In this video Michelle reflects on key themes from the Australian Workplace Learning Conference:

(1) Shift from training first practices

(2) Adoption of a performance mindset

Below the video is a summary of these themes.

Michelle will curate and share her notes from all sessions she attended in a separate blog post.

Shift from Training First Practices

The keynote speaker, JD Dillon, set the tone well with his session on Building a Smarter Learning Ecosystem.  JD quoted Fosway Group’s 2017 research that shows that the world of work is evolving fast.  People are required to work faster but the ability of learning professionals to support them hasn’t kept pace.  This aligns with business research that I drew on in my session about the Learning and Development profession which shows that CEOs are learning into disruption, making organisational agility critical.  They also see re-skilling as necessary due to shortage of required talent in the marketplace to meet changing requirements.
JD suggested learning professionals should be trying to provide the “right fit” experience for every person.  This is the experience that suits them and the reality of their workplace.  He walked through a model of support options that he uses to determine the best fit, most readily available support option, as shown below.   JD’s session slides can be downloaded from Slideshare.
Although not specifically using this model, there were some case studies that aligned nicely with JD’s general thrust.
Ravina Bhatia from Macquarie Group (financial services sector) presented their Informal First strategy.  They keep learning informal and assessment formal.  Three guiding principles used are to (1) provide content on demand (2) give users choice in what they can access and how and (3) smart design principles such as integrating informal into formal.  None of their content is mandated, and assessment is implemented in the workflow to the maximum extent possible.
Beth Hall presented global retailer Cotton On Group’s (COG) Deliberately Different learning strategy.  COG Uni’s vision is to develop the highest performing teams globally.  They offer a lot of freedom in the framework that they use for learning, and expect individuals to take charge of their own development. The message is “you drive it!.”  They have developed a strong learning culture to power their vision.  While they do offer some learning programs, they do not mandate any training (that’s right – not even compliance training).
Beth gave an example of their Leadership Academy to show how it worked – essentially conversation is emphasised over content.  For each topic or module (they call them ‘creds’), they offer a flexible high level framework and performance tools.  Workshops focus on solving a real business problem.

Performance Mindset

The Cotton On case study highlights another key theme.  This was a key point in Charles Jennings session on Overcoming the Training Transfer Problem with the 70:20:10 Framework.  He suggested that the transfer problem is minimised when learning professionals adopt a performance mindset rather than a learning mindset.  Note that he did acknowledge that there are times when learning is an appropriate goal, given an acceptance that when this occurs transfer of skills to the workplace is more challenging.
Although not directly discussing performance mindset, there was a linkage to Arun Pradhan’s information-packed session on The Art of Nudging Behaviour.  He laid out a fragile set of underlying assumptions held by many learning professionals that he called a “chain of causality.” This is the interlinked set of assumptions that training will cause learning, which will cause behavioural change, which will cause performance and business impact.  The further back in this chain learning professionals operate, the less likely it is to result in behavioural change and impact.
Arun shared a range of examples of how nudges are used to encourage adoption of certain behaviours in other domains and asked us to think about directly encouraging people to change behaviour through nudges higher up in the causal chain.  You can view Arun’s slides on Slideshare.

The L&D Profession – How to Thrive in the Modern Workplace

I spoke on the final afternoon about the demands and challenges facing learning professionals in the modern workplace.  I explored the mindset shift required and approaches to help address the growing skills gap in the learning profession.  My message about the need for modern learning teams to possess an expanding set of skills tied in with the shift in approaches applied in many of the case studies.  Learning professionals require strong self-directed learning skills, habits and practices in order to be at the vanguard of enabling others to learn continuously and building learning culture.  You can request my slides and all resources mentioned in my session.  Note – I will be running a free webinar on this topic on 23 July 2019.  Link will be posted here and on LinkedIn once this webinar is scheduled.

Congratulations Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD)

The AITD organised the conference.  The standard of speakers and case studies was excellent overall.  It would be surprising if anyone came away without something valuable to apply to their work.  It was also well organised.


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