The uberisation of work

By Rachel Cook

uberisationChanges in the pattern of employment will have a significant impact on learning, recent research indicates. In many cases these effects are being felt already. L&D professionals need to make preparations now, so as not to be caught on the back foot.

Seismic changes are shaking the world of work. A shift is seen in the relationship between organisations and the people who work for them, typified by the disruption wrought in the transportation industry by Uber. Uber, a ride sharing app enabled by GPS and mobile technology, is now starting to dominate the US business travel market. According to the Economist and Certify, in the first quarter of 2016, Uber and Lyft accounted for 46% of business ‘ground transportation’ trips in America. Traditional competitors (notably, taxi firms) have been displaced with surprising speed. It is not just the technology that is causing this market disruption, but the business model used by the company. Uber has a permanent employee base which represents its core beliefs and practices but also a huge flexible component. Continue reading


Automating CV screening results in 15% more women hired

By Harriet Croxton

Business man and woman at a window togetherA professional services organisation that implemented an automated CV screening process to handle the 250,000 job applications they received every year were worried that the automation might undermine their efforts to achieve a healthy gender balance. In fact, the opposite happened. The number of women who successfully passed through the automated process increased by 15% compared to the manual process.

This and other revelations were reported in a recent article from McKinsey, People analytics reveals three things HR may be getting wrong.

Advances in data analysis are helping organisations identify, onboard and reward the best talent, however when analysing this data the results observed are often counter to expectations.

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What motivates self-directed learners?

By Richenda Sabine

Graphic of carrot on a stick to illustrate motivating self-directed learnersWhat motivates you? Is it money, purpose, or something else? According to Maslow (Hierarchy of Needs) our basic needs of security, identity and stimulation have to be met before we progress to self-actualisation (growing and developing to reach our individual potential).

Consider this in the context of learning. Without motivation, learning is rarely effective, so how do you motivate learners in the first place?

The answer, it turns out, is that they can largely do it for themselves.

Daniel Pink, in his book ‘Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us‘, dismisses the carrot-and-stick approach and tells us to forget everything we think about motivating people. He believes that the secret to high performance and satisfaction in today’s world is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and the world.

This view is borne out In the organisational context of today by the phenomenon of the self-directed learner, which has been well documented in research from learning benchmarking experts Towards Maturity, telling us that:

  • 88% learn more by finding things out for themselves, rather than through F2F training
  • 87% know what they need to learn in order to do their job
  • 74% know how to access what they need for learning

The research also shows a worrying disconnect with what some learning managers think about their learners, indicating that it is more than ever important to understand what motivates the self-directed learner.

There are two types of motivation:

  • Intrinsic – internally generated and comes from personal enjoyment or from a sense of obligation
  • Extrinsic – generated externally from objects, other people and the environment

The burning question in the world of workplace learning is how to keep these two types of motivation aligned, and not in contradiction with each other, so that self-directed learners stay engaged and motivated.

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Can L&D really think like marketers?

By John Helmer

Man holding sign saying 'Think Tank'Learning professionals are being encouraged to think like marketers in order to meet the needs of today’s increasingly self-directed, peer-directed learners. But doing so can lead L&D into difficult waters.

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 third part of this fascinating discussion, read on, as we address the following question:

Part 3: How will technology shape the future of learning in a post-course world?

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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 .


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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Earthquake warnings for L&D at OEB2015

By Garry Hearn

The Learning Blog welcomes guest blogger Garry Hearn, Divisional Director at Defence Academy of the UK. Garry visited the conference and exhibition formerly known as Online Educa recently, and sends us this report about the seismic changes he saw evidence of there that are shaking L&D.

OEB2015 event, photographed with a fish-eye lensMany readers will recall the last phase of the Cold War in Berlin – when the days of two German states, and a city bisected by a wall, were coming to a close. At that period in the late 1980s the old DDR was experiencing tensions resulting from at least three socio-political movements, analogous to tectonic plates on the move. These moving plates were the masses, the State, and a popular movement for change. Something similar (though on a less momentous historical scale, perhaps) could be sensed at OEB20015 this year; tectonic plates on the move, territorial maps about to be redrawn.

And I was also reminded of the film Good Bye Berlin, about the coming down of the wall and its aftermath … but more of that later.

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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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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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