7 Mindset Shifts on Learning from the CLC Conference

by | Nov 20, 2015 | Articles

We joined the Charity Learning Consortium and over 100 charity sector L&D professionals for their annual conference and awards ceremony at the Grange City Hotel in London. Each presenter challenged us to think differently about our role as L&D leaders. Here are 7 key mindset shifts that L&D needs to make based on the things presented throughout the day.

Year on year, the Charity Learning Consortium continues to outshine itself by putting on a conference programme that brings real value to its members. Their annual conference is a great chance for L&D teams in the charity sector to network, learn from each other and celebrate their successes. With this year’s conference documented in cartoon form by Simon Heath and a whole session dedicated to laughter, it was bound to be a day filled with humour.

At the start of the day, Nigel Paine encouraged delegates to use the day to challenge our thinking and to network and connect with others in order to learn from each other and offer up experiences of dealing with the challenges that were shared by the room. It was a great opening and paved way to the following takeaways:

1. L&D teams should focus on 1° of change

Paul Morgan from Telefonica delivered the morning keynote, dropping fresh data from Towards Maturity’s Industry Benchmark Report to demonstrate how we need to focus on making just one degree of difference, for one degree of change. He affirmed the challenges that delegates shared in Nigel’s opening moments with his own stories from O2, sharing some of the breakthroughs in mindset that he discovered as he sought to build L&D reputation with other parts of the business.

The problem with L&D is focus. Models, learning styles and technology doesn’t matter if you don’t know what business problems you are trying to solve.

2. L&D teams can (and should) help solve business problems

Paul recommended focusing on solving tangible business problems by raising direct face-to-face discussions with the people whom you would usually sit on a call with and take course orders from. By really drilling down into the source of business problems and talking with leaders who want the problems solved, Paul posed that L&D teams can come up with innovative solutions and gain business recognition. This point was also raised in Andy Lancaster’s “9 nudges for L&D” – ask senior leaders, “What would you like me to help fix?” Check out these tweets:



One small but practical gem Paul gave away in his keynote, was the simple decision they made to host their learning platform in the cloud, outside the company’s VPN (Virtual Private Network). This made all their learning ‘content’ accessible anywhere, anytime.



2. The future of learning isn’t “scary biscuits”

The best quote to come out of the day was definitely the above phrase used by Andy Lancaster in the moment, asking what the future of learning might look like with our own Laura Overton. The point made is that change can be scary for L&D professionals, but it doesn’t have to be. Between them, Laura and Andy gave L&D 18 ‘nudges’ – small steps that would help delegates bring their strategy up to date with what industry research says we are capable of delivering.

We need a compelling vision for the future of learning in our organisation in order to deliver against our goals, communicate successes and really make a difference. These ‘nudges’ will help you do just that:

Laura Overton’s “Nudges for L&D” to help you build performance in your organisation

Andy Lancaster’s “Nudges for L&D” to help you define and implement the future of learning

3. L&D expertise progresses through sharing and listening on social platforms

Nigel Paine took great pleasure in encouraging everyone present to ‘get stuck in’ on social media, specifically Twitter, guessing that our collective social reach could be well over 100,000 people – if all the ideas coming to people in the room were shared, a lot of people would be affected by this one conference. Essentially, he highlighted the power of social learning and how it can bring more relational connections between L&D people, raising the credibility of the industry as team learn from each other.

4. Emotional connections can bring deeper levels of engagement

Stephanie Davies, Director of Laughology brought us a presentation far different from what most people are used to as she got the roomlaughing together – her point being that interrupting the brain with emotional stimulus causes our brains to ‘think about’ what we are actually doing and the digest the information we might otherwise subconsciously de-prioritise. Her whole business methodology is built around this and she offered us a simple way to engage:

Focus, Language, Imagination, Pattern breaking (FLIP)

Stephanie encouraged people to think about the way they are trying to engage their audience with these four key words. With more silly exercises and a quick dip into neuroscience, it was clear that these areas are quite important in capturing the attention of disengaged learners. Check out more on Stephanie’s Laughology here.

6. Lessons from the Charity Learning Superstars

Gill Chester from Little Man Project gave us a roundup of all the key takeaways she learned from judging the Charity Learning Awards this year, which you’ll find below.  Here are some of the takeaways from this year’s Charity Learning Awards Winners:

Here are some of the tips taken from award-winners:

  • Let people know why this is important to them/the organisation
  • Keep it simple. Find out how the subject relates to everyday experiences and don’t repeat what they already know
  • Telling stories can be powerful – use scenarios familiar to your audience
  • Create easy to understand tools and resources to save learners time finding what they need
  • Access is key, especially for people with poor IT skills or confidence
  • Courses need to be interactive and engaging – fun is important!
  • Use a demo as part of the launch plan to gain interest
  • You’ll become an SME on your organisation and the work you do by creating content about it – don’t underestimate your ability to be a Subject Matter Expert
  • Don’t underestimate learners’ desire to re-visit modules and improve their scores
  • Design outside of the software – do more preparation before writing information into the software and think before you build


7. Learning is about performance, not development

Charles Jennings shared his thoughts on how new ways of working have been shaping a requirement for new ways of learning. Some of the more impacting insights shared were those around the difference between the effectiveness of learning outside the workplace and that which was integrated into the workflow, using his own stories to elaborate. Charles also shared a bit about his new book, which focuses on using the 70:20:10 framework to create a performance-oriented L&D team.

However, Charles wanted us to go away with a mindset shift geared towards improving performance, tieing in ideas brought throughout the day – how can learning professionals bring about last change in order to improve performance? This was the final question of the day and challenged delegates to really go away and think about what they contribute to the business.

We’re told the slides from Charles’ session will be available on his slideshare account soon.


More tips and curated bits from the day

Here’s the cartoon summary of the day by artist Simon Heath (click to enlarge):

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