Collaborate to succeed in L&D

by | Mar 15, 2012 | Articles

According to research, learning technologies are being embraced by organisations like never before. Fantastic! In the bid to do ‘more for less’ this makes perfect economic sense.

But hang on a minute… according to that same research by Towards Maturity, documented in the Boosting Business Agility report, the essential skills and confidence to embed learning technologies has pitifully declined. How did that happen?

This paradox may have come about as L&D budgets have been cut – new tools have been introduced. but there has been little thought for the continuing development for L&D department staff themselves.

Organisations may therefore be in the most bizarre situation of recognising the real benefits of the increasing use of learning technologies, such as eLearning and virtual classrooms, but in many cases lacking:

a) Either the budget to buy in expensive bespoke solutions; the in-house knowledge and skills to create their own eLearning content; or,

b) The confidence to experiment with cost effective learning technologies themselves.

 

Share freely and grow

One way around this conundrum is to share freely with your peers your knowledge, best practice and experience – of successes and failures – and even perhaps your resources and skills. Collaborating with your peers can save everyone involved valuable time and resources. It’s rare to come across a challenge that others before you haven’t faced, so why reinvent the wheel? And if you are breaking new ground, then sharing your experience can really make a difference to those that follow in your wake. The L&D community are great at giving one another support in this way.

So, if you are not taking advantage of the collective wisdom out there, I really recommend jumping in and building your own network. There are so many sources of support out there, and many of them are completely free, but you need to get involved. The more you contribute the more you will succeed, and here are six ideas to help you learn and grow:

  • Learn from the masters: Tom Kuhlmann’s fantastic Rapid eLearning blog  is a constant source of inspiration, with free hints and tips on creating e-learning. If creating your own content is on your agenda, then this is the blog to watch. Clive Shepherd’s blog is a good read if you want to know about current themes and challenges in learning technologies.
  • Support each other: TrainingZone has a selection of discussion groups that you can join, a free resources page, an active Any Answers forum and regular bulletins. Training Journal similarly has an active forum, with questions regularly emailed to members. Sign up to both websites to ask questions and provide answers – it’s entirely free.
  • Learn together: The eLearning Network  is a membership organisation dedicated to supporting e-learning use – you can join for free as an associate member, and access their webinars and online resources. A very reasonable membership fee (they’re a not-for-profit) means you can upgrade to attend their events too, and also ask for help from their mentoring service. This is a fantastic means of getting practical advice if you are feeling your way with learning technologies.
  • Join the conversation: Online social networking is also, as you’d probably expect from L&D practitioners, really flourishing in the learning sphere, with a regular learning tweet up Chat2lrn every other Thursday at 4pm. Anyone can join – follow the hashtag  #chat2lrn. Topics are posted in advance and transcripts are posted afterwards. And of course there are a whole host of LinkedIn groups with ongoing discussions – choose the one that feels right for you. If you’re interested in using social media for learning, then take a look at Jane Hart’s website for some fantastic resources.
  • Think differently about conferences: Conferences such as Learning Technologies, World of Learning and HRD all have a vast range of free seminars, and provide a real opportunity to meet other L&D practitioners. This year at Learning Technologies the keynote conference speech with Edward de Bono was broadcast to the exhibition floor, you could join various tweet ups and book free advice sessions – so there was lots to inspire. And if you attend the Learning Technologies conference, you can join the constantly growing Learning & Skills Group forum which is also very supportive. For example, they have a specific Content Creation Within Organisations group.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel: Towards Maturity’s own free resources, including well researched case studies, can provide an independent perspective that can also help you on your way. Why learn from your own mistakes when you can learn from other people’s? The annual Towards Maturity benchmark is also a great way of knowing where you are at on your learning technologies journey, what gaps you need to address, with clear insight for future action.

The golden rule to joining these networks is to ‘pay it forward’ – give your own help, knowledge and experience freely, and it will come back to you tenfold: as in life, you will only get out of all of these groups what you are willing to contribute to them.

At The Charity Learning Consortium we have harnessed this concept of ‘paying it forward’ to such an extent that we are looking at marrying the skills of a subject matter expert from one charity with the e-Learning design expertise from another, and creating content that the entire group can share. It’s early days, but it’s an exciting project to be a part of, and a great example of true collaboration.

Members are also inspired by our video learning project, where they are creating what will become a huge library of video learning that all members can access. In America, instructional designers and e-Learning developers volunteer to create content specifically for members of our US counterpart Lingo’s – with their efforts celebrated in the Global Giveback awards. When you start to think collaboratively like this, the possibilities are endless!

Coming together collaboratively can spark ideas, ignite enthusiasm, and solve problems that may be daunting when you face them alone. At the heart of real collaboration is an essential truth that we all know and recognise – that together we are more powerful than on our own.

Connect & collaborate with me on LinkedIn and Twitter @martincbaker @charitylearning @corporateelearn

Martin Baker has contributed this article as part of our thought leader guest blog series . Find out more about Martin here.

Compare your L&D strategy with the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check

Compare your L&D strategy

Review your L&D strategy to discover your strengths and opportunities for improvement with the Towards Maturity Learning Health Check.

Featured content

The Great Training Robbery

The Great Training Robbery

According to research published by Harvard Business School (HBS), organisations across the globe are experiencing ‘The Great Training Robbery’ because the correct conditions and culture for learning are not in place. People are not ready and willing to change, and ultimately learn.

La Vie en Rose, does seeing ‘life in pink’ matter?

La Vie en Rose, does seeing ‘life in pink’ matter?

Learning can be defined in many ways, but most psychologists would agree that it is a relatively permanent change in behaviour that results from experience. The three major types of learning described by behavioural psychology are; classical conditioning, operant conditioning and observational learning. In order for learning to stick and becomes the new normal, all three types require self-driven will. Therefore, how people view the world through their lens matters.

Featured

The Great Training Robbery

The Great Training Robbery

According to research published by Harvard Business School (HBS), organisations across the globe are experiencing ‘The Great Training Robbery’ because the correct conditions and culture for learning are not in place. People are not ready and willing to change, and ultimately learn.

La Vie en Rose, does seeing ‘life in pink’ matter?

La Vie en Rose, does seeing ‘life in pink’ matter?

Learning can be defined in many ways, but most psychologists would agree that it is a relatively permanent change in behaviour that results from experience. The three major types of learning described by behavioural psychology are; classical conditioning, operant conditioning and observational learning. In order for learning to stick and becomes the new normal, all three types require self-driven will. Therefore, how people view the world through their lens matters.

Our Supporters also influence Towards Maturity's Health Check and research, providing insights on future trends and practices that should be investigated.

Pin It on Pinterest