Blooming Marvellous!

When I discovered Blooms Taxonomy first of all…. I was confused, then frustrated and now I absolutely love it!

The first thing that frustrated me was the word TAXONOMY – it just means classification so why use something that sounds so complicated?

 

The next thing was the names of the domains:

  • Cognitive (Knowledge)
  • Affective (Attitudes)
  • Psychomotor (Skills)

Again , why make it sound so complicated when it is so easy?

What I love about it, is the way I use it to determine the gaps in peoples knowledge, skills or attitudes and then the level to which they need to get better. Having determined that a need is down to a gap in learning and not in resources, relationships, processes etc I ask myself a question:

Is this a knowledge, skill or attitudinal gap?

I can determine the answer to this question (and whether it is a combination of 2 or 3) by thinking:

Is it something that has to be in peoples’ heads? A knowledge thing? Something you will only know if they have got if they, describe, explain, list or tell you about it?

 

Or is it a skill thing? Something that you will see them doing or that there is some visible output? It may be a physical skill (hence the ‘hands’)


Or is it the way they should be doing something? A heart thing? Their attitude?

 

Or is it a combination of all three?

Once it is clear in my mind which domain the learning falls into, then it requires some thought for the level of the learning. A simple example would be GDPR(General data Protection Principles) mandatory training. This is both a knowledge thing and also an attitudinal thing. It might even become a skill thing depending on which level you operate in the organisation.

Mandatory training for all staff can be tedious and if you make it generic it may not hit the mark with a lot of people. Let’s examine for different groups of people what they might actually need:

For colleagues you might want them:

  • To be able to explain what their responsibilities are with regards their role and GDPR 
  • As a team to be able to identify possible data security risks in their own team 
  • Follow the GDPR policy and advocate its use to other team members 

For line managers:

  • To be able to explain what their responsibilities are with regards their role and GDPR 
  • As a team to be able to identify possible and actual data security risks in their own team 
  • With other line managers, outline a GDPR plan for their team to ensure that their approach is regularly reviewed 
  • Follow the GDPR policy and advocate its use to other team members 
  • Be role model for GDPR

For the Data Protection Officer:

  • To be able to explain what their responsibilities are with regards their role and GDPR 
  • To be able to identify data security risks within their own team and the organisation
  • With other line managers, outline a GDPR plan for their team to ensure that their approach is regularly reviewed 
  • Put together and communicates a policy which safeguards the data within the organisation according to GDPR
  • Be role model for GDPR
  • Inspires others to follow the GDPR policy 

From the above you can see that some of the learning could be used for all levels, but for some you need to take them to the next level and maybe beyond. Looking at the picture at the top of the article therefore Blooms Taxonomy can be used to determine the level of learning but also map out a path for learning for different groups of individuals. It is worth noting that you cannot just leap to the top level in any domain without spending some time at the lower levels.

If this is slowly starting to make sense or needs more clarification then watch this short video or chat to me

 

 

The New Learning Leader

With 6 weeks to go until my book “How not to Waste Your Money on Training” is published, I will be sharing excerpts each week  to give you a flavour of what to expect.

In a nutshell this is a “How-to” guide packed with practical activities and insights to help you avoid wasting money on training. Each week we will focus on a different aspect of what the book covers. I will also be sharing testimonials from some very eminent individuals who are happy to promote this book.

This week we have a testimonial from Don Taylor, Chair of the Learning & Performance Institute 

“This book is packed with useful advice and insight into when formal learning is the right solution. Drawing on decades of practical experience, it explains clearly, and with practical examples, how to ensure training is deployed only when necessary, and to the greatest effect. Recommended reading for anyone in an L&D function, whether inside an organisation, or supplying services from the outside.”

Do you suspect your budget is going to be wasted on training that isn’t really needed? Have you ever wanted to make the process more effective, but been so busy delivering training or managing that you never get the chance to unpack what’s working and what’s not? Then this book will be for you.  Part of the problem is that L&D is changing and has been doing for a number of years. Towards Maturity have spoken about the ‘New learning organisation’ but what does that mean? Does everyone know how to fit in and the part L&D plays?

In this month’s Trainer Tools podcast Kevin M.Yates and I speak about “L&D’s Identity Crisis” where we discuss how it has arisen and what we might do to counteract it. In my book, I have proposed that we need a new identity of the ‘new learning leader’ which fits in with what the ‘new learning organisation’ will need. Not only do I discuss how the new learning leader will need to be, but suggest some tools and activities that will help shape them and their practice

If any of this has resonated with you then this book is for you and please email to reserve your copy. We are in the middle of creating a webpage so please be patient with us while we get geared up!

 

Is OD just L&D with bells on?

So I am going to come clean. I have never really understood the difference between Learning and Development(L&D) and Organisational Development (OD).  I have looked at the definitions of OD and thought to myself  “So how does that differ from what I do?”. So I have hidden my ignorance and not really engaged in any discussions about the differences between the two.

Then last week I saw a post from Steve Benfield about what OD is really about and the difference between it and People Development. His definition:

“People development is about when there is an improvement to a person(s). A person can be exposed to an intervention (e.g. a training course, programme or event) designed to help that person make improvements – development! (It’s only the doing things differently that real learning can then take place).

Organisational Development (OD) is about developing the system of an organisation with the aim of improving the system. Just developing people, doesn’t necessarily mean that the organisation will improve.”

He then goes on to talk about how OD is linked to strategy, process and making a difference to the ‘system’, not just people.

My thoughts in response to this, have been about how I work with clients. I seek to find out what the organization needs as well as the individuals. First and most important (in my opinion) of the 5 secrets of Accelerated Learning are “Business-focused and learner-centered objectives”. Business focused, because if the learning makes no impact on the business then what are we doing it for? Learner-centred so that we get buy in and learning then accelerates through the organization.

So I get why Steve may say there is a distinction between People Development and OD, but L&D are changing. I spoke about L&D’s Identity Crisis in a recent blog and have been in many conversations about that urge to change with fellow revolutionaries in our LinkedIn group. It is no longer acceptable to design learning or training in isolation from the business. It is not acceptable to change individual behavior without a thought to the impact on the business.

So if that is the case, should we get rid of the distinction between OD and L&D? Is it helpful? Could we join forces and be one?

If you would like to read more about my thought on my approach to L&D then read my book “How Not To Waste Your Money On Training”.

I would love to hear your thoughts, really!

 

 

 

L&D is revolting!


Before you send an angry email to me, please be assured, what I want to say is that we are in revolution. We are a lovely bunch, not at all revolting!

I have to say I have been a little sick and tired recently. I am not getting any younger and it seems like forever we have been talking about really making a difference in L&D. Yes there have been changes, but as someone who works a lot with trainers, facilitator, L&D professionals and subject matter experts we still seem to be missing out on the basics:

  1. Getting close to the organisation and understanding it
  2. Getting curious
  3. Using data to drive performance improvements
  4. Using tech appropriately – driven by needs not the tech itself
  5. Focussing first on a needs analysis to drive a good evaluation
  6. Being agile enough to keep up with the demands of the market

If you are working for an organisation who is doing ALL of these things or even some of them or would like to do ALL of them, we would love to hear from you. If you would like to discuss how to do this, with a group of like-minded professionals then come and join us in the L&D Revolution group on LinkedIn.

It is not for the following individuals:

  • Those happy with the rate of change in L&D (evolution not revolution)
  • Those happy just to keep delivering the same courses without much impact
  • Those happy with level 1 evaluations and moving no further
  • Those more interested in applying the latest tech rather than improving performance

Would you wear a tiara to the gym?

Yes, this was an actual question during a conversation about how in L&D we need to get back to basics.

This is not the first conversation I have had recently on this topic. I have had the absolute pleasure of making new connections recently (Kevin Yates and Amrit Sandhar yes it’s you two!) and I believe it is not a coincidence. I believe there are lots of people thinking the same way…..The topic coming up time after time is how in L&D we seemed to have lost our way. Instead of focussing on the basics (we will look at what those are later) we seem distracted by the new and shiny. I am not averse to the new or shiny at all. I am a self-confessed geek but the new and shiny has to fit the problem not the other way around.

So today I was having a review with Marie Duncan, Head of L&D for Kibble Education. They are a fabulous organisation over 150 years old, dedicated to helping children at risk. At the beginning of November I ran the Learning Loop for a group of 12 trainers and subject matter experts. We were reviewing the impact of the programme and what it has done for them.

We caught up on what has been imbedded and future work. We spoke about conferences and their value, but also how they can lead to a feeling of overwhelm. What do we spend the hard fought budget on and are we really getting value out of what we have? These are key questions on many L&D managers lips.

Then we took a similar path to previous conversations. Is L&D losing its way? What is it about? My opinion on what L&D should be about is:

  • Understanding the organisation and its’ purpose
  • Aligning L&D activity with the main goals of the organisation
  • Conducting a needs analysis when appropriate to inform us of what really needs to be done rather than what presents itself
  • Designing something appropriate using the right tools (not just applying the training ‘sticking plaster’ or the new shiny glittery thing)
  • Delivering something that meets the objectives and improves something in the organisation (not just a warm glow from the glitter)
  • Finding out whether what we did had the impact we said it would and working with the organisation to prove it (with business metrics)
  • Enabling line managers to help imbed the learning

Much of what we hear about are new advances in AI, VR, micro-learning, mobile learning, social learning, digitalisation, is all fabulous stuff, but how many in L&D are measuring the impact of what they do? How many have their finger on the pulse of the organisation, to know what is really going on? Are we swayed too much by what the big kids have in the playground?

Listening to all the new advances can we stay focussed? Is it all a distraction? Not-for-profits, voluntary and public sector organisations are strapped for cash and quite often need to know, in Marie’s words “how to imbed what we are doing well and doing it better”.

I love the Towards Maturity reports, giving us all a good idea of what we should be doing and benchmarking against others. Looking outwards can be helpful but so can looking inwards. Each organisation is unique and really understanding its purpose and how that can be fulfilled is crucial. Not all navel gazing is counterproductive! It is about balance.

So where did the tiara come in? When we were talking about all the latest fads, new and shiny things, one of our key concerns was how appropriate they are to the problem you are solving and just because you have one, “would you wear a tiara to the gym?”

I would love to hear your thoughts about ”getting back to basics” and ask two questions:

  1. Are you getting the L&D basics right?
  2. If not, what is stopping you?

My book “How not To Waste Your Money On Training” addresses these issues and more….. on how to gt it right when analysing needs and determining solutions.

To educate, learn or train? That is the question!

Should we in L&D be focussed on improving job performance and hence all learning is focussed on that or should we be looking for people to be inspired to learn more and be more self-directed?

I spent some time in July 2018 writing my book, “How Not To Waste Your Money On Training” and during the week I had a few philosophical moments. One was about the difference between education, training and learning. I often speak to L&D professionals about the difference between a training needs analysis and a learning needs analysis. How the former always leads to training whereas the latter leads to something broader than just training; it could be learning in many different forms.

In a similar way I was thinking about how my degree in chemical engineering and fuel technology was a good education. It prepared me for the world of work and also began a lifelong desire to learn more. When I moved from engineering to IT training with IBM we were called “instructors” and I worked in the IBM Education Centre in St. John’s Wood. Was what people received when they came to us there, an education? I am not so sure. I would hope the delegates were more prepared for their world of work and that they were inspired to learn more. But how broad was that inspiration? Did they become self-motivated learners keen to go beyond the traditional training course to further develop themselves?

This leads me to the present day; my title changed from instructor to trainer to L&D professional/facilitator. How do I define though whether I am educating, training or helping people to learn?

A few years after I gained my Certificate in Training Practice, I began working with trainers, delivering the CIPD Certificate in Training Practice, then the Certificate in Learning and Development Practice. Through my accelerated learning programmes, I further worked with L&D professionals to help them learn more about an approach that has been taking shape over many years. An approach that helps me focus on organisational needs as well as learner requirements. Programmes that took 8 months of weekly 4 hour sessions, were delivered in 8 one day sessions moving to a well-known learning provider. Now I deliver a 6-week programme, which includes a 2 day workshop and I cannot possibly ‘cover’ all I used to.

Leading by example and walking-the -talk have been driving forces in our organisation “How to Accelerate Learning”. Facilitation is practiced and runs like an invisible thread through the programmes. Inspiring resources and innovative ways of learning through gamification, create a different feel to the programme, leaving many people “inspired” – their words not ours. Even hardened trainers with years of experience under their belts talk of how different it feels.

This has not always been a deliberate intention, but a on occasions, a happy and accidental one. One that we persist with because of the results we achieve and the feedback we get. We put effort into:

  • Drilling deeper into needs to see if learning is the appropriate course of action
  • Delivering learning via a blend of activities not just training
  • Helping people to gain confidence in stepping out of their comfort zone – to experience new ways to help people learn
  • Using unusual materials and resources to inspire a different approach
  • Following up the learning so it is not just a one-time event

So, I don’t feel like it is training in the traditional sense; not like when I was a VM Instructor. Nor do I feel that it is just learning because of the feedback we get. So are we educating and is that now the remit of L&D?

 

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