Monday, November 28, 2016

‘Google It: The Secret Online Lives of UK Managers’ Sketchnote

Rachel Burnham writes: Last week I was fortunate to be one of a number of L&Ders to be at the launch, on board HMS Belfast, of a new research report from GoodPractice.  The new report ‘Google It: The Secret Online Lives of UK Managers’ explores the way that managers are addressing their learning needs.  This new report builds on a report from 2015, also from GoodPractice, called the ‘Secret Learning Life of UK Managers’.  The research carried out with ComRes digs into a number of ways that managers say they are using to respond to workplace challenges and in particular the way they are using online searches for this.

The launch involved a presentation of key points from the research by Owen Ferguson, one of the authors.  The report can be found here and a storify of the tweets from the launch which was put together by Martin Couzins will give you an outline of the key points.  Here is my Sketchnote of the event:

Donald Taylor was in the chair for the launch and he began the event by reminding us that this report was important, firstly because it was based on research.  He made the point that we have comparatively little research to base our L&D work on and so it is great when new work is done.  When many of the old models used within L&D are being questioned, we need new evidence based ideas to replace them with.  

Secondly, this report is important because it is about managers and they play a crucial part in the effectiveness of the L&D work with other employees.  I would also add that anything that helps us to understand how to better enable effective management is important, because effective line management is so vital for improving productivity – this is something I have written about in a previous blog 'Productivity, fairy dust and developing effective managers'

The third point I would make is that this research raises a number of interesting questions for those of us in L&D, such as:

·       How do we encourage managers and others using online searches to do this effectively and critically evaluate what they find?  How does this fit with broader ideas of curation and Personal Knowledge Mastery?

·       Are external social networks relevant for all occupational groups?  Where they are relevant, where are these networks to be found?  How do we help employees find relevant networks?

·       Have we been too quick to see internal social networks as established ways of working – when actually they are still struggling to get going in many organisations?  What approaches can be used to nurture the effective use of internal social networks?

This research has certainly got me thinking and has got me questioning a few aspects of my own practice.   Have a read for yourself and see what questions it raises for you.   I’d love to hear what you think?

Rachel Burnham


Burnham L & D Consultancy helps L&D professionals update and refresh their skills.  I am particularly interested in blended learning, the uses of social media for learning, evaluation and anything that improves the impact of learning on performance. 

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