10 reasons why inclusive design is good design

By Cat Oxley August 13, 2018

People won’t always say this out loud, but there’s a lurking assumption that making learning content more accessible is going to mean making it less beautiful. Obviously you want to make your content work for the widest and most diverse audience of learners. But does that necessarily mean a compromise on aesthetics?

I say no. And luckily for me, all the best authorities on design agree. Here’s why.

Let’s start with ‘What is good design?’ Good design is not only about the look and feel of a thing, it’s also about fitness to purpose. And that is true whether the thing in question is something functional like a potato peeler, or something innovative and slightly abstract like a virtual reality experience. It’s there to get the job done, whether the job in question is to peel you spuds or blow your mind.

50 years ago design pioneer Dieter Rams, a German industrial designer responsible for Braun’s consumer products, asked himself: is my design good design? In answer to his question he created 10 principles of good design (sometimes known as the ‘10 commandments’).

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The geopolitics of AI raises trust issues for Learning and HR

By John Helmer July 31, 2018

London is the AI capital of Europe, says a report commissioned by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. According to another report, this one from the Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence issued by the House of Lords, the UK is, ‘in a strong position to be among the world leaders’ in its development.

If being smart about the implications of this critical technology, having the right skills and ecosystem and a thriving entrepreneurial culture in place were only enough, then UK would seem to be on a good course to profit massively from this new wave of technological change. But even the most fervent cheerleaders for the UK’s AI industry acknowledge that it lacks something vital to come anywhere near that goal. Scale.

At the recent FutureFest conference in London there were conflicting narratives on offer about the  potential role to be played in the future of AI by the UK and Europe; some fairly optimistic, some less so, and some downright scary. Just for a change the scariness of these more extreme scenarios did not involve visions of AI taking all our jobs, or robot overlords running amok and subjugating humankind. Instead, they were about more immediate and practical concerns; things we hear about on the news every day such as data privacy and the global balance of power. And somehow this immediacy made them all the more unsettling.

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Zap your brain to boost its learning potential. Or maybe … don’t

By Trudi Taylor July 24, 2018

woman wearing cap connected to wires

Imagine a world where the impossible becomes possible. Imagine being able to pop on a pair of headphones and finding that the maths problem you have been struggling with suddenly becomes clear, or that you can pick up a musical instrument you have never even tried before and learn to play a tune with seemingly little effort. Just imagine being able to move, think and create faster than you ever have before. Well, you no longer have to imagine it. The technology is already out there and on public sale. Sound too good to be true? You might just be right…

Earlier this month Charlotte Hills invited me to join her at the European Neuro Convention in London. Charlotte is a Senior Learning Designer at Lumesse Learning and is currently completing a Psychology PhD at the University of Warwick. She is passionate about using learning principles from neuroscience and the psychological literature to create effective learning and drive adoption. I jumped at the chance to spend a day with her immersed in a different world – and I’m glad I did. I left the conference feeling inspired by all the great work being carried out to create a better life for people living with a neuro-disability.

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What can an architect tell us about learning design?

By Carole Bower May 30, 2018

Chris Hildrey

Chris Hildrey is an inspirational young architect who uses design thinking to address real-world problems like homelessness. We met up with him during his stint as a designer in residence at the Design Museum, London.

Following an excellent presentation Chris gave at our Lumesse Learning kick off held at the Design Museum earlier this year, we invited him to run a design thinking workshop with our team which provided even more food for thought. I wanted to find out more from Chris Hildrey about how he might overcome some of the typical challenges we face as learning designers.

To start with, I asked Chris if he could think of an example of when he was trapped by what he already knew and therefore found it difficult to apply design thinking – and for any advice and techniques he would suggest when this happens. 

Chris: This is actually more common than you might think. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that most complex problems require you to start with a feeling of being penned in by your own assumptions. How long that situation lasts is down to many factors but, first, it’s important to accept that design thinking isn’t always an easy process.

I see design thinking as being like climbing equipment: it might let you get places that you wouldn’t have otherwise reached but it can still require significant effort to get there.  That said, there are no hard and fast rules: sometimes you discover the most interesting alternative routes through sheer determination, other times they sneak up on you during a period of rest. So, if you find yourself stuck it’s important not to be afraid to put an issue to the side if it frees you up to explore other aspects. Being too single-minded can also have the effect of grinding away at research for research’s sake so you need to be continually honest with yourself about how relevant what you’re doing really is. Give it a chance but be disciplined and avoid paralysis by analysis.

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Prepare for the future of work with me:time

By Carole Bower April 04, 2018

The L&D industry is really good at predictions – take your pick – there are many of them being shared across the usual channels.

Last year we saw predictions around new models for learning – with a move away from centralised learning provision to a more learner-driven approach. And it’s been interesting to watch the gravitational pull towards “self-directed learning” as the data-driven realities around the need for learning enablement rather than learning creation hit home.

At Lumesse we have been extremely fascinated at the feedback on our me:time platform  – a platform that enables self-directed learning, putting learners in control. It’s also interesting to hear from the organisations who are reviewing me:time who don’t just see this as an alternative approach to learning enablement but as an employee benefit.

So on reading the latest Bersin predictions, it occurred to me that the first six anticipated trends have already been influencing our thinking around the design of me:time and the reasons why we feel that now is the right time for a different approach to learning.

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Unlocking growth with next-gen learning tools

By John Helmer March 14, 2018

Access to learning is becoming a major pinch-point for businesses looking to pursue an upward growth trajectory. A third of UK small firms face skills shortages, according to a recent report from the Federation of Small Businesses and attempts to fill these gaps with training are frustrated by factors including the existing workload of employees, cost of training and lack of local availability.

Having the right skills and knowledge in place is consistently identified as one of the major success factors in business growth, but with more and more businesses becoming virtual, and with digital technology working its way into every corner of our lives, it comes even further to the fore: ‘as the very fabric of the economy changes around us, the need to invest in one’s own skills and the skills of others is more pressing than ever’.

According to OECD research, there is strong evidence to suggest that investing in the skills of the workforce is one of the most significant factors in achieving strong, inclusive and sustainable growth.

We might assume that technology had made things easier for small businesses to some extent: after all, anyone with an internet connection has (notional, at least) access to all the world’s knowledge at their fingertips. However there are indications that the digital revolution is making things even tougher for smaller companies, not easier.

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The rise of the learning ecosystem – and what it means for learning technologies

By Mark Probert February 22, 2018

Learning ecosystem flowchartI’ve read a bunch of articles on the theme of ‘top trends for 2018’ over the last few months, and more recently several titled, ‘What I learnt at Learning Technologies’. And one thing comes very strongly out of all of them.

We’re in the world of the learning ecosystem now.

What is a learning ecosystem? The Elearning Guild defines it as ‘an environment wherein each resource connects to others, creating an overall structure in which all learning takes place … the combination of technologies and support resources available to help individuals learn within an environment’.

But is this just another bright butterfly destined to blaze brightly for a matter of months gathering likes and shares, then die out as soon as something newer and shinier comes along? Well, no. There are good structural reasons for thinking this concept has a stronger wind under its wings than the average L&D buzzterm.

Because to judge from my wider reading, and from all my recent contacts with organisations, it’s becoming clear to organisations that this new focus on agility and integration of multiple solutions is not just another trend, but a reaction to wider forces ­– the series of new digital developments and disruptions that are affecting all of us now, widely discussed under the heading of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

And if the move to learning ecosystems really is a large-scale and non-reversible change in the pattern of organisational learning, well then the implications for how we design the digital tools and platforms that operate within that ecosystem have to be massive.

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Design Thinking and Learning

By Simon Rupniak February 14, 2018

Same thinking, same results loopI’m on my way back from the annual Lumesse Kick-Off, an event for internal staff that runs on the day after our awesome public event, the Learning Lounge. Highlights of the public event are available on our website, but I wanted to share some insights from a talk on applied design thinking that wasn’t in the public programme, simply because it’s one of the most inspiring talks I have seen for a long time.

Chris Hildrey is an architect and designer-in-residence at the London Design Museum, where we held both events. He shared several examples of his work, including one that struck a chord with all of us. It was an inspiring and emotive story that gave us all hope that good design might just save the world.

If you have a chance to visit the Design Museum or see Chris talk, I thoroughly recommend you do. In the meantime, here’s an abbreviated version of his story and some takeaways that will improve the outcomes of your next project.

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Compliance award at Brandon Hall Excellence Awards

By Trudi Taylor November 28, 2017

Awards win logo from Brandon HalllLumesse Learning and American Express Global Business Travel have been awarded silver at the Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Awards 2017 in the category of Best Advance in Compliance Training.

American Express Global Business Travel was keen to take a new approach to their compliance learning to make it more engaging and relevant. With their vision ‘the future of learning is personal’ in mind, Lumesse Learning created a campaign approach featuring e-learning modules, videos, blog posts, posters, and intranet banners.

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Diversity and inclusion: what’s the difference?

By Peter Williams November 23, 2017

Graphic advertising Curve magazineIt is perfectly possible to have a diverse enterprise. But that does not mean your business will be inclusive. Too often diversity and inclusion are lumped together, but that is a mistake. They may be close cousins, but they are not identical. So what is the difference?

Here’s a broad definition: diversity is about the mix you have in your workplace, while inclusion is about making that mix work.

The case for diversity

Within enterprises, especially among the public sector and companies that work across borders, it is now universally accepted that diversity is good for business. Indeed, we’ve moved beyond lip service and spin. Research shows that a diverse workforce in all its differences – ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation – can add a competitive edge in terms of selling and delivering products and services. So the mix is definitely something you want.

The welcome progress that business has made over the last few years in intentionally embracing diversity should be recognised and championed. But more needs to be done. That’s where inclusion comes in.

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