Imagine if….#2

llapproach-copyThis is the approach that we take at How to Accelerate Learning. Many other people do too (without calling it that!). In this blog series we will be looking at each of the 6 parts of the Learning Loop approach. So imagine …. what if, YOU were to take this approach:

Number 2: Stakeholder engagement and management skills are developed:

I am often shocked that so many L&D professionals do not fully utilise their stakeholders and engage with them. Some people do not know who all their stakeholders are, or their value and so this short video can help.

Once you have identified and categorised your stakeholders, you can:

  • Spend most time with those that have most influence and also support you
  • Build bridges with those that have influence, but are yet to see your value in L&D
  • Get support when times are tough from those who understand you
  • Learn how to quickly dispatch those who demand a lot of your time, with little in return

So let us imagine if you have the key stakeholders on board, what will that look like:

  • They will approach you with a business case to run a programme, with budgets in place
  • They will work with you to put in place measures that will evaluate the effectiveness of any programmes
  • They will win over those other stakeholders that you need support from
  • There will be an ongoing dialogue with them and regular “temperature checks” to see where you are
  • It will be easier to justify resources because the business case will have been made.
  • They will trust your judgment and ask “how” it should be done, when they present with an issue that needs solving
  • They will trust your approach, even if its new and radical because of the trust between you

If this is true, why don’t we do this all the time…..

Would you like to more about this approach? Then you have some choices:

Imagine if…..

llapproach-copyThis is the approach that we take at How to Accelerate Learning. Many other people do too (without calling it that!). In this blog series we will be looking at each of the 6 parts of the Learning Loop approach. So imagine …. what if, YOU were to take this approach:

Number 1: Everyone understands the whole learning cycle:

Recently I have been working with team leaders in an organisation to help them stop prescribing training as a cure all. This means a whole host of things in reality. To start team leaders have deeper conversations with their team members, when they ask “Can I go on a confidence building course”. They ask questions like “Why do you think you need this?” or “What has happened to your confidence?”. They begin to have more meaningful conversations about their development.

Solutions to performance problems start to look different – they might include spending some time with a colleague, or rethinking a process that is a bit clunky, reading an article or watching a short YouTube clip or a combination of all of them.

When they start to dig deeper and don’t know how to tackle something, they approach L&D, with a solid business case as to why this is important and explore if a learning solution may be the answer.

So what is the impact on the organisation of this approach:

  • It becomes more about performance rather than learning.
  • Money spent on learning is targeted
  • The organisation sees the value learning brings
  • Budgets are approved via business cases
  • Projects are prioritised according to business case

Would you like to more about this approach? Then you have some choices:

Should L&D aim for obsolescence?

I took part in a very interesting #ldinsight discussion on Twitter (@LnDConnect) last Friday and it made me think deeply. David D’Souza* was the one promoting this proposition and it really got me on the defensive. In defense of L&D that is.

*what David actually said was “Help them to learn how to learn & help others learn. Then disappear like mist.”

So in theory, if in L&D we did our jobs really well, we could help people to learn how to:

  • Recruit the best people
  • Learn on the job as well as other channels
  • Pass on knowledge and skills where needed and when
  • Adjust attitudinal misalignment through coaching

……just as a starter for 10

So in this Utopian world I could completely buy this, believing that 100% sustainable learning is achievable across the board, but these are the realities:

  • People start to drift back into their silos, looking out for themselves and not the greater good
  • Egos start to drive competition and not collaboration
  • “Stuff” starts to happen in one area that others don’t notice
  • We believe that how we have learned in the past is the absolute best way to learn in the future

……just a few little things…but that is why we need L&D to:

  • Challenge when the drift starts to happen
  • Remind people of common goals
  • Infiltrate the organisation, so we have an overview of what is happening
  • Keep abreast of new and better ways to learn in an ever changing world

Going back to David’s original tweet, I do agree somewhat… L&D should “disappear like the mist”, but not permanently,  just waiting in the wings, to help, coach, support where necessary. My defensiveness around David’s statement was because  his approach, is a philosophy and I am very much a pragmatist. Back to the original question though….. “Should L&D aim for obsolescence?”. If we take this on board as a philosophy, will that change our approach? I believe it might do….

My own approach to L&D is strongly in favour of everyone in an organisation being empowered to learn and I have blogged about this approach previously if you are interested in reading about it.

I mainly train trainers, facilitators and SME’s but just recently, in an exciting new project I worked with a team of team leaders, helping them to understand the whole of the learning cycle so they could develop their teams more effectively. This was a pilot and we are waiting to measure the outcomes to see the impact. One objective was to give these non L&D people enough knowledge of L&D so that they stop prescribing training as the only solution. L&D will be at hand though to help them in the trickier tasks of doing more detailed needs analysis, when they need it. Would David approve of this in theory I wonder?






Walk this way…part 1

walk this wayIn my learning and development career, I have been on a journey and in this series of blogs I would love to invite you to “Walk this way…”  or in other words follow my view on what a good approach to learning would look like.

3 years ago I developed a game for training trainers, called The Learning Loop® and this game uses an approach to L&D which I have been using over the last 25+ years as an L&D professional.

So over the next 6 blogs I am going to be expanding on The Learning Loop® approach.

Here is an overview of the whole approach, showing clearly the 6 steps.IMG_5170

So the first step is:

“Everyone (who works in L&D) understands the whole cycle.”

I began writing this by including the text in brackets and then rethought this…. thinking “Everyone understand the whole cycle”.

So what is my thinking? My thinking has been around “why does L&D not get involved in change when it needs to be?” and “what has this to do with perceptions of L&D within the organisation?”

The perception and expectation of your stakeholders may be that L&D will deliver effective learning solutions. However L&D is often not “knitted-in” to the business, resulting in L&D professionals that don’t fully understand how the business works. Under such circumstances, L&D will find it difficult to deliver effective learning solutions. The net result may be an under-resourced L&D function because it is not perceived as being a strategic to the business. Not only that, L&D will find its resources continually under threat because it is not seen as adding value to the business. Such an L&D function will often find that it is reactive and will not have the time and space to be pro-active and it certainly will not be performing a needs analysis. This is a vicious cycle.

Some L&D  professionals that I have spoken with see that L&D is about design and delivery. Using The Learning Loop® you will get a holistic view of L&D’s role within an organisation. You will be able to see that you should be spending much more time on ANALYSIS before DESIGN and the analysis phase should be involving the stakeholders and setting great objectives for your learning.

Going through the full learning cycle will also allow you to improve your stakeholders understanding of what L&D can deliver through being able to better EVALUATE what has been delivered in the DELIVERY phase. Resources would be made available for needs analysis because it would be understood why they are necessary and, crucially, analysis would be easier because people would be more forthcoming with information to improve the whole process. This would mean a different and deeper relationship between the stakeholders and L&D. A virtuous cycle.

Also, when I have spoken with L&D professionals, some do not fully grasp how close the relationship between the analysis and evaluation phases of the learning cycle should be. The benefit of adopting a closed-loop learning cycle will not only be more impactful L&D, but one in which that impact can be better understood by both L&D and the stakeholders and improve future stakeholder involvement. So if everyone understands the whole cycle…… it means:

  • Stakeholders understand that you can deliver useful change
  • Stakeholders understand that you add value rather than being a cost which means that get get the budgets you need
  • You get better results because you always do some sort of analysis beforehand
  • The people in the organisation understand their role in the learning process and become active rather than passive learners.

If you would like to know more about The Learning Loop® please contact me. Or better still, consider booking onto one of the open Learning Loop courses or come to one of our Showcase events.

This is the first blog in a series of six.

“Walk this way” – the whole blog series.

©Krystyna Gadd 2016

Rich and layered as any good chocolate cake should be

IMG_1363Imagine this; eating a wonderful chocolate cake. Sumptuous light sponge, with melt-in-the-mouth ganache and a sprinkle of  bitter dark chocolate curls……..every woman’s dream cake…..but wait this is not a cookery blog! We are talking about training environments here…

So how does your training environment compare? Is it:

  • A dropped scone – always consistent but flat and bland?
  • A ginger cake – a hint of spice, but nothing to blow your socks off?
  • A meringue – full of promise, sweet, but not fulfilling?

I love it when someone walks into my training room, there is that pause, when they look around and sometimes they say the “Wow!” out loud. This is when I know that I have their attention. We are all playful by nature and the promise of play releases dopamine into our bloodstream, this has the effect of engaging us and getting our attention.

So I would describe my training rooms as playful, appealing to something deep within us. Not childish but evoking that childlike curiosity and playfulness.

Once we have our learners attention,when they walk into the room – where will we take them? How will we draw them in and arouse they curiosity?  The environment is richly layered (more chocolate torte than fruit cake) and starts way before they have entered the room. You can start with understanding the needs of the learners and seeing how the learning can be tailored to fit those needs. You can also accommodate their needs in the design of activities and room layout. This is not one-size fits all approach, if you truly want your learners to be at their best.

In short, attending to the environment and considering how people learn can prepare them to learn. If your learners are not engaged then the experience will not yield the results you all desire. If you would like to know more about how to creat e great learning environment while achieving your business results, then why not come on the The Learning Loop® or attend one of our Showcase Events? Here is a short video of the last Showcase Event “LNA – what your mother never told you”.

Walking the wire…..

I recently saw “The Walk”, the story of Philippe Petit and his high wire walk between the Twin Towers in 1974. What really struck me was, when Philippe Petit learned to walk a wire, he started off with six wires strung parallel and as his confidence and competence increased he removed one wire until just one wire remained. He could then move the wire higher and higher up as his technique and confidence improved. Secondly, his teacher did not stand over him but directed him as to how to learn for himself.
Reflecting on this film and how it relates to The Learning Loop® , I have found that groups of learners work best when they do not face the front of a classroom but learn  in a variety of ways; for themselves, from each other, from activities and from the facilitator even. This is the way that The Learning Loop® is facilitated. It does not simply “happen” but comes about through understanding four main variables that affect classroom learning. Understanding these will mean that the learners will be comfortable and at their best.IMG_5682

  • The environment – without a good environment you will severely limit the ability of the group to interact. This means that the choice of location and room set-up can help ensure that the group are ready to learn. The learners must also feel comfortable and “safe” to learn. You can help set up the right environment before they even come into the room through preparatory work and emails.(…….but that is another blog)
  • The balance of each group – without good balance there can be a tendency of one person to dominate a group so an idea of the attendees and their experience should be gained before an event.
  • How individuals and groups experience the learning – understanding the amount of knowledge that the groups already possess and be sensitive to that. Allow those with some knowledge to have a voice and share that knowledge.
  • Importantly – the way in which the learning is directed. This not only includes the task at hand (what is being learned) but how you facilitate that balance between self direction and facilitation.
So if you want to ensure that people learn well; not only do you have to set the learning environment up well but you need to understand how the environment affects group learning.
Sign up to receive regular updates and news

Sign up to receive regular updates and news

Read how we use your data here

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest