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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Lumesse launches new product for the age of the self-directed learner

By John Helmer

Me:time logo and running man imageWe’re really proud to announce the launch of a ground-breaking new product for the self-directed learner, designed to help organisations succeed in today’s fast-changing business environment.

me:time was created and conceived by the Lumesse Learning team following an extensive process of consultation and research into the needs of learners and learning professionals. Employees are increasingly taking control of their own learning, and at the same time organisations are discovering that nurturing and supporting a culture of self-directed learning increases their ability to survive and thrive.

Offering a consumer-style experience, me:time puts the needs of self-motivated learners first, giving instant, anywhere access to curated learning supported by AI-driven recommendations. A system of credits allocated by the organisation gives learners full control over their personal me:time budget.

Andrea Miles, General Manager for Lumesse Learning, said: ‘me:time represents a radical rethink in learning control and choice, freeing the learner to self-serve. We’re passionate about this new approach because we think it can contribute massively to the wellbeing of employees. Organisations, too will benefit as they know they need to encourage continuous learning in the face of increasing demands to be nimble and smart, and meeting the challenges of talent retention and mobility. We’re incredibly excited about what we’ve created and look forward to introducing it to all our valued clients and to progressive players across all sectors.’

me:time key features:

  • Focused on individual needs and goals
  • Instant, anywhere learning
  • Credits-based subscription system
  • AI-driven personal learning recommendations
  • Wide-ranging curated content from world-leading providers
  • Consumer-style experience and brand

Find out more on the me:time website:

Women in leadership: it’s all about the culture

By John Helmer

Business man and woman at a window togetherA new report from HM Treasury and Virgin Money finds that the culture of organisations is stopping women from reaching the upper levels of management (Empowering Productivity: Harnessing the Talents of Women in Financial Services).

According to the report ‘there is a “permafrost” in the mid-tier where women do not progress or they leave the sector’. And issues around child care are not solely responsible: ‘Women are leaving because the culture isn’t right’.

The report recommends that:

  • Every financial services company operating in the UK publishes its own inclusion strategy and its own targets on an annual basis – and that progress against these targets is reported
  • These targets are included in the company’s balanced scorecard and, as a result, form part of the annual bonus outcome for all Senior Executives
  • The inclusion strategy is owned and driven by a member of the Executive team

We at Lumesse welcome this new focus on an area we recently looked into – with a specific focus on L&D and its role in helping to change organisational culture – in our Think Tank event ‘Creating 21st Century Female Leaders’: download a free copy of the report .

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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All employees are equal – but are some more equal than others?

By Harriet Croxton

Women in Leadership06_side-by_sideMany organisations don’t offer any gender specific training and often women don’t welcome being singled out: men should be invited to debate on women’s issues and all employees should be offered training and a flexible working environment that is relevant to them.  These were just some of the valuable insights that came out of our Think Tank Dinner held recently in London.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, has put the topic of Women in Leadership firmly back on the mainstream agenda. Her brand of feminism is much debated, but essentially she suggests that women, driven by gender stereotypes to be submissive, are missing out on workplace success due to misplaced insecurity, passivity and docility.

We hosted a Think Tank Dinner where we bought together female leaders working in the area of HR and Learning and Development to discuss the role of Women in Leadership. We aimed to understand the issues they face and how we, as HR and L&D professionals, can better support them.

The dinner was hosted under Chatham House rules and as such, does not reveal the participating individuals or organisations specifically. Contributing to the debate were representatives from the Banking and Finance, Leisure, Food and Beverage, Defence and Professional Services sectors.

This is what they had to say:

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Women in learning: get your geek on!

By Ewa Jankowska

The Learning Blog welcomes a guest blogger, Ewa Jankowska from Lumesse Poland, posting on themes that we will be covering over the coming weeks as we share insights from our recent Thought Leadership Dinner on Women in Learning.

Business woman working at her computer

A programmer friend recently told me that men are bound to be better developers, simply because there are more of them. At first I recoiled inside, then looked around at our colleagues. Out of the other 10 in the room all were men. So who am I to argue with statistics that say only 9% of women are programmers?

But wait a minute! How can I – or anyone – believe it to be true that men are better programmers than women? Where do these stereotypes come from? Just because there are more men in this role doesn’t mean they are better. There is also no scientific evidence to support the tired thinking about the different abilities of men and women. In fact, it’s the opposite: scientists have said there is no difference between the male and female brain.

The proof? Researchers at the University of Wisconsin studied young people of both sexes from 86 countries and found that girls perform better in science subjects in countries where there is greater equality (read the report here). In addition, girls today perform better in mathematics than at any other time in history. If the arguments for men having superior ability in science subjects were linked to gender then no change would be noticeable, but that clearly isn’t the case.

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Under the spotlight: Andrea Miles

By Harriet Croxton

Andrea_MilesShe’s a winner! This year’s E-learning Awards recognised our own Andrea Miles for her contribution to the learning industry, giving her a bronze award. So we would like to take this opportunity to celebrate and share some highlights from her fascinating and extremely successful career.

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OECD report: time for a rethink on Edtech?

By John Helmer

Computer in wheelie binThis month the OECD published data that showed having more computers in school does not necessarily lead to better educational outcomes. This was reported by some parts of the media in terms that might have made you believe processors emit some kind of noxious, brain-impairing gas.

  • ‘Computer look like an obstacle to learning (Chicago Tribune)
  • ‘Computers “do not improve” pupil results’ (BBC)
  • ‘Schools wasting money on computers for kids’ (CNBC)
  • ‘Don’t bother buying computers for schools’ (The Register)
  • ‘Lack of computers in school may be a blessing’ (Irish Times)

The general tenor of these headlines seems to be that if you really want to drive up educational results in a school, the best thing you can do is park a skip outside and chuck in every piece of technology you can lay your hands on.

Only, the actual report doesn’t say anything of the sort.

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The importance of unlearning: report from the Think Tank

By John Helmer

finger point to sign saying Think TankL&D faces a seemingly impossible task: equipping millennials to lead in a future organisational context of which they may have even less visibility than their millennial learners. New learning strategies must be adopted to meet this challenge – and a certain amount of instructional ‘baggage’ jettisoned. These were insights that came out of the third of a three-part Think Tank discussion we held recently in London.

Millennials are now the largest single generational cohort in the workforce and assuming leadership positions. To discuss how we can best support their leadership learning, and respond to the points raised in our recently released insight paper, Leadership, learning and the connected generation, we assembled an invited group of L&D leaders and now report their discussion under Chatham House rules.

Delegates were from organisations including Belron, The Home Office, IEDP, Lloyds Banking Group, MOD, Pragma Consulting, Rolls Royce and Vodafone. Most of our delegates have day-to-day contact with workforces that include large numbers of millennials, and some were from organisations whose workforce is drawn almost entirely from this age group.

Here’s what they had to say.

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