Archive for category What I Learned

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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What I Learned In October 2018

I did something different with my monthly ‘What I Learned’ video for October.  I was inspired by the impact of brevity on my blog writing.  My wonderful publicity / blogging mentor, Katie Mac, set me a challenge.  My writing was weighed down with very long sentences.  Katie gave me a constraint.  No more than 13 words per sentence.  What?!  Write an 800-word blog post with no sentences longer than 13 words.  Is that even possible?  It is!

I was delighted with the impact on my writing.  It’s clearer, punchier and easier to read.  See for yourself in the post I wrote.

Constraints encourage creativity.

My previous ‘What I Learned’ videos have been over eight minutes.  This month I strove for brevity.  I cover three things in less than 2 ½  minutes.

  1. Brevity and constraints – see above.
  2. Using Mailchimp confidently.
  3. Fundamental knowledge about puppy psychology and physiology. For a dose of cuteness watch from 1:33min  to meet Bella, my Yorkipoo.

I normally record my monthly video on a digital camera and edit in iMovie.  To support my goal of brevity I made this video using Apple Clips.  This was the first time I used this tool.  I thought it would be a quicker process.  It was.  I was also interested in the automated sub-titling.  The automated sub-titles are reasonably accurate, but not perfect.  However, since making this video have learned I can I edit the sub-titles. Overall, I was pleased with Apple Clips and will continue using it.

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What I Learned in September 2018

 

 

Liminality

Liminality is derived from the Latin word ‘liminal’ which means ‘threshold.’  It originated in anthropology as a term for the middle phase in a rite of passage.  In this phase a person is passing from one state to another.  It is a time of transition.

In early September I heard the term used in an episode of the Don’t Stop Us Now podcast.  It struck me that I am currently in a liminal phase.  I’m enjoying the malleability and creativity of this phase. September was my first full month living in Brisbane after travelling for seven months.  I’m exploring options for what form my work will now take.  I see benefit in holding myself in this phase for a bit longer and not rushing to lock in my ‘new life.’

As I played with the idea of liminality during the month I recalled at least two organisational change management approaches that focus on this ‘middle phase.’  The first is described in the book Managing Transitions by William Bridges.  The second is Kurt Lewin’s 3-stage change model.

High Value Communities in the NHS

Julian Stodd researched on high value communities in the National Health Service, UK.  He discussed his findings with Jo Cook on The Training Journal podcast.  I share some thoughts on implications of these findings for enabling Communities of Practice. My Daily Dispatch about the use of shadow technology also relates to Julian’s research.

Putting Screws Into Plasterboard

A highly practical skill that has saved me hundreds of dollars on handyman services.  (Should that be ‘handyperson’?  Doesn’t have the same ring to it.)

Your Turn

What about you?  What is something you’ve learned recently?  How have you been learning?  What group activities do you build learning into or see it as an incidental outcome?

What could you share with others?  (Nudge for all the leaders reading this – sharing your learning with your team is a great way to role model and encourage continuous learning.)

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What I Learned This Month – August 2018

Using Personas in My Work

I’ve noticed that I’m using personas, especially the empathy mapping component, more frequently and fluidly in my work.  I posted a daily dispatch about this in late August.  I often share this introduction to empathy mapping with others if they are curious or I want to use the tool with them.

Use of an Online Collaboration Tool

I recently project managed the refresh of the Learning and Performance Institute’s Learning and Development Capability Map (yeah – it’s a mouthful – #LPICapMap rolls off the tongue easier).  The updated Map will be live in October 2018.  Our process evolved during the project and we realised that we needed to engage experts and leading practitioners around the globe to write or update skill descriptions.  We had a limited timeframe for our 40+ volunteers to produce their deliverable.  I set up a Slack group and added a channel for each working group.  I’m convinced that using this tool was critical to enabling the working groups to effectively work together under tight deadlines, and we would never have me the deadline if we had used email alone.

A Quiz a Day

This is a non-work example of learning as a by-product of an activity that has many other purposes – amongst them a bit of family fun.  I recently stayed with my parents overnight.  My 92 year old grandmother lives with them.  After dinner every evening my mum gets the daily quiz from the newspaper and whoever is there joins in answering the questions.  It’s great with social bonding, helps keep my grandmother’s brain active, and we all get to learn a little something and feel closer in the process.  Thank you Mum!

Your Turn

What about you?  What is something you’ve learned recently?  How have you been learning?  What group activities do you build learning into or see it as an incidental outcome?

What could you share with others?  (Nudge for all the leaders reading this – sharing your learning with your team is a great way to role model and encourage continuous learning.)

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What I Learned This Month – July 2018

To encourage others to learn continuously a leader can role model what this looks like.  A simple way to do this is to follow in the footsteps of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadell – create and share a monthly ‘What I Learned’ video.  I’ve added this practice to my ongoing learning routines, and have created my first monthly video.

My three lessons for July 2018 and associated resources are summarised below.

Strategic Procrastination

I’ve been reading Originals by organisational psychologist, Adam Grant. In chapter 4 of this book and his TED Talk titled ‘The surprising habits of original thinkers,’ he outlines research undertaken by one of his students into the link between procrastination and original thinking.  This research helped me to recognise and improve a pattern in my own creative work where I work on something for a short period, then put it aside and pick it up again closer to the deadline.  I find that in the interim I’ve gained new insights and am able to generate and synthesis ideas into a better quality output.  I can now deliberately use this insight in my creative process.

Working with Experts to Define Skills

I’ve been working on a project to refresh a Capability Map to define the skills required by a Learning and Development professional or function.  I’ve noticed that it can be challenging for people with deep expertise to clearly identify and describe the skills required in their domain.  In the video I describe a questioning technique I used to guide an expert to achieve this.

Impact of Tracking My Time

I’ve started tracking my time using an app called Toggl.  Tracking my time has improved my focus and reduced distractions.  I’ve found Toggl easy and relatively unobtrusive to use.

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