New paradigm? Not that new

by Robin on December 5, 2014

I am currently working on a new book about Informal Learning and as part of this I have been keeping an eye on commentators and writers in areas associated with on the job and collaborative learning activities.

As Online Educa Berlin is going on this week, I was watching the feeds from there with interest.  As online learning becomes much more influenced by the read/write web – or web 2.0 – there was bound to be lots of opinions being shared on informal learning.

I wasn’t disappointed and the twitterati were very keen to share the insights they had gathered as the conference sessions unfolded.  One conference session was addressed by Howard Rheingold who took as his theme ‘co-learning’.  This sparked a few ideas of my own primarily about how co-learning – rather like multi-tasking – is one of those activities which is slightly misunderstood and unhelpfully simplified.

Combined with my recent experience meeting with a team in a large teaching hospital, I have a slightly different view about what actually happens when we learn from each other. Check out this blog on TrainingZone and please join in the debate and share your thoughts, experiences and opinions.

Learning Now TV – 8pm GMT 27th November

by Robin on November 27, 2014

There’s still time to register for Learning now TV’s second broadcast.  The brainchild of Colin Steed at the Learning and Performance Institute, every month Learning Now TV brings together an hour of news, views and interviews relevant to the L&D profession.  There’s case studies and examples of good practice and tonight (27th November) Robin Hoyle will be in conversation with Martin Couzins about the Manifesto which introduces Complete Training: from recruitment to retirement.

More details can be found in the short newsletter sent out today.  If you watch live, you can join in the conversation with other viewers.  The programme will be available after the broadcast, on-demand, from the same link.

Something for nothing culture

by Robin on November 10, 2014

Are you as fed up as I am by the way benefits are being used to give people something for nothing?  Yes. I’m talking about big businesses scrounging off the tax payer again.

Today the CBI has called for an additional £7bn of tax reductions and other benefits to prop up those employers who think they should be able to get away with paying people less than the amount of money required to actually be able to live in the UK. There are no specific returns on this £7bn investment from government – just a general hope that this will result in more spending and a better economy.

Enough is enough!  If businesses want to continue employing people for poverty wages, shouldn’t we set a time limit on how long they can do this for and require them to create a training programmes to enable them to develop the skills and capabilities where they can easily contribute sufficiently to justify being paid the living wage. if you think this is excessive, let’s not forget that the loving wage is just £15,300 per year for a full time job outside London.

This rant (and many others) continues over on trainingzone.co.uk – you can access the latest blog here.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development Annual Conference is on this week and Peter Cheese the CIPD CEO has said: “Fundamentally, the heart of HR is understanding Human Behaviour.”

I agree with him, but it might be far from simple.  There are so many myths and prejudices in the learning and development world that it can be tricky to navigate the ground-breaking amongst the garbage.  As I’ve written about in Complete Training we need to base our practice around solid evidence grounded in reputable research.

Peter Cheese’s comments come the same week as a slew of research reports hit my inbox, some of them from the CIPD themselves.  All these reports have some things to commend them, but all of them also have areas which are at best questionable and at worst downright misleading.  You can read about my take on Understanding Human Behaviour here.

Leadership lessons from (almost) 30 years ago

by Robin on September 25, 2014

In the run up to the World of Learning Conference which I am Chairing this year, I’ve been asked to write a number of articles and pieces of one sort or another.

You can see some of my commentary amongst recent blogs here and most of these have already been mentioned on this pages.

I wrote one piece a few weeks ago and as is the nature of these things, I forgot about it until I got a note this morning telling me that the HR Review had featured the article. The article is called Leadership skills unravelling the traits of true leadership and you can read it here.

As I said, I’d forgotten all about it and so re-read as if coming it to it (reasonably) fresh.  It was interesting to read in the light of one other thing I’m doing at the moment.

When I get chance, I’m participating in a MOOC called Innovating your training business, and it’s a really interesting and an enjoyable experience.  As I read the articles and watch the videos and write and respond to comments, I am interested to see how those ideas and innovations which are built on solid, evidence based foundations come round time and again.  In a 21st Century MOOC about innovation (I mean – how zeitgeist-y can you get?) I have today read about and commented on Ebbinghaus’s forgetting curve (late 19th Century) and work by Vygotsky (early 20th Century).

As one would expect in  a present day programme looking at new approaches to training, 70:20:10 has been mentioned more than once.  I re-read my leadership article. There, without conscious intention, I have described my induction to the world of management and leadership from the mid 1980’s.  More than 10 years before Lombardo and Eichinger and their colleagues at the North Carolina Center for Creative Leadership first started talking to the world about 70:20:10, there was I undertaking some formal training, a good bit of coaching and lots of on the job activity which was stretching and difficult and set up precisely in that way by my boss at the time.  Without anyone needing to create a big fanfare or describe the new revolution as “90% of learning happens on the job” (which is nonsense and not what the 70:20:10 model suggests – as any fool know) I was involved in those exact same processes, though I would argue not in that sequence and not in those proportions.

Sometimes it seems that everything which is shiny and new is actually not that new at all.

Or is that just my age?

Hope to see you all at the conference and if you see me wandering around, do come and say hello.  Apparently, conversations are the next big thing in learning! Who knew?

Trying a MOOC on for size

by Robin on September 16, 2014

High Street retailer, Marks and Spencer has entered into a partnership with the University of Leeds to create a new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course).  The three week ‘innovation and business sustainability’ MOOC will use the archive of M&S development through the ages to explore how businesses can innovate and how innovative businesses achieve sustained success.

I think this is a real win:win situation – so long as they get the learning design right.  As I argue in my recent blog post on Training Zone, the design really matters.  A lot of the focus of the MOOC concept has been on the opportunity for collaboration between students over different geographies and time zones.  The ‘wisdom of crowds’ has been summoned up to describe the thousands of learners who enrol on these free courses and then participate in discussions.  But I have my doubts about the extent to which the collaboration tools are actually used. It seems to me that most learners don’t join the conversations. They are happy to simply sit back and watch the videos.  Still others, albeit a small minority, actively reject the idea of participating.

As platforms in which university level content can be shared with huge numbers of people world-wide I am a great fan of MOOCs and I see great potential for this kind of academic/corporate collaboration in the future.  But if these collaborations are to achieve their obviously significant potential, the learning design will need to be really well thought through.

Check out the blog here and join the debate.

What irritates you at conferences?

by Robin on August 18, 2014

I’m chairing the World of Learning Conference at the end of next month, so when I noticed an article from Sean Coughlan on the BBC website entitled: “What makes a conference really irritating?” I thought I’d better take note.

So much of it was very true and other parts certainly resonated.  You can read my response here.  I’d really like to learn about your pet hates about the conferences you’ve been to and how, as Conference Chair, you’d like me to help improve your experience.

If like me you get a bit fed up with reading assertions in blogs, articles and white papers, I invite you to join my Evidence Please campaign.

I’m chairing the World of Learning conference this month (book by 30th August for 30% discount) and I’m using this opportunity to ask for more evidence based practice in Learning and Development.  I strongly believe that if we are to be taken seriously by our colleagues in other business functions, we need to be able to support whatever we say through robust evidence.

This is a theme you may have come across before – especially if you’ve read my book Complete Training: from recruitment to retirement.

You can find out more about why I’ve decided to take these particular cudgels up again here or here.

I hope you can join me at World of Learning and work together to increase the level of evidence based practice in our proud industry.

Learning from experience just got harder

by Robin on July 17, 2014

Recent legal rulings could limit online debate – especially if you wanted to say something about someone else that was not universally positive.

My own feeling is that what passes for debate online is pretty limited. It is either people shouting about their own prejudices in increasingly intemperate ways, or it is unremittingly positive (not to say smug) with precious little insight of any value.

I have long advocated that we need more robust, evidence based debate online.  One of the things which stops that may be a reluctance to be critical of others or to discuss how or why things go wrong.  Specifically, there is a reluctance to discuss the mistakes and errors made by others (unless they stand for political office or claim benefits in which case they are fair game).

In my most recent blog on traningzone, I discuss my own disquiet about two recent legal rulings. I don’t think it’s the end of critical debate on the web – far from it – but I have sufficient experience of in-house legal counsel drafting policies about what can and can’t be said online to be fearful that these two cases might further limit our ability to enter into debate and discussion.

Let me know what you think.

It’s the economy – stupid!

by Robin on April 17, 2014

Clinton’s campaign statement from 1992 rings even truer today.  We are apparently in an upturn with yesterday’s news that wage rises have now overtaken inflation we should all feel like we are gaining the benefits of the recent austerity programmes since the 2008 banking crisis. Well, I’m not sure and I think L&D teams can act as a weather vane for what’s really going on in the economy.  Check out my latest blog on the subject here.

Don’t forget you can also read my blog for Kogan Page –  about social media and its use in corporate L&D – here.  This one also includes details of how to gain a 20% discount on my book, Complete Training.

Both of these pieces are designed to start a conversation, so please do join in.