Archive for category L&D Transformation

What I Learned in November 2018

November was an extraordinarily busy month for me, with abundant learning opportunities in the course of my work.  The three I’ve picked for this month’s ‘What I Learned’ video are:

1. How I Learn – spoiler alert – mostly through my work, collaboration and conversation with others.  Here is a link to Learning Uncut podcast home page – the Professional Development special I refer to in the video will be out on 8 January 2019.

2. The Transformation Curve – research from Towards Maturity about the transformation journey in becoming a Learning Organisation. Here is a link to the webinar that I co-hosted with Laura Overton from Towards Maturity on learning transformation that provides further detail on the Transformation Curve.

3. A new research report from Good Practice about the evolution of 70:20:10 that explores how this idea / concept / framework is being applied in organisations.

Full transcript is below the video.

Video Transcript

Hi, it’s Michelle Ockers. Welcome to my What I Learned in November 2018 video, where I reflect on three things I’ve learned every month. I do this as a way of encouraging others to reflect on their own learning and recognize that we all learn on a continuous basis.

  1. How I Learn

Which leads me to my first reflection on learning for the month. I did a podcast, recorded a podcast episode of Learning Uncut, which I co-host with Karen Moloney. We were doing a special on professional development, which will be published or aired on the 8th of January, 2019.

In this episode, rather than talk to a guest about a project they’ve worked on, we actually had a discussion joined by Neil Von Heupt, who had over four years as Program Manager with the Australian Institute of Training and Development.

We basically drew on the answers of our guests from 2018 to the question, “what’s the biggest thing you do for your own professional development?” We also reflected on the answer to that for ourselves and what 2018 has looked like.

What I realized is, I have done next to no formal learning in 2018, but gosh, I’ve learned a lot and gotten a lot better at what I do. And the way I’ve done that is through my work and through collaboration and conversation with others. I give an example of that in the podcast. So it helped me to learn a bit more about my own learning style, which is very practical, very application driven, and very collaborative.

  1. The Learning Transformation Curve

The second thing I learned was related to a big shift in my business that I’ve been working on for some time and that I announced in November, and that is a partnership with Towards Maturity, who are based in the UK. I won’t go into the details of that partnership. That has been announced on my website and also in an article on LinkedIn if you want to take a look.

But one of the things I did as part of launching that partnership this month was a webinar with Laura Overton from Towards Maturity, where we talked about learning transformation and how to make a breakthrough in your learning transformation journey.

In the process of preparing for the webinar, I really got to dig into the most recent Towards Maturity research from their last annual report, The Transformation Curve, which looked at what is the transformation journey? What is the typical pattern of the transformation journey in Learning and Development as we seek to add strategic value and move to the right to become a learning organization?

And what that research showed is that it’s not a straightforward path. It’s not a linear progression. It’s actually more like a series of S-curves which come from product innovation and the product lifecycle as you take an idea or a level of performance, you introduce something, you go through a growth period, it matures. Then if you don’t do something differently, you start going into decline, just like the product life cycle.

But the data that Towards Maturity have from their benchmark of over 7,500 Learning and Development leaders over a period of 15 years, shows that you can make certain choices at these pivot points between stages on the maturity curve that will move you forward and move you into the next stage. And they’ve identified four stages which we unpacked in the webinar, reported in The Transformation Curve.

I really feel well equipped now in the work I’m doing with Towards Maturity to be able to look at where an organization is on the Transformation Curve and talk not just about generally what people are doing at that most mature stage, but what you need to do now to move forward from the point you are at. So I’m going to share a link to the webinar recording both on my blog site and on YouTube, underneath this particular What I Learned video for anyone who’s interested in taking a look. Or you can just get in touch straight, directly with me if you want to have a chat about the Transformation Curve and what I have learned through the Towards Maturity research about the process of having a greater impact and transforming learning in organizations.

  1. 70:20:10 Research

The third thing I learned that I’d like to talk about is some recent research by Good Practice on 70:20:10, called The Evolution of 70:20:10. Now for anyone who is not aware, if you are a Learning professional, you’re probably going to be aware of this shorthand way of referring to the key ways that people learn. So I’m not even going to use these numbers again. What I’m going to tell you is, people learn formally and they learn informally as they work through their experience and from interactions, conversations, connections, collaboration with others.

I think it’s time we stopped talking about this particular framework. It is clear from this piece of research that it’s been applied across most organizations. It impacts the work of many learning professionals in a range of ways. It’s not a prescription. It’s a nudge, if you like, or a starting point to encourage us to look at a broader ways of approaching the sustainment and enablement of learning in our organizations and enriching our own roles and the working lives of those we’re there to support.

So moving forward, my thinking is this report shows us that the approach is embedded, that it’s very flexible, it’s not prescriptive, that there’s a whole range of ways, depending on our specific context, that we can engage with learners and learning and empower people to learn in our organizations. So let’s move on from the debate and just get on with our role in this broader, more enjoyable, more enriching way.

This is going to be my last What I Learned video for the year. So thank you to those of you who’ve been watching these videos. Hopefully, some of you are getting some value out of them. I’m hoping it inspires people to actually share what they’re learning more broadly as a way of role modelling and opening up the conversation around learning in whatever networks, organizations, interactions you move in.

Have a safe and happy Christmas, and I look forward to engaging more with everybody in 2019.

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Is there a better word(s) than ‘learners’?

Words have power.  They shape perceptions.  They trigger emotions.

This morning I was reviewing a capability framework, reading skill descriptions aloud.  One statement contained the word ‘articulate.’  When I read it the word just felt satisfying with it’s hard edges emphasising the sense of clarity that it alludes to.  I tweeted about how it felt to say this word.

Articulate is also the name of an eLearning development package, so it had a very different association and emotional impact on someone else as their reply indicates.

As an aside, I like the word malarkey too.  What pictures form in your head when you read this word?  I think of a group of noisy cockatoos.

On a more serious note …

The words we use to label objects and groups of people can convey messages or be perceived by others to contain meaning that perhaps we had not intended.  In another Twitter conversation occurring simultaneously someone was talking about ‘learners.’  Debate about use of the word ‘learners’ within organisations is not new.  One ground for objection to the word is the point raised by Nigel Young below that learning is pervasive and simply a part of being human.

Picking up on the ‘learning is pervasive’ point, I grapple with the word ‘learner’ because it reinforces the mental model that learning and working are separate activities.  Clinging to this model is the antithesis of continuous learning.  It impedes the critical adoption of more agile ways of learning for businesses to maintain the momentum in today’s volatile, fast-paced environment.

Despite my aversion to the label ‘learners’ I find it challenging to find a suitable alternative when I need to describe a group of people whose performance and learning I’m endeavouring to support.  The tweets below give some options.

 

Interestingly, one of the participants in this conversation was from academia and had a different view on the label.

My final insight is that choice of the most appropriate label depends on context.  In an organisational context I shall continue to find words other than ‘learner’ wherever I can as I think it goes to the heart of a very important shift required for Learning and Development practitioners to let go of control and support continuous learning as a core part of their role.

What words (if any) do you use to replace ‘learners’?  If you still use the word ‘learners’ what is your rationale?

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Leading a Learning Organisation – Sydney Fishbowl Discussion

On Wednesday 14 March 2018 PSK Events hosted a Fishbowl Discussion in Sydney on the topic of ‘Leading a Learning Organisation.’  While I couldn’t attend I joined the #PSKevents backchannel on Twitter and participated in an active discussion on topics such as:

  • shifting how Learning and Development is perceived in an organisation
  • creating a learning culture (or, more accurately – an organisational culture that promotes learning)
  • creating a learning environment
  • speaking business language
  • learning from failure
  • user generated content

It was a lively backchannel discussion, with some differing perspectives on the use of business language versus ‘L&D’ language in particular.

I’ve curated a collection of the tweets and organised them by theme.  You can access this discussion record in ‘Wakelet.

There will be two more Fishbowl discussions on the same topic (you can register at the links below):

I will update this post with curated collections from the backchannel after each event, plus a separate analysis / commentary on themes across the three events.

Thanks to Trent Rosen the powerhouse who organises these events, and sponsors Learning Plan and Good Practice.

 

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Curation Capability Description for an Organisation

In the past week I’ve drafted a capability framework for Learning and Development practitioners in a large corporate.  This is a forward-looking framework that will be implemented as part of an organisation-wide transformation of learning.  One of the new activities that the L&D team will undertake is curation.  Coincidentally, this weeks #LDInsight Twitter chat topic was curation.  When I shared a resource on curation that I had used as input to define capability framework for content curation it was spotted by Niall Gavin who had attended the Twitter chat.  He expressed an interest in the capability framework, and I promised to post my draft.

Full draft is shown below, and is also available in pdf.

The framework format was specified by my client.  The following source materials were used as input:

I’m aware of two large corporates in Australia who have roles dedicated to content curation in their Learning and Development teams, and others that use curation as part of solution development.  The value of curation for organisational learning is well-established, although it is less common to have dedicated curator roles in organisations.  Where the organisation is large enough and the value of reusing existing internal and external content is high there can be a case for dedicated curators, even if for a set period of time only as an initiative to establish collections of curated content against strategic capabilities.

Where have you seen content curation used in organisations?  What are your thoughts on the capability framework posted above, and have you seen other definitions of curation as part of a capability framework/model?

 

 

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Transformation Program Workshop Structure

Over the past year I’ve worked on a transformation program which involved a lot of stakeholder consultation.  One of the forms that this took was a series of workshops to both understand current state and co-design future state.  I’m going to use my Working Out Loud (WOL) page to reflect on these workshops and what I learned as a result of designing, co-designing and working with the workshop outputs.  I don’t have a series of posts mapped out, so this exploration will jump around a bit (and may be interspersed with WOL posts on other topics).

My goal is to extract the best of these ‘half-baked’ reflections into a better-crafted post on my main blog on this website when I am ready. This program focussed on Learning and Development (L&D) activities in a large organisation with decentralised L&D teams.  The lessons I’d like to draw out are not specific to the L&D function; some will also be applicable beyond organisational transformation.

To provide context I will start in this post by mapping out the series of workshops.  Preceding these workshops we had undertaken a deep dive into L&D activities in a number of business units to identify what was working well, and opportunities to improve results and efficiency.  The workshops expanded participation to representatives from all L&D teams and internal customers (represented by managers and subject matter experts).

As shown in the image below the workshops were conducted in three waves, moving from high level to greater detail.  The overall purpose was to define an effective, efficient future state operating model, informed by an understanding of customer characteristics and needs, solutions to meet these needs, and capabilities required to develop and deliver these solutions.  The work stream workshops in the centre row and the workstream precision design workshops were all run multiple times to accommodate 6 ‘solution portfolio’ workstreams plus workstreams for a further 3 value chain activities.  The total number of workshops conducted was between 25 and 30.

WOL Note – Yesterday I tweeted about the excuses we use to defer being creative.  The source of this tweet was a fabulous little book called ‘Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk‘ by Danielle Krysa.  I decided to get back to my Daily Dispatches on my WOL page to overcome the excuse of ‘I don’t have enough time’ and ‘But it’s not good enough to post.’  Hence this bite-sized post as a start point for unpacking how I’ve worked and what I’ve learned through these workshops.

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