers, security guards and traffic wardens. Or Transport, or Energy – or the building trade: industries that employ legions of people in hi-vis tabards who are very much ‘in the field’ and don’t sit down at a desk to work.

Large companies that do this kind of work need the power and scale offered by digital learning at its best as much, if not more than, organisations where staff are plugged into their desktops all day long. Many have strong compliance drivers and large workforces. But sometimes it seems that the learning technologies crowd simply don’t see this problem.

Too often it seems that, so far as the elearning community is concerned, digital learning is just for people who measure out their days with coffee cups and post-it notes, sat at desktop computer and plugged into the corporate network.

However, we at Lumesse Learning love nothing more than a challenge. And more and more, it seems, we are rising to this particular challenge of creating learning programmes for staff who don’t work in offices – online learning for people who aren’t online.

Here’s how we’re doing it.

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