With Vanessa North (MC), Sunder Ramachandran and Mara Tolja

I’m at the Learning At Work Conference in Sydney for two days.  I’m looking for ideas that I can put into to action to improve performance in my organisation.  I aim to find at least one idea out of each of the sessions I attend,at Learning At Work – one thing I can apply to improve learning in my organisation.  That I haven’t included an idea from a specific presenter does not mean they did not have interesting content with good ideas – just nothing that immediately struck me to take back to my organisation and apply (so don’t be upset if you are a presenter and I haven’t mentioned you here…..).

Theme – From these first two presentations the theme of being BOLD emerged, which David Mallon characterised as being creative and not being held to past practice.  The things that captured my attention in subsequent presentations were those where people had taken bold action, anchored in data, sound analysis and design.

Idea #1 – Improve how I use data to drive decision making e.g. where to focus L&D team resources to have biggest performance impact.  From David Mallon, Head of Research, Bersin by Deloitte “Leading in the New World of Work”.  David’s presentation drew on Bersins 2015 Global Human Capital trends research.  When people in my business request a learning program or initiative I ask them “How will you know in 12 months time if this initiative has been successful?  Are there any KPIs we can track?”  In many cases it’s difficult to get straightforward answers to this question.  Recently I spoke with our business unit Commercial Manager about tapping into his team’s ongoing analysis of business performance to help identify specific performance gaps / opportunities that our L&D team can partner with stakeholders to address.  We agreed in principle – my action is to find out what relevant insights they already have and understand how these are currently shared and actioned within the business unit.  From there I will determine how I can use them to target our capability development work.

Idea #2 – Enable self-directed learning in my organisation – help people learn how to learn.  From Laura Overton, Managing Director, Towards Maturity “Driving performance in the knowledge economy – the secret sauce for today’s people professionals” and also the afternoon’s Social Learning panel.  The 2015-16 Towards Maturity benchmark shows that 83% of L&D leaders want to increase self-directed learning but only 22% are achieving it. “Top Deck” learning organisations are almost twice as likely to agree that self-directed learning is common practice in their organisations.  I’m going to look closely at the insights on self-directed learning in the 2015-16 Industry Benchmark Report that will be publicly released on 5 November to identify next steps to ensure my organisation is in this 22%.

Idea #3 – Introduce the Seek>Sense>Share Personal Knowledge Mastery Framework from Harold Jarche.  From Clark Quinn, Executive Director, Quinnovation, in the Social Learning panel.  Clark introduced this as one approach to self-directed learning that some people may choose to adopt if it were introduced to them.  Having found tremendous value in this framework for my own learning I’d like to figure out how to introduce it to others in my organisation.

Idea #4 – Use customer experience techniques to explore voice of the learner.  Daisy Hoffman, NBN, “Case Study. The intersection of digital workplace technology, culture and the physical environment.” In the face of disappointing makeup of workplace technologies NBN used customer experience techniques such as data analytics, focus groups, visioning workshops, personas, ride-alongs and use of technology to connect with people in remote areas in order to understand why this was the case.  Laura Overton had discussed the importance of voice of the learner, and I know that we could do a better job at turning up the volume and listening to this voice in my organisation.  Daisy provided some ideas as to how we can do this.

Idea #5 – Assess proficiency on an ongoing basis.  From Sunder Ramachandran, Head of Sales Training, Prizer, “Leveraging mobile learning and gasification to boost performance.”  Proficiency is fluid; it changes on an ongoing basis and is better measured on an ongoing basis rather than at a single point in time.  The mobile learning app that Pfizer have developed for use by the Sales team includes a monthly proficiency assessment consisting of a combination of 40% quiz completion (2 quizzes, best score of 3 attempts for each) and 60% coaching observation of workplace performance.  In my organisation we currently assess proficiency on the job at a single point in time.  I’d like to explore how we could introduce recurring / continuous proficiency assessment.

Note – the Pfizer case study was very rich.  It showcased an ingenious mobile app based on consumer models, which provide learning for the sales workforce in their workplace context.  I’ve picked one idea that I can implement independent of a mobile solution.

I’ve added to this list with my Day 2 Takeaways / Ideas.

For other Learning at Work attendees – what ideas have you gathered to take back to your organisation and try?

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