Podcasts for Learning & Development Professionals

I find podcasts an interesting and easy way to stay abreast of trends and developments in Learning and Development (L&D).  When scrolling through episodes of one of my regular podcasts recently I noticed a “You Might Also Like” feature on the Podcast app which suggested other podcasts that I might be interested in.  This has nudged me to expand my listening menu.  I’ve subscribed to the set below (some old favourites, mandy new) and am listening consciously to several episodes of each podcast with the intent of writing a review.

I started this process about a week ago and have two immediate observations.  The first is that it’s easy to identify ‘hot topics’ in the industry as they are being covered by different podcasts.  These topics include Virtual Reality, curation and xAPI.  The second is that a varied listening diet is healthy.  Although there may be some common topics, each podcast brings different perspectives to it based on the people who feature on the podcast and the style or tone of the show.

Please let me know if there are other L&D podcasts you like to listen to so I can try them out too.




My Learning Plan for #LT17Asia

I’m attending Learning Technologies Asia conference in Singapore 7-8 November 2017.  Part of mypreparation for any conference is to set goals and make  some lists to help me get the most out of the conference.

This is my first conference in Asia, and I will be speaking as well as chairing two sessions. These factors open up some additional opportunities for me at #LT17Asia to meet and learn from people I would not normally be in contact with, as well as deepening existing relationships. When I prepared my lists I noticed that my goals and opportunities are influenced by my recent work, especially the Learning Technologies Review I conducted for a client, as well as projects I’d like to tackle in my own business.


  • Deepen my knowledge of learning technologies, building on the recent Learning Technologies Review I completed for a client
  • Get ideas for content curation strategy for my business
  • Discover new case studies and examples of good practice
  • Find something helpful to share with each client I have worked with in 2017
  • Share session notes via Twitter backchannel and my blog
  • Make a video about the conference
  • Trial conference action plan template from Arun Pradhan’s Learn2Learn app


  • Build my network in Asian region
  • Connect effectively with 20 new people on LinkedIn
  • Get to know other speakers, especially panellists
  • Learn about being a digital nomad from Ant Pugh
  • Discover something new about other attendees that I already know
  • Informally mentor someone who is attending from a client organisation


  • Be of service as chair for Helen Blunden’s session on curation and host of panel discussion on enterprise learning
  • Provide participants in my Working Out Loud (WOL) session with a clear understanding of the benefits of WOL, practical examples of what it looks like and approaches to getting started with WOL in their organisations. Help them to identify at least 3 specific actiins they will take on WOL after the session
  • Attend sessions I’ve selected, make great notes and share them via Twitter and blog


  • Talk to any VR and AR exhibitors about learning solutions they’ve developed
  • Find out which exhibitors are using xAPI and how
  • Find platforms that use adaptive learning and understand the underlying mechanics
  • Enter all competitions and pick up giveaways for my daughter

Oh, I also want to swim in the infinity pool at Marina Bay Sands, and eat chilli crab.


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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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Learning To Learn – Easier than Ever with Learn2Learn

Arun Pradhan has recently released the Learn2Learn app.  I was excited when I trialled a development version of this app a couple of months ago, and felt this same excitement today when I downloaded the released version to my phone.  Please note that I have no commercial interest in this product. I am encouraging people to use it because sound learning skills are vital to thriving and I believe this app is a high value tool to help people to be more powerful learners.  I’ll be using it to improve my learning skills and habits – and expect to blog about what I’m learning when ‘nudged’ by the app.


Here’s a testimonial I’ve sent to Arun:

Continuous learning holds the key to staying abreast of change, identifying opportunities, adapting, and taking control of our careers.  Most of us could be more powerful learners.  Perhaps you need to improve your mindset, learning skills and techniques, take specific actions or develop better habits to boost your personal learning. The Learn2Learn app addresses all these aspects in a crisp, clear, concise and actionable way.  The beautiful visual design and easy-to-use interface make this app a joy to use. There is considerable flexibility in how you explore the content and lots of options for practical application.  With the additional references for deeper learning, and encouragement to share your learning with others via social media and an online community this app will fuel your learning on an ongoing basis, regardless of your domain.  The Learn2Learn website describes it perfectly as “a course, coach and cheat sheet in your pocket.”  Get this app, use it, stretch yourself and see yourself grow.  This is an awesome investment in yourself and your career.

Would love to know what others thing of this app.

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Use Data to Start Conversations

I attended a vibrant webinar today where Laura Overton presented a high level overview of the first Towards Maturity regional benchmark study of Learning and Development (L&D) in Australasia.  The webinar was hosted by the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD).  I’ve compiled the tweets from the webinar (via Storify) if you want to get a flavour for key points.  Keep an eye out for the webinar recording to be posted by AITD.  Even better – download the report from the Towards Maturity site.

Early in the webinar Laura made the statement “Use data to start conversations.”  I’m not sure if she was trying to encourage the webinar participants to get active in the chat box – I don’t think she needed to as the group were already exchanging views, and the conversation picked up even more as the webinar progressed.  In the coming week as I read and think about the data in the report I’ll post about the findings and invite others to join in discussion about the data.  I expect that LinkedIn will be a good place to do this.

Today I’m thinking more about the use of data to start conversations and some of the ways I’ve seen this done recently.  Those who follow my Working Out Loud page and Twitter account will know that I have used the Towards Maturity benchmarking process and tool in my work at both Coca-Cola Amatil and Qantas.  I have also encouraged other L&D practitioners to complete the benchmarking in order to reflect on their goals, strategy, results and practices and inform action.  Of course, to turn data into action requires conversation in order to gain insight from the data.  One of the interesting conversations we had at Qantas as a result of benchmarking was to compare maturity of tactics used by different L&D teams and ask ‘what are the teams doing differently from each other, why, and how could we improve our practices’ (i.e. what can we learn from each other).  If you’re curious you can read more about what Qantas learned from benchmarking.

We also used the Learning Landscape Audit at Qantas – a ‘learner voice’ survey that provided insights into things like what and how people were learning, how they wanted to learn, use of technology in work and learning.  One piece of data that has started many conversations was that over 65% of the 1,400 Qantas employees who completed the survey use their own devices to access resources for work and learning.  This greatly exceeded expectations, particularly for workforce segments such as baggage handlers.  It opened up conversations exploring what this means for the delivery of performance support and learning solutions.

Of course, if you have an LMS you have lots of data you could probe into and look at from different angles.  For instance, what’s the average attendance at your face to face learning sessions?  What if you were to find that you had courses being delivered face to face where the average class size was less than two people (yes, this is a real example).  This sparked some discussions about why this is the case and what could be done differently.

Two weeks ago, during the conduct of a learning technologies review for a client, I familiarised myself with xAPI. The real value in using xAPI is the opportunity to transform data about work and learning into a common language and analyse it to gain a wide range of insights including what top performing people in a role do differently in both their work and learning, and what learning interventions actually make a different to workplace performance. I have become very excited about xAPI and they potential insights we can gain using it and the opportunity to embed more learning into the workflow.  Imagine if you could gather evidence of compliant behaviours through analysis of people’s work instead of pushing lots of people through mandatory recurrent training and assessment to demonstrate compliance.  Of course, a lot of conversations would be required with stakeholders around the data in order to get to this point.  So, I’ve digressed a little here -> this is my ‘half-baked’ Working Out Loud space after all.

If I’ve aroused your curiosity about xAPI, here are a couple of introductory resources that I found helpful:

Is it time to move from SCORM to xAPI – from Workstar (download their White Paper on xAPI while you are on their site)

Change your life with data: an introduction to xAPI – from Kineo

Would love to hear from others about how they are using data to start conversations (not restricted to the domain of Learning and Development).



Learning Design and Development Toolkit

As part of the Learning Technologies review that I’m undertaking for a large corporate I’m compiling a toolkit for use by learning design and development team.  To identify the type / category of tools to include in the kit and examples of specific tools that could be used I’ve used the following sources:

  • Tools already in use in the decentralised Learning and Development teams across the organisation
  • Top 200 Tools for Learning 2017 published by Jane Hart at the Centre for Modern Workplace Learning
  • Recommendations from people in my network

The list I’ve compiled for further research is below.  This list is reasonably long and some of the tool types would not be required by all organisations.  This depends on the delivery methods and type of content that the organisation wants to use .  Other factors in the organisational context may create specific needs e.g. examination management to met regulatory requirements in aviation.  However, the list should provide a reasonable starting point against the generic needs of a corporate learning design and development team.

What do you think of this list?  What would you change on this list?  Is there a type of tool or a specific tool that you suggest be added to the list?




Requirements List – Learning Technologies

Last week I posted about a review of learning technologies that I am doing for a large corporate organisation. At that time I was developing requirements and scope for the review, which aims to develop a high level three year plan for learning design and delivery technologies.  I’ve now finalised a list of requirements for the review.


The purpose of these requirements is to guide:

  • selection of technologies to include in review, and
  • evaluation of feasibility and benefits of technologies.

I drafted the requirements by reviewing outputs of workshops held a couple of months ago that focussed on (a) internal customers of Learning and Development (L&D), and (b) current and future learning solution approaches.  From these a set of requirements could be derived that would meet current and future customer needs, and also enable preferred approaches to learning solution delivery into the future.  These draft requirements were reviewed in a short workshop with people from Information Technology and a small group of L&D Leaders.

The final set of requirements is listed below, noting that for each item on the list a short (1-2 sentence) statement was written to describe the requirement.  In the workshop we recognised that the requirements list could be used as an ongoing set of requirements when new technologies or tools were being considered in the future.

  1. Compliance
  2. LMS interface
  3. Governance
  4. Efficacy
  5. Cost-effective
  6. Timely
  7. Sustainable
  8. Scaleable
  9. Adaptable
  10. Flexible
  11. Solution standardisation
  12. Technology configuration
  13. Content re-use
  14. Rebranding
  15. Bite-sized and modular
  16. Realistic environment
  17. Engaging
  18. End User experience
  19. Efficient administration
  20. Vendor support
  21. Obsolescence
  22. Development pathways
  23. Five moments of need
  24. Workplace learning
  25. Performance support
  26. Change communication
  27. Navigation
  28. Collaboration
  29. Social learning
  30. External sources
  31. Self-directed learning
  32. Professional development
  33. Accessible
  34. 3rd party access
  35. All-site access
  36. Chokepoints
  37. Inclusivity
  38. Network performance
  39. Security protocols
  40. IT enterprise principles
  41. Multi-timezone support
  42. Availability
  43. Offline functionality

I’m interested to hear if anyone else picks up this list and uses it  in their organisations, and also if there are additions you would suggest.

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30 Day Creativity Challenge – Join In #30dcreativity

Peer support and accountability is a great mechanism for working towards a goal or developing a habit.  I was introduced to the 30 Day Challenge format by Shannon Tipton of the Learning Rebels when she ran a 30 Day Brainstorm Challenge in mid 2016.  I enjoyed producing a video (almost) every day for 30 days ‘exposing thoughts that were sleeping in the back of my brain.’

Recently I’ve been reading books that explore creativity and the things that get in the way of us being creative.*  This has led me to examine the things that get in the way of me doing more creating.  In my case writing, including blogging, and video production are my preferred forms of creativity.  I’m ready to smash through the excuses and form a daily habit.  If you really want to create more (in whatever form this takes for you), the key is to make it a priority, set aside time, and do it.  Trust that with regular time and volume the quality of work and enjoyment will come.

So, the 30 Day Creativity Challenge is starting on Monday 9 October 2017.  Anyone can join in from anywhere in the world.  This is an action-oriented challenge.  To participate you simply do something creative every day and either post what you created (or a photograph or video of it) online, or post about what you did.  Share your post on Twitter or Facebook with the hashtag #30dcreativity in your post so others who are participating see it and can comment and cheer you on.

You get to decide what it is you will create, and there are no boundaries on what constitutes a suitable creative activity or product.  It could be writing, photography, video, cooking, gardening, a new way of doing something, a piece of software code or a bot, a song ….  endless possibilities.  You can create something different every day, or do the same / similar activity throughout the challenge.  Make it work for you.

If you miss the start date of 9 October, just join in whenever you can.

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Five Moments of Need and Learning Technologies

I’ve just started work on a review of technologies for learning design and delivery for a large corporate organisation.  The output of this review is a high level 3-year technologies implementation plan.

One of my first steps is to prepare a set of requirements that the selected technologies should meet.  I also wanted to frame some generic use cases that could be used to help select and screen a suite of technologies.  The 70:20:10 framework may have been adequate for this purpose.  However I was concerned that it may limit the range of technologies considered.  Instead I’ve used the “Five Moments of Need” model described by Bob Mosher and Contrad Gottfredson, in their 2011 book, Innovative Performance Support.  The authors summarise these moments in an eLearning Industry article as:

1.  New: Learning something for the first time

2. More: Expanding knowledge of what has been learned.

3. Apply: Acting upon what has been learned. This can include planning, remembering, or adapting.

4. Solve: Using knowledge to solve a problem in a situation when something didn’t work out as expected.

5. Change: Needing to learn a new way of doing something. This requires giving up practices that are comfortable for practices that are new and unknown.

Image Source: http://oustlabs.com/microlearning/micro-learning-for-workplace-training/

Mapping Technologies to the Five Moments

Below is my initial mapping a range of learning technologies against the five moments.  I’m sure that this mapping will be refined as I work through the review and consider more specific use cases and delve further into technologies that I’m less familiar with.

Notes on mapping:

  1. The technologies are not mutually exclusive e.g. video may be used as part of eLearning, virtual online sessions or social learning.
  2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a label that seems to be applied to a range of functionality from basic automation of processes to more sophisticated adaptive and personalised learning.  I need to clarify what forms of AI are in scope.

Initial observations on mapping

The map points out the relative inflexibility of eLearning and Learning Management Systems across the range of moments of need.

I’m sure that there are some boxes that could be marked with a cross in the table, even if a little creativity would be required to use them to meet a specific moment. Even so, there are a lot of crosses entered, suggesting that some of the technologies are very versatile.   To ensure that the mapping assists in discriminating between technologies I may update it to highlight the moments that each technology is particularly strong in meeting.

Your thoughts?

I’m curious about whether others have a different view from that shown below as to whether / how a technology can be used for different moments of need.

I’m also open to questions you may have that I could potentially answer as I undertake this review.

I look forward to your thoughts in comments against this post.



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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