October 21, 2012

Breaking new ground

You may have been wondering about the future of L&D as it’s a fascinating subject and a hot topic at the moment. I was looking forward to sharing thoughts and experiences around my own journey and hearing and discussing other peoples’ ideas. I was also excited by the prospect of being able to talk about the DPG Online Community for the first time. This is the first blog that mentions the DPG Online Community in any depth but it is something that has quickly become central to what we can provide for you to support your development. There will be lots more blogs to follow on the community as it provides so many things and we’re keen to share the journey we’re on including the successes, challenges and things we’re learning along the way. As the leading CIPD qualifications provider in the UK, we believe it’s important for us to break new ground, to role model and to share.

We’ve been listening to our customers on how to improve our programmes and offer something unique that adds real value. We’ve been developing and building the community for a number of months and we have now reached the point where it is a key part of our CIPD and ILM programmes.? In fact we’ve made it part of everything we do as it’s such a valuable tool and from the feedback, we’ve received from our students it is clear it adds tremendous value to the learning experience. It gives you the opportunity to become part of a professional Community of Practice (CoP) and to use social tools to enhance your learning experience.

So what is it?

The DPG Online Community is an online social network that connects you with other professionals, your facilitators and your fellow group members.? It is an open network that allows you to connect with facilitators and each other before, during and after your qualifications or programmes. You don’t even need to be a customer to join; we believe we’re creating a community of talented L&D and HR Professionals and with over 600 members it’s become the fastest growing professional network in the UK and already there is a wealth of networking opportunities and access to expertise available.

What it isn’t!

It is not a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), it is not just a tool or a technology. It is a community based around PEOPLE, CONNECTIONS and RELATIONSHIPS.? It is a space for collaboration and communication and whilst this may be new for some, it is an opportunity for you to become part of something unique that supports your professional development. It is something that will help you to develop your confidence and capability in using social technologies and allow you to benefit from them first hand. We believe that the knowledge and skills that the community will develop are key skills for HR and Learning Professionals in the 21st century workplace.

How do we do this?

The community platform provides the ability for you to connect with other members and to become members of public, general interest or private groups.? This enables us to provide a unique experience throughout a qualification programme as the groups and wider community provides the conditions that support informal learning 24/7. It isn’t just an add-on or after thought the way in which we use the community is deeply embedded throughout your learning experience. The community features include:

???? Personal profile page
???? Discussion forum
???? Status updates and comments
???? Blogs
???? Videos
???? Groups (private and public)
???? Access to online resources
???? Online instant chat > bi-weekly community chats are held on a variety of subjects
???? Free webinars are delivered on a range of topics

An important role within the community is the role of the dedicated community manager (or nurturer) but equally important is the role of our facilitators. The way in which they have embraced and used the community themselves has been hugely important in helping others see the community being used and therefore use it themselves.

Why is the DPG Online Community important?

In my talk on L&D: Looking to the Future I champion the need to change workplace practices to incorporate social tools and technologies. This might not seem particularly new or innovative but the difference between talking about it and doing it in my experience is massive.? The thing that excited me about joining DPG was the opportunity to develop and build a community of practice that would support CIPD Qualification programmes and fundamentally change how people could study for a qualification, get access to information and connect with their peers to share and collaborate. It’s as much about behaviour and culture change as anything else.

By using this approach not only are DPG breaking new ground in terms of approaches to L&D and HR CIPD qualifications but we are raising awareness of social networks and collaborative technologies to people new to the profession as well as existing practitioners. We can influence your perception of the tools and demonstrate how you can use these tools in a positive way that then builds your skills and confidence to go and use these tools in your own workplace. It’s powerful stuff and an exciting journey to be on. Watch out for the next instalment and any comments or thoughts are most welcome.

 

 

You can become a member of the fastest growing professional network in the UK and sign up for the DPG Community here. If you’re interested in learning more about completing a CIPD qualification in the future then call us on 0330 660 0220 or email CIPD@dpgplc.co.uk and we’ll be more than happy.