Monday, January 8, 2018

10 Resources from 2017 to help you modernise L&D Practice

Rachel Burnham writes: At the start of 2017 I picked out 10 pieces to share to help L&D professionals modernise their L&D practice, so I thought I would do something similar at the start of this year.  

This time I thought I would make the focus very firmly on practical tips and guidance to help us to develop the skills, insights and know-how needed to modernise L&D. In making my selections, I have picked out some of the concerns that have been part of my focus for the past year.  I also have been mindful of the themes which emerged from this year’s benchmarking report by Towards Maturity ‘L&D: Where are we now?’ published in November 2017.  This identifies the top barriers to having a learning culture as including:

·       Cost of set-up, development and maintenance (66%)
·       Lack of skills amongst employees to manage their own learning (65%)
·       Reluctance by line managers to encourage new ways of learning (58%)
·       Lack of skills amongst L&D staff to implement and manage technology enabled learning (53%)
·       Unreliable ICT infrastructure (52%)

As before, I hasten to add that this selection is by no means a best of 2017.  There was lots of great material produced throughout the year – this is my pick of helpful resources. I have included short videos, podcasts, infographics and of course Sketchnotes, alongside written materials.

1  1. ‘How to run successful Webinars to add value to your organisation’ Session: Andy Lancaster & Michelle Parry-Slater May 2017 Sketchnote: Rachel Burnham  

This is a Sketchnote I created whilst participating in Andy and Michelle’s excellent session at CIPD’s L&D Show.  The L&D Show conference this year involved a number of very practical workshops which had a ‘how-to’ focus.  This one was a practical introduction to running effective webinars and was packed full of tips and the sharing of experiences.  

    2. ‘How to produce Impactful Videos and Learning Content’ Session: Dr Mark Davies, See Learning May 2017 Sketchnote; Rachel Burnham

My second selection is also one of the Sketchnotes I created from this year’s CIPD L&D Show.  If you are interested in learning to make good quality videos using your smartphone, then Dr Mark Davies of See Learning is ‘the-person’ to get advice from.   He can be found on Twitter under @SeeLearning.  I picked up so many great tips from this session and keep referring back to this Sketchnote. 

    3.‘Apprenticeships: Loving the Levy’ CIPD Podcast 127 July 2017 (about 20 mins on apprenticeships)

In April 2017 the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced.  A lot has been written up about the Levy, what it involves, what the challenges are and more recently about the seemingly paradoxical drop in numbers registered for apprenticeships.  Out of all this material, I have picked this podcast because it shares some great stories about the value of apprenticeships both to individuals and to organisations and challenges some of the misconceptions that apprenticeships are only for young people or only for less skilled roles or only for occupations such as engineering.  It is great story-telling – the best kind – real stories of real people.

    4. ‘Bite-Sized Research on Spaced Retrieval’ Episode 5 October 2017 The Learning Scientists (11.5 mins)

This is another podcast – a new podcast to me – so thank you to Jonathan Marshall @LearningFCO for the recommendation.   This particular episode explores a piece of research into the impact of spaced retrieval on learning effectiveness – if you aren’t familiar with the terms ‘spaced learning’ and ‘retrieval practice’ and are in L&D do take the time to listen to this podcast as it explains them clearly and simply, plus why we need to know about them and be making use of them.
Plus, if you haven’t come across Jonathan before do follow him on Twitter and watch out for his very informative and thoughtful blog posts, in which he shares his learning from his work as the Head of Learning for the Diplomatic Academy.

    5. ‘The Elephant in the Room’ Paul Matthews Training Journal September 2017

I met Paul Matthews for the first time this year at the CIPD NAP conference in York, where we were both delivering sessions.  We started talking then about learning transfer – the elephant in the room, as Paul refers to it and haven’t stopped talking about this since.  Learning Transfer is about how we get learning to really impact on performance in the workplace and links to the other topics Paul has written about previously – performance consulting and informal learning.  Paul wrote this article for Training Journal in the summer, but having started writing has been about how to address learning transfer he has found unable to stop and is in the process of completing a new book on this subject.  Paul can be found on Twitter @PeopleAlchemy.

6.  ‘Digital Curation’ – 3 short videos by Mike Shaw ( 2 mins each) Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

With the increased availability of information and resources via the internet, managing this avalanche of information is an increasing challenge for professionals in all fields.  The term ‘curation’ has been borrowed from the museums and art gallery sector to describe the processes involved in finding, selecting, making sense and using these resources.  Mike Shaw (@MikeShawLD) created these three short videos, now available on YouTube, with Snapchat to introduce people to the idea of digital curation and to explore some of the ways that it can be used in L&D.   Mike and I have been working together over the last year on developing our curation practices and on using curation in the design of L&D programmes.  Here is a blog I wrote on the subject.
   7. ‘Niall and Rachel’s VR Odyssey’ blogs and recordings

In the Spring of 2017, Niall Gavin (@NiallGavinUK) and I began exploring how L&D could make use of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology and we shared our learning in a series of blog posts and recorded conversations on Zoom and available on YouTube.   The improving technology in this field, its increasing popularity in the consumer market and its increased accessibility, is getting more organisations thinking about how they can make use of these technologies to support learning. The resources we produced provide a basic introduction to some of the uses of this technology in L&D.

    8. ‘LearningTechnologies: What managers really think’ GoodPractice in association with ComRes November 2017

GoodPractice has for the last few years produced a series of research reports exploring what managers real practice is around learning and how they perceive & make use of technology to meet the challenges they face in their day to day work.   This year’s research report explores their attitudes towards some of the key technologies available in workplaces to support learning and uncovers some perhaps surprising positive results in relation to managers’ views of elearning and other technologies.   The free report not only reports on the results of the research, but includes some very helpful practical and detailed takeaways for L&D professionals about how to maximise the potential of technology in organisations.   The suggestions directly address some of the barriers identified by Towards Maturity at the start of this blog.

    9.   ‘Future of technology and learning’ Report & Infographic CIPD & Towards Maturity November 2017

At about the same time that GoodPractice was producing its report into technology and learning, CIPD and Towards Maturity were also launching theirs!  This report makes use of the Towards Maturity benchmarking data, and digs in deeper to how L&D is using different technologies for different aspects of learning eg games, collaboration.  It makes a series of recommendations to help us, in L&D, become a bit more sophisticated in our thinking and practice in the use of technology to support learning eg by getting us to really think through how different learning technologies support approaches to learning such as collaboration and gamification.   

    10. #accessibilitytipoftheday Mike Osborne series of posts on Twitter

My final selection is a recommendation to check out this hashtag (ie search criteria) on Twitter for a whole array of suggestions, tips and recommendations to support improved accessibility for learning resources and digital learning.   This is a great initiative by Mike Osborne to improve awareness and action from all of us in L&D to ensure that learning opportunities are open to all and don’t exclude people.   You can find Mike on Twitter @MikeOzzy.

I have enjoyed putting this collection or curation together.  There are so many other great resources out there to tap into.  I would be keen to hear of your recommendations.

Rachel Burnham


Burnham L & D Consultancy helps L&D professionals update and refresh their skills.  I do this through: writing & design commissions; facilitating learning to update knowhow, 1:1 and bespoke ‘train the trainer’ programmes; and the use of Sketchnoting to facilitate learning. 

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