Following on from my attendance at the World of Learning Conference last year, as discussed briefly earlier in my blog, I returned a much more knowledgeable and better-prepared person within the world of L&D and in particular how, what was being discussed and demonstrated, showed many elements of the things we as an organisation needed to change if we were to fulfil the desire to be more effective in the L&D areas of the business.
I returned to the office, full of beans and planned my route to creating what I believed would be a great vision for our internal platform to offer Continual Personal Development opportunities for all staff.
I have many observations during the process from start to (almost) finish but I wanted to maybe just highlight five key areas that may or may not strike a chord with one or two within my ever growing network…
1. Do your homework …
By my own personal nature I have a tendency to jump in with both feet made even worse by the fact that I jump in and then act strangely like a “dog with a bone” and refuse point blank to let go until I arrive at my goal. Much to the annoyance of the people around me, more so, my very understanding Wife, who puts up with many an hour sat watching telly on her lonesome whilst I am engrossed in my latest “fad” (or project as I like to call it!) I wouldn’t particularly say that I made any rash decisions or mistakes whilst “jumping in” on this project but, in hindsight, knowing what I know now and having built up a very good and supportive network of people over the past three months I would have done one or two things slightly differently.
2. Grow your network of cohorts…
This is possibly the biggest means of support for me currently. I can’t begin to put a value on how supportive and knowledgeable the people are out there, many of which I have already acknowledged in previous posts. Twitter is a tool that most people only use in its most primitive form to exchange idle chat. But, in the right context and the right framework it can offer a very substantial platform to learn anything and everything about learning. Hashtags are great and ideal concept and are used for chats that are taking place. @CraigTaylor74 does a regular piece on #lunchandlearn Another is #Chat2lrn hosted by@Chat2lrn which again offers some very valuable insight into topics that are relevant. And the good thing is, even if it is not relevant now, today, it may be in the future and most chat sessions offer a transcript of the discussion that took place. Another good tool I was introduced to this week by a wonderful lady @lesleyprice is Skype Chat. Again Skype is similar to Twitter in the fact that people usually only scratch the surface but the truth is if you look closely enough you will see it opens up a whole new world when it comes to sourcing a means to enable us to engage and collaborate with one another. Where else can you tap into such a wide and varied amount of collaborative support for FREE!
3. Make use of other people’s blogs, podcasts and other offerings …
I can’t begin to count up the numerous hours of watching videos or reading blogs or listening to podcasts on my iPad lying in bed during the early hours of the morning. If only my Wife could stop snoring so loudly and I might be able to hear them and concentrate better! All joking apart, the information you can gain about what type of LMS fits better or whether you should give consideration to mobile learning or perhaps gain an understanding on the debate surrounding “Tin Can” vs “SCORM” then any number of good, informative Social Media tools mentioned here will point you in the right direction.
4. Get yourself to an L&D Event….
Get yourself along to any number of events that are taking place up and down the country, or even world-wide if that is more appealing. However, it may be worth re-reading point 1 again if you are still in the planning stage of your LMS and are about to book an airline ticket to the E-Learning Symposium 2013 Houston, which although I am sure is a good one, is probably a little adventurous at this early stage. I am not quite that bad but I do have the grazed knees as evidence of some minor downfalls. Perhaps instead, pop along to http://www.learningtechnologies.co.uk/conference/ or follow it on Twitter with @LT13UK
Just because you are not there in person does not mean you cannot get involved in discussion and debate.
5. Find the right partner for your LMS provision…
This is possibly THE biggest key point so far in setting up our LMS. An LMS set up, which is really only actually in the very first stages of development. However, in treading the pavements in search of a good partner who could offer peace of mind above anything else we eventually found one we are extremely comfortable with. Leading up to this find we had spoken to around three or four other companies both over the phone and face to face and found that, one just talked at us and I couldn’t help thinking that they could do well to take a leaf out of Stephen Covey’s 7 habits “Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood”. It was like a battle of two mouths. Another left a good impression but we have not seen hide nor hair of them since. Eventually we were put in touch with a great local company who have been very understand in our desire to run rather than walk and managed to peg us back a step or two (in a nice way) and are helping us to develop what we require for our business needs and strangely enough will include many of my key aspects mentioned above – funny that isn’t it how my goal is to provide our learners, who I am supporting, with the very same things that I find supporting to me – strange world really this L&D lark.
So, MediaCorp where both Debra and James have been very supportive and encouraging so far and are working on a design to encompass all that we are hoping to deliver, I am more than satisfied that we have found the right partner who I can only imagine will continue to strengthen the already growing bond between us and support our roll out of our new Totara LMS early next month.
All that is left now is to wait on our staff choosing a name for their new portal – I wonder how imaginative these folk can be?
I can’t wait to get cracking, open up a whole new world of peer-to-peer learning, social interaction, gamification, (eventually – back to those baby steps again Paul) and a whole new plethora of interesting and hopefully engaging tools to make learning more fun.