Learning & Reskilling

Browse our library of knowledge and information published by knowledge professionals and people who know.

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Jane Daly's Worklife Podcast: Kirsten Chick, Nutrition Brought to Life

In this episode Jane talks to Kirsten Chick about Nutrition Brought to Life

Kirsten Chick is an experienced and knowledgeable nutritional therapist, teacher and writer, and author of the book, Nutrition Brought to Life. 

She has been practising since 2003 and offers online and phone consultations. She is known for her warm, approachable style, and aims to tailor recommendations not just to what people need, but also to what is manageable.
As Kirsten believes food is to be enjoyed, she provides recipes and meal inspirations in her blogs and social media, and there are 50 recipes in section 2 of Nutrition Brought to Life.
Kirsten also provides online workshops and courses, covering subjects ranging from sugar to menopause, and can provide bespoke workshops for companies, community groups and organisations.

Kirsten recommends listeners explore the following links if they would like to delve deeper into her insights and work: 

A link to Kirsten’s Book – Nutrition Brought to Life book: https://www.alchimiapublishing.com/nutrition-brought-to-life/ - also available at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nutrition-Brought-Life-Kirsten-Chick/dp/1999306120/, https://www.waterstones.com/book/nutrition-brought-to-life/kirsten-chick/9781999306120 etc. A link to Kirsten’s Nutrition bog and website: www.connectwithnutrition.co.uk - where there are blogs and recipes plus details of one-to-one consultations and upcoming workshops Kirsten’s You tube channel - including Bite-Sized Nutrition Tips recently recorded  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLy718j0Fe68OGvo-bmFeeg/playlists

You can find out more about Kirsten, including how to connect HERE:  For more details, see www.connectwithnutrition.co.uk, e-mail Kirsten at info@connectwithnutrition.co.uk or call her on 07968137246.

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A pivotal point: the future of workforce development

As we emerge from the pandemic, assess its fallout in the workplace and look to recovery, business leaders are going to nd themselves facing a dire talent and skills shortage. We knew this when Covid rst struck: chief executives then saw such a shortage as one of their biggest business threats. The chances now are that it is becoming an even bigger threat, particularly in new digital areas, as this report shows. And it is arriving as budgets tighten like never before.

The clear need is to focus intensely on reskilling and upskilling. It is cheaper to develop than to hire. The wisdom of this approach is borne out by the 2021 L&D Global Sentiment Survey, now in its eighth year and published at the start of February. For 3,114 L&D voters from 95 countries, the answer to “What will be hot in L&D in 2021?” was a clear and unequivocal “Reskilling/ upskilling”.

Yet despite knowing the value of and the need for reskilling and upskilling, for developing the existing workforce rather than looking for new talent from outside, many businesses are not putting it into practice with anything like the commitment that’s needed. “Training” is still siloed, it is often about box ticking content rather than true integrated performance development and skills gap identi cation is poor.

On the one hand, this means that many businesses need to move mountains if they’re to overcome the shortages they can expect. That requires signi cant internal change and also replacing some of their large, unresponsive learning management providers with new, more agile players.

On the other hand, it means that for such agile new providers there is a market that is wide open for development with opportunities at great scale.

Based on extensive research, this report explores the key trends, challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for learning and development practitioners, organisations, policymakers and founders. Workforce development is ripe for evolution. This report gives vital insights into the form that evolution can take, with actionable recommendations for business, policy, L&D leaders and founders.

Read the full report from emerge Education & Future Learn here.

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Jane Daly's Worklife Podcast: Joan Keevill, The power of Professional Networks


In this episode Jane talks to Joan Keevill about the power of Professional Networks

Joan is Director of Designs on Learning Ltd, an e-learning consultancy. She has a wide range of clients, many of them large corporates, and specialises in the areas of leadership and compliance. She also works with a number of associates who manage the production side of the work on her behalf. The majority of Joan's new business comes through her network so she invests time in nurturing it. Joan has been Chair of the eLearning Network since 2018 and on the Board since 2016. She initiated the webinar series, managed the transition in 2020 from face-to-face to more virtual events and recently ran the third round of Board elections. Being on the eLN enables Joan to reach out to over 20,000 industry professionals via its social media platforms, as well as to give something back to the industry after her decades of experience working in it.

Joan recommends listeners explore the following topics if they would like to delve deeper into her insights: 

The eLN Review of 2020 (https://elearningnetwork.org/the-elearning-network-a-review-of-2020-and-a-look-ahead-to-2021/) - I'm constantly amazed by what a group of 12 volunteer Directors of the eLN can achieve and how they stepped up to the plate when the pandemic began. This review explains the range of our activities and how members benefit by being part of this dynamic network. The Learning and Development Handbook, Michelle Parry Slater (https://www.koganpage.com/product/the-learning-and-development-handbook-9781789663327) - to be published on 3rd Feb 2021. I've had the pleasure of reading an early proof and it's a very practical guide that will suit people at all levels in L&D. In itself it's not about networking but Michelle epitomises networking and sharing good practice and that's how the idea of the book came about - via twitter. The Women Talking About Learning (WTAL) podcast series (https://womentalkingaboutlearning.com/) - initiated by Andrew Jacobs, this is an evolving resource and well worth a listen by all in L&D. I feature in the Imposter Syndrome one and also the Evidence one. Andrew felt women's voices were not being heard enough. Again, he is another great networker and blogger, publishing a short blog post daily.

You can find out more about Joan and the eLearning Network (eLN) here 

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Jane Daly's Worklife Podcast - Ian Mcllwain: Digital-first Learning


In this episode Jane talk to Ian Mcllwain about Digital-first Learning

Ian is a technology company leader with more than 20 years’ experience in business development, sales, and strategic operations. As part of the UK leadership team and Head of LinkedIn Learning UK & Ireland, Ian is currently leading a team helping clients to develop, retain and transform their talent. 

In the workplace, Ian is passionate about customer value, technology, diversity, inclusion & belonging, coaching, empowerment, compassionate management, building great teams and having fun doing it.

Ian recommends the following 3 things for listeners to deep-dive further: 

Something free from Linkedin: https://linkedin.github.io/career-explorer/


LinkedIn Career Explorer

Comparing skills across jobs can make it easier to find the right job for you. Since Time Management is a critical skill for both Food Servers and Operations Coordinators, let’s go deeper to understand the other skills that overlap between the two jobs and what skills you would need to build to move from one job to the other.


What does it do

“Our Career Explorer tool will help you discover potential career opportunities based on the skills you already have. Enter your most recent job, and we’ll surface opportunities that you have high skills overlap with and resources to help you build any new skills to make a career pivot”

Something free from Microsoft: https://opportunity.linkedin.com/skills-for-in-demand-jobs

Free Learning Paths for Top Jobs

Start developing your skills with free learning paths from LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn.



Something not to do with LinkedIn or Microsoft but a resource I love:


  Find out more about Ian here Enjoyed this episode? There's lots more to listen to, sign up here to find out more 


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Good teaching practice and resources

Good teaching practice and resources

Remote education resources, including lessons from Oak National Academy, as well as guidance, lesson plans and webinars on teaching remotely.



A sector-led remote education good practice guide to support school leaders in developing remote education contingency plans.

Guidance on adapting teaching practice for remote education .

The Education Endowment Foundation Covid-19 support guide for schoolsincludes information on how to support effective remote education.


Resources and curriculum support


Example lesson plans shared by schools to help teachers adapt their classroom practice for remote education.

All key stages

Video and interactive lessons from Oak National Academy for reception up to year 11 to support remote education.

Primary and secondary resources from BBC Bitesize for teachers and pupils.


Teach Computing helps you discover training, resources and guidance to support you in teaching computing with confidence. Computing hubs offer local, tailored support to schools and colleges to improve the teaching of computing and increase participation in computer science. 


Advanced Mathematics Support Programme aims to increase participation and improve teaching in level 3 maths qualifications.

The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics provides materials and guidance to help schools adapt maths teaching for pupils being educated both remotely and in the classroom.

Maths Hubs bring together maths professionals in a collaborative national network of 40 hubs, each led locally by an outstanding school or college, to develop excellent practice.


Music Education Hubs bring together local authorities, schools and art, community or voluntary organisations to make sure all pupils have access to music education.

Relationships, sex, and health education

Support and training materials for schools to help train teachers on relationships, sex, and health education.

Early Years

Resources from Hungry Little Minds, including simple and fun activities for children (from newborn to age five) that can be shared with parents.

Primary Schools


English Hubs offer support (resources and training) to eligible, local schools, including local authority maintained schools, academies and free schools. This is to improve teaching of phonics, early language and reading in reception and year 1.

Secondary schools


The Deliberative Classroom is a project to support teachers to lead knowledge-based discussions and debates with students on topical issues relating to fundamental British values, citizenship and equality.

Modern foreign languages

The National Centre for Excellence for Language Pedagogy (NCELP) works in partnership with university researchers, teacher educators, expert practitioners, and 18 specialist teachers in 9 leading schools across the country. These form language hubs to improve language curriculum design and pedagogy. Support includes professional development tools, teaching resources and workshops.


Isaac Physics is an online platform that offers support and physics problem solving activities to students transitioning from GCSE to sixth-form college, and progressing to university. It also helps to reduce teacher workload.

Institute of Physics provides free, bespoke support for teachers of physics to increase the take-up of A level physics, particularly by girls.

Science Learning Partnerships improve science teaching, including facilitating continuous professional development and providing support for schools to increase the take-up of GCSE triple science.


Accessing and buying resources for remote education

Help with accessing and buying resources for remote education.



DfE school-led webinars

The DfE is offering several school-led webinars on remote education to help share good practice.

EdTech Demonstrator webinars

The EdTech Demonstrator programme helps schools and colleges with support for remote education. Their webinars can support schools that are looking for help to improve the quality of their remote provision in line with the expectations set out in the guidance on restricting attendance during the national lockdown. Webinars include:

contingency planning guidance setting up a virtual classroom using platforms such as Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) or Microsoft Office 365 using technology to support pupils with special education needs (SEND) keeping pupils safe online embedding technology across your organisation and introducing a digital strategy

See all of EdTech's upcoming events on their website




Guidance on how FE colleges can use the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund and the adult education budget to help students overcome financial barriers to participation in remote education.


Support in using educational technology and developing online teaching skills from the Education and Training Foundation


Digital content and resources are available from organisations funded by DfE, including Jisc and World Skills UK.

DfE has also funded colleges to produce a range of content for the FE sector. The content consists of free, Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) compliant resources for use across the FE curriculum.

Health, public and social care

Health and Social Care (SCORM) - 11 topics Childcare (videos) - 10 topics

Science and mathematics

Numeracy entry level 3 (SCORM) - 30 topics Numeracy level 1 (SCORM) - 30 topics Maths level 1 (SCORM) - 30 topics

Agriculture, horticulture, and animal care

Animal care (videos) - 10 topics Carpentry (videos) - 4 topics Painting and decorating - 5 topics

Business, administration, finance and law

Business and entrepreneurship (SCORM) - 22 topics

Public services

Public services level 2 (SCORM) - 30 topics Public services level 3 (SCORM) - 30 topics

English and ESOL

Literacy entry level 3 (SCORM) - 30 topics English level 2 (SCORM) - 30 topics Spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPAG) level 2, SCORM - 15 topics English to speakers of other langauges (ESOL) videos - 3 topics

PSHE and wellbeing

Mental health (SCORM) - 13 topics

Skills and employment

Employability (SCORM) - 5 topics



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Jane Daly's Worklife Podcast - Paul Morton: Leadership


In this episode Jane talks to Paul Morton about Leadership

Paul Morton has been living and breathing leadership, learning and learning technologies for over 20 years. He started business as a stand-up trainer, then as a coder creating an early LMS, an eLearning author and then as a manager of technology teams. That background combined with a surprisingly useful degree in Scandinavian studies from Edinburgh leads to interesting conversations on leadership, change, learning and business growth with leaders in all industries. 

Most recently, Paul has been working as the regional sales director for CrossKnowledge, a SaaS high-growth corporate learning solution business, leading teams in Europe, the Americas and building channel partners around the globe. 

Born and raised in Scotland, he emigrated to London in 1999 and now lives in Hampshire with his wife and two young children. Paul is a fellow of the learning and performance institute (FLPI) and a fellow of the royal society for the encouragement of arts, manufactures and commerce (FRSA). He is also fluent in English, Norwegian, Danish and French.

If you want to explore more, Paul recommends three books, On Leading self, leading others, leading businesses:

How to win friends and influence people - the book I 'prescribe' most to people, first published in 1936 and still sharp and relevant. It's a playbook on how to get better at being human. Buy it here  Influence by Robert Cialdini - how to persuade and guide people towards your desired outcomes. Buy it here Dilbert.com / anything by Scott Adams. A gentle patina of humour and cynicism towards corporate life. (He's also written a great book - How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big) Buy it here  You can find our more about Paul and how to contact him here Enjoyed this episode? There's lots more to listen to, sign up here to find out more 
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Facing redundancy during your apprenticeship

The coronavirus pandemic has caused some organisations to make redundancies, leaving enthusiastic, hardworking apprentices without an employer.  If you’re facing redundancy, we’re here to support you as you get ready to take the next step in your career.


To support apprentices who have been made redundant or think they might be in the future, we’ve launched the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices. You can call 0800 015 0400 to get free advice, find new opportunities, and access local and national support services offering financial, health and wellbeing, legal and careers advice.

You can also read our guidance for apprentices affected by redundancy. There’s advice for finding alternative employment, plus information about financial support and talking to someone about how you’re coping.

To search and apply for apprenticeship opportunities, head over to Find an apprenticeship.


Some employers are hiring apprentices who have been made redundant during the pandemic. Where this is possible, you could continue to earn while learning valuable skills, setting you up for a range of exciting career options.

If you’ve been made redundant or think you might be made redundant in the future, you should contact your training provider. They may be able to offer support in finding new employment and completing your apprenticeship training.

You can also use our new vacancy sharing service to find employers who are interested in hiring redundant apprentices. Once you’ve signed up, we'll share regular updates to let you know which employers have opportunities available in your area.



Check the workplace safety guidance  to find out what you can do to help keep your workplace safe and what you should expect from your employer. 

You can also take a look at the safer travel guidance to find out how to stay safe on your commute.

RESOURCES Find another apprenticeship Guidance for apprentices affected by redundancy Guidance for working safely during coronavirus Safer travel guidance    
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Jane Daly's Worklife Podcast - Andrew Jacobs: Learning delivery


In this episode Jane talks to Andrew Jacobs, an independent Learning Consultant about Learning delivery. 

Andrew Jacobs is a recognised leader in learning, known for his innovative thinking about learning, training and technology. He has significant experience in a range of roles across learning, training and people development, experience acquired across a variety of industries in both the public and private sectors. Andrew has a specific understanding of developing online and digital solutions for learning, social profile and engagement. In 2020 he won the Jay Cross Memorial Award for his work in the field of informal learning. He is a Fellow of the Learning Performance Institute (LPI) and an independent Learning Consultant.

If you are looking to explore more about successful Learning delivery, Andrew recommends: Dangerous Ideas, a book by Alf Rehn which challenges your thinking about creativity, click here 


The Big Man Can't Shoot - series 1, episode 3 of the Revisionist History podcast series. In this episode, a basketball legend - Wilt Chamberlain - is considered. He couldn’t shoot free throws so changed his technique to an underhand method and started scoring at will. He then switched back and the podcast is a great piece to get people to think about what drives success.


The Transformative Power of Classical Music - a TED talk by Benjamin Zander which is about passion, leadership, and engaging people emotionally but NOT about classical music, click here 

You can also find out more about Andrew, including details of how to contact him, here 

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Jane Daly's Worklife podcast - Dr Hannah Gore: Disrupting the Norm

Dr Hannah Gore, Independent & Learning Experience Consultant.

In this episode Jane talks to Dr Hannah Gore, is an Independent Learning Experience Consultant on Disrupting the Norm.

After 13 years at The Open University, Dr Hannah Gore was asked to join Solera’s EMEA division to oversee the development and launch of their internal Business School, to train staff in 46 European countries, with further expansion to 93 countries and 37 companies as part of the company’s 2020 vision. 

Hannah joined The Open University in 2005, and developed a range of projects with students and academics, largely in on the theme of improving online communication methods within the web presence of The Open University, which utilised a range of emerging tools, platforms, and techniques to leverage student engagement. 

In her last position at The Open University Hannah worked on several projects regarding the impact of social media on student engagement. With the developing movement towards social learning and its use of hosting on third party platforms, Hannah’s portfolio subsequently expanded to Senior Producer at The Open University, creating content for circa 10 million people worldwide. It was within this role coupled with the culmination of her experience across the domain that led to Hannah influencing and leading the development of aspects of The Open University’s free online learning platforms, OpenLearn and FutureLearn, with additional syndication arrangements to third party platforms. 

Hannah has worked in both the public and private sections, and has graduated with five qualifications, including an MBA and an MSc, from The Open University. As an advocate of lifelong learning, Hannah was awarded her fifth qualification, a doctorate on the ‘Engagement of Informal Learners Undertaking Open Online Courses and the Impact of Design’, providing the academic field with the largest single source of MOOC engagement data to date. 

In her professional career since Covid-19, Hannah undertakes freelance consultancy in a wide range of L&D specialisms, and serves as an Online Executive Panel Member at McKinsey, as well as for think tanks giving views on emerging technologies and the impact of social changes across the industry.

If you are looking to learn more about Disrupting the Norm , Hannah recommends:

Keep up to date with Hannah's blogs at https://drhannahgore.com/ and https://thecanonburyconsultancygroup.com/ Follow: #WomeninLearning on LinkedIn for updates across the learning industry and to join the network  Read this insightful book called Physical Intelligence by Claire Dale and Patricia Peyton, Click to find out more or to buy it  If you want out more about Hannah's & Connonbury Consultantcy Group click here  Enjoyed this episode? There's lot's more to listen to, sign up here to find out more


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Jane Daly's Worklife Podcast - Nigel Paine: Self-determined Learning


In this episode Jane talks to Nigel Paine about Self-determined Learning 

Nigel is a change-focused leader with a worldwide reputation and a unique grasp of media, learning and development in the public, private and academic sectors.

He has extensive experience in leadership and consultancy with public service broadcasters, SMEs, global industry players, government and education institutions.

Nigel focuses on the use of learning technologies, organisational development, leadership and creativity with a spotlight on maximising human potential, innovation and performance in the workplace. Nigel is a strategic thinker, able to motivate, lead and drive organisations forward to deliver business and training

Nigel has been involved in corporate learning for over twenty years and was appointed in April 2002 to head up the BBC’s Learning and Development operation. Under his leadership, the team developed a brand-new on-boarding experience, a comprehensive leadership development programme for over 6,000 staff, an award-winning intranet, and state of the art informal learning and knowledge sharing networks.

Nigel recommends the following if you would like to delve deeper into Self-determined Learning:

Something from the Past: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/opinion/learning-emotion-education.html.   This focusses on the relationship between emotion and learning!

Something from the Present: Reich, J. (2020). In Failure to Disrupt, Why Technology Alone Can't Transform Education. Harvard University Press. This is a great read and I hope you enjoy it, if you invest in it! Buy it here 

Something for the Future:  I like to think of this in the context of the future, and having “Hope”, so I would like to recommend my book:  Workplace LearningHow to build a culture of  continuous employee development.   It is available from www.koganpage.com and if you use the code: FRIENDSOFNIGEL  at checkout will get a 20% discount and free postage.

You can find out more about Nigel here Enjoyed this episode? There's lots more to listen to, sign up here to find out more 
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Jane Daly's Worklife Podcast - Stella Collins: Bring on the Learning Revolution



In this episode Jane talks to Stella Collins, Neuroscientist, and explores bringing on the Learning Revolution!  

Stella is founder and Chief Learning Officer at Stellar Labs and one of the Brain Ladies. 

She is an acknowledged expert on the practical application of science-based learning to business performance and is author of Kogan Page’s sell-out book ‘Neuroscience for Learning and Development’, already translated into 3 other languages. Stella inspires audiences at international learning conferences and is regularly invited as a guest on round table discussions, webinars, podcasts and blogs.

Stella has a clear understanding of the challenges faced by people in organisations asked to deliver tough or technical training and applies principles from neuroscience and psychology to create practical solutions to transform learning cultures.  She regularly consults, designs and delivers face to face, virtual and digital training herself, so she knows the principles work in the real world and deliver genuine return on investment.  Stella has trained 1,000s of learning professionals in brain friendly principles in her more than 20 years in L&D.

She has a BSc in Psychology, an MSc in Human Communication, is a Fellow of the Institute of Training and Occupational Learning and through Stellar Labs she returns to her roots in the IT industry.

If you are looking to explore more about Neuroscience and how to bring on the learning revolution, Stella recommends: 

The Stella Labs programme currently called Conscious Learning – but we’re about to rename it to Learning Agility – the page right now is here https://programmes.stellarlabs.eu/conscious-learning-programme The Stella labs Future of Learning Podcasts:   https://blog.stellarlabs.eu/-  A valuable resource for anyone new to designing online learning / webinars right now – here’s the pocketbook (cowritten by Andy Lancaster) https://www.pocketbook.co.uk/product/webinars-pocketbook/ 

And other books Stella recommends on the brain:

Brain Rules by John Medina - Click here  Neuroscience for Organisational Change by Hilary Scarlett - Click here Brain Matters by Margie Meecham – another Brain Lady - Click here  You can find our more about Stella and how to contact Stella Labs here  Enjoyed this episode? There's lots more to listen to, sign up here to find out more 
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Training or Learning – More than Semantics?

Training can be mandatory, learning is always optional. That’s my answer when asked to explain the difference between training and learning. It’s a common question and one that all learning and development professionals should be able to answer. (Not that we all have to agree on the answer.) Some L&D professionals believe that learning is a long-term process related to development and change while training is developed for a specific task – learning about emotional intelligence as opposed to being taught how to operate a piece of machinery. It may be a matter of semantics, but words are powerful. The term learning gets more traction in leadership circles in organisations than training – so why do most of our colleagues still talk about training not learning? Training for most people in an organisation is something that is done to them whereas learning is something that they actively participate in – ‘they’ learn. That semantic ownership ensures that learners engage. By being ‘trained’ colleagues allow others to take control and ‘instruct’ them in what needs to be done, specifically and within a structure and format that they do not have ownership of nor influence over. There are many reasons why training fails to deliver learning, they include:

There is no contextualisation The content doesn’t flow The training method doesn’t resonate  The environment isn’t conducive There’s no real life application There’s a lack of follow-up 

Learning is being conducted everyday through informal networks within organisations where colleagues exchange information. It is not necessarily classed as formal learning – as most of it isn’t – and it is distant from formal training. It is the responsibility of the L&D professional to recognise the value in these informal learning networks – where no formal learning objectives have been set – and leverage it for the organisation. Learning networks happen everywhere at work where colleagues interact, they are also formed digitally through the utilisation of non workplace reference sources, search engines and communities. “Just Google it” is an invitation to learn in an unformatted, non-formalised self-directed manner embraced not only by by Millennials but by all colleagues. No-one is afraid of the web anymore. (Who among us hasn’t looked on Youtube to learn how to do something?)  There is of course still a requirement for specific formal training, but is has to be part of a greater mix of opportunistic learning options that are flexible and agile to suit individual learners. If your organisation introduces a new project management system you will still need to train people to be able to use it (via instruction, retention and repetition), but beyond that you will need to allow opportunities for them to continue to learn how to get the most out of the new system as they become familiar with it – how to apply critical thinking and creative applications to various situations – beyond the narrow operating requirements that training will deliver.

The goal of your organisation, regardless of what type of organisation you work within, is to achieve results. Whatever those results might be – profit, attendance, membership, votes, lives saved, goals scored – there is a need for all members of the organisation to be able to deliver their part in achieving those goals and it falls to L&D to ensure that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills to do so. It is therefore incumbent upon us as learning professionals to drive the culture of learning within our organisations beyond designing and delivering training. It is understood and widely accepted that for organisations to grow they must become agile in how they operate and relentless in how they innovate. This is also true for L&D. 

An agile L&D department is commercially savvy and strategic in thought. It is operationally focused and responsive in delivery. It promotes and accommodates ongoing and continuous learning. It also does a bit of training here and there. An agile L&D department is always asking itself:

Why do we work in this way? (Challenge everything.) What can we do to improve? (Exclude nothing.) How can we drive the learning agenda? (Ask everyone.)

Challenge everything. It’s simple and scary and the single most important thing you can do to understand your current situation. Exclude nothing. Everything is up for grabs: ways of working, systems, processes, environments, technologies, timings, formats, audiences, objectives and rationales. Ask everyone. The knowledge needed to improve your learning culture, offer and outcomes is there, you just have to ask the right person. 

It’s okay to train. But be aware that it won’t always result in learning. That’s out of your hands, but you can give it a nudge by making your training:

Relevant to the individual Specific to their role Focused on a goal Contextualised to assure impact

If you want to super-size the learning opportunity make your training agile and responsive to the needs of those being trained:

Self-paced and self-managed with optional guidance opportunities Bite-sized, micro-sized and immersive content Easily-accessible across multiple platforms and environments Informal and/or formal instructional delivery as requested Allow for self forming learning networks to support one another Reward learning with recognition and opportunity

Finally, if the goal is to deliver learning, L&D professionals must stop accepting every request for training as an edict. (Challenge everything.) Learning solutions are varied and should be responsive to an identified business need as opposed to being a knee-jerk training product developed because a stressed-out manager thought it was a panacea to poor performance (Which it never is). Training can be mandatory, but it should be focused on addressing an identified problem where the solution adds organisational value in a specific and measurable way that is easily applied by the learner, maybe then learning would be an option that more people would choose.

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Continuous Improvement in Learning – an Organisational Challenge.

Compromising on the quality of learning in an organisation cannot be justified by the need to do things faster or cheaper. But invariably – in organisations that do not value learning – quality is less of a priority than cost management. This is both short-sighted and a threat to organisational performance. In any other area of an organisation when cost savings are sought, quality of deliverables is a non-negotiable when it comes to identifying where savings can be found. Instead, many businesses employ continuous improvement processes – Lean ways of working – and strive to find process improvements to save costs without compromising quality. Learning organisations understand the importance of applying the principles of continuous process improvement in developing, delivering and evaluating learning. 

Continuous process improvement is not new. Kaisen, Kanban etc are all Lean process improvement methodologies that have been used globally for many years. The term refers to the task of identifying opportunities for improvement, implementing changes, and robustly measuring the impact of those changes. There are three key principles that support continuous improvement in L&D:

Continuous process improvement is a mindset not an event Buy-in to the mindset is needed across the whole organisation The process is recursive – Plan, Do, Check, Act

The mindset of continuous improvement refers to the ongoing search for ways to improve organisational efficiency and effectiveness – it is the belief that there is always room for improvement and a way to do things better. When this mindset is championed and encouraged across all functions and at all levels in the organisation the opportunity to focus on activities that add value and to reduce everything else drives business transformation, results in productivity improvements, growth opportunity and increased profitability – goals that strategic learning departments should be aligned to and measured against.

The notion of the continuous process improvement mindset fits well with what Stanford professor Dr Carol Dweck called the Growth mindset where individuals who continually learn and embrace challenges improve their overall intelligence and opportunity for greater personal success. (She identified having a fixed mindset as being self-limiting with little opportunity – or desire – for personal improvement where challenge and effort is needed to be successful.) An L&D professional must have a growth mindset in order to creatively deliver when their organisation is under cost pressures and to ensure that they are able to challenge what they do and how they do it in the search for continuous process improvement. 

Learning professionals need to drive the conversation by asking questions of themselves and others in the organisation, eg:

What can we do differently? What does good look like? Why do we do it like this? Where are the pain points? What is the saving here? Where can we add value? Where can we strip cost/time? How can we leverage our current system/processes? What is our measure of success?

Asking questions is the first step in understanding where we can make improvements to services, products, and processes. The process is enriched when others in the organisation outside of the learning department are involved and allowed to contribute without judgement or qualification. There are a number of principles that can help us to work with the outputs of our initial questioning conversations in the search for improvement to our learning: 

Value everyone’s contribution – especially the learners in the organisation. (Encourage them to identify what small things would improve their learning experiences. Or ask them what bothers them about the current way of doing things.) Look for improvements based on small changes - large changes can often be met with fear and negativity. Look for incremental improvements – they tend to be low-cost and low-risk and therefore easier to establish and embed. Check-in regularly. Open communication and constant feedback are  important aspects of continuous improvement. Have a measure. Be clear of the impact that any improvement will make – and tell people.

Once a potential improvement has been identified, take action.

By continuing to cycle through these steps, improvement is always being worked on and evaluated. Each step builds on the previous step, and then feeds into the next.

Plan - In the planning phase, the L&D team will drive the conversation – ask the right questions - to measure current standards, come up with ideas for improvements, identify how those improvements should be implemented, set objectives, and make the plan of action.

Do - Implement the plan that was created in the first step. This includes not only changing processes and ways of working, but also providing any necessary communication and engagement across the organisation. 

Check – This is where the L&D team need to evaluate what impact the changes they have implemented have had against an agreed measure of success. It is at this step that any corrective actions need to happen to ensure the desired results are being achieved.

Act - All the data gathered from the change is analysed by L&D and presented to the organisation leadership team to determine whether the change will become permanent or if further adjustments are needed.

The goal of continuous process improvement for the L&D professional is ultimately the provision of efficient and effective learning aligned to the organisational goals – which is why changes are measured and presented to the organisations leadership. The principle of The Aggregation of Marginal Goals made famous by David Brailsford and his team at British Cycling back in 2003 is a great example of how continuous process improvement can make a difference to performance in an organisation. It is the notion of looking for lots of little improvements in what you do – tiny margins of improvement everywhere. When Brailsford took over British Cycling he looked at everything about the sport, the bikes and the cyclists in the search for those improvements. He and his team redesigned bike saddles, rubbed alcohol on tyres, taught team cyclists how to wash their hands (to minimise the risk of infections), changed the pillows they slept on and the socks that they wore as well as changing their training regimen and diets. Applying the principles of the aggregation of marginal gains saw the team go from relative obscurity and mediocre performance to winning the Tour De France and dominate cycling at the 2012 Olympics – and beyond. Applying the same principles to learning and development can only result in improved organisational performance - find the 1% improvement in every aspect of L&D. Adopting a continuous process improvement mindset can only lead to growth in the success of learning that may be cheaper and may be faster, but that will not compromise on quality. 

Learning is continuous, and so therefore should be the search for improvements in how we approach it within our organisations.

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A Holistic Learning Approach for Organisations

The term “holistic” often brings to mind non-scientific therapies and alternative lifestyles featuring scented candles and self-help strategies involving chanting and meditation. (Not that there is anything wrong with any of those things.) However, from a learning perspective there are benefits to be gained from taking a holistic approach to the development and deployment of learning in organisations. We can approach holistic learning from two perspectives – educating the whole person; and a strategic design approach.

1) Holistic Learning – educating the whole person

A key proposition of Experiential Learning Theory (Kolb & Kolb) is that learning is a holistic process of adaptation. It is not just the result of cognition but involves the integrated functioning of the total person – thinking, feeling and behaving. Itaddresses and involves the learner's whole personality.

Cognitive (Thinking) – learning facts, theory, logical relations Emotional (Feeling) – playfulness, feeling connected to others, experiencing positive and negative emotions by being challenged, emotions regarding values and intellectual concepts Practical (Behaving) – turning ideas into decisions and actions, practicing skills and experimenting, learning by doing

Holistic learning encourages the use of meaningful content that relates to authentic tasks/situations to engage learners, it focuses on building knowledge and critical thinking as opposed to teaching facts/figures, and it continually encourages learners to develop and find the application of what they’ve learnt. There are different methods that can be used:

Practical Experience:  Role-playing games, independent work on tasks, simulations, working with experts, presenting their experience and expertise Acquiring Knowledge: Involving experts, sharing expertise among participants, text work, media work, analytical tasks Reflective Evaluation: Collaborative feedback, independent evaluation by participants of the experience and outcomes, facilitating skills to identify personal criteria for success, discussion

Holistic learning provides a range of learning opportunities that can be applied to create a complex and deep learning experience. When the learning objectives are aligned to the operational goals holistic learning maximises the opportunity for individual and organisational performance improvement. 

2) Holistic Learning – a strategic design approach

High-performing organisations foster a culture of continuous learning and take a much more holistic approach to learning and development. Holistic approaches to learning recognise the connectedness of mind, body and spirit. When we take a holistic approach to learning in the workplace we need to be aware of the physical, personal, social and emotional wellbeing of the learner as well as focusing on the operational objective of the learning. There are three key elements to consider in developing a holistic learning approach:

The learning context: The strategic alignment of the learning with the operational and commercial goals of the organisation The framework within which the learner receives value  The establishment of learning standards and methods of measure The link to performance management and talent development The learning environment: The infrastructure to plan, develop, deliver and evaluate learning The management of the physical space  The opportunity for social interaction and personal reflection The importance of continuous learning The learning blend: Varied content delivery Self-directed and facilitated options Clear catalogue or curriculum navigation and learning paths

Taking a holistic approach to learning is crucial in our fast changing working environment. Technology has disrupted work and learning. We need to respond to the changing requirements – and expectations – of today’s organisational learner. Flexibility, mobility and on-demand learning within a strategic delivery framework are key to ensure engagement. 

Research by Deloitte has linked on-going, holistic learning in the workplace to increased employee productivity and improved employee retention. A holistic learning approach which offers opportunities to the ‘whole person’ through a varied delivery offer empowers employees to gain the knowledge and skills they need to advance their careers within the organisation. This offers the opportunity for a different kind of self-help from that usually associated with the term holistic – self-directed learning with immediate value. Scented candle and chanting optional.