Brightwave Interview with Laura Overton

by | May 27, 2011 | Articles

Towards Maturity’s workplace learning expert Laura Overton has appealed to Learning and Development (L&D) professionals to re-assess current orthodoxies and seize opportunities for learners to connect, share and communicate with each other in the latest instalment of Brightwave’s ‘What a difference’ video series.

Laura  believes L&D has been slow to utilise technological advances in society at large, and that it has been guilty of being transactional rather than transformational.

‘In the last 10 years we’ve seen the advent of Facebook and Twitter, and just almost everybody knows how to Google something or how to purchase something online,” said Laura,”but what we’ve been doing in Learning and Development to date, I believe, has been more about automating what we used to do’

“I think one of the key questions that we need to ask ourselves in the future is ‘How can we actually facilitate that fast exchange of knowledge and information in new ways and with new models?”, citing BT’s Dare to Share social media skill sharing initiative as an example of innovative thinking in action.

Allied to this, Laura urges learning professionals not to get hung up on jargon but instead focus on business goals: “How can I really make a difference to the business that I’m supporting?, not ‘How can I deliver a course?’ or ‘How can I deliver a piece of e-learning?’ but ‘How can I bring change about in this organisation given all the knowledge that I have, given all the methods that I know about good learning and performance, giving all the new media that I have available in my hand?'”

With regard to L&D’s evolution over the next decade, Laura considers attitude just as important as technology in delivering the workforce of tomorrow: “There has to be an innovation of mindset, moving from the course to delivering performance in the organisation, and being completely unconstrained by the past and looking to the future. I think that’s going to be the real innovation that will make the difference.”

Brightwave’s ‘What a difference’ videos are a series of interviews with leading figures from Learning and Development. They aim to share success stories and lessons learned from the last 10 years as well as explore how learning technologies can support fast-changing business practices in the next decade. Other interviewees include Donald H Taylor (Chair, Institute of IT Training) and Kenny Henderson (Head of Talent Development Operations, Sky), with more planned in the future.

Brigtwave is one of Towards Maturity’s founding Ambassadors, you can view the full series of interviews: http://www.brightwave.co.uk/what-a-difference/video.

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