April 27, 2018

Should you be using technology for learning?

This year’s CIPD L&D Show was the last in its current form. At the start of the annual event, held in London’s Olympia, the institute announced that next year the L&D Show will form part of a new event, the Festival of Work, which will run on 12-13 June 2019.

The new event will incorporate the L&D Show, the CIPD’s HR software show and recruitment show.

CIPD Chief Executive Peter Cheese says: “New business models and ways of working are drastically changing organisations and what makes them successful. The Festival of Work will be the ultimate celebration of people in the workplace, focusing on what makes us unique and the vital components that will drive a future of work that is truly human.”

Andy Lancaster, the CIPD’s head of learning content, says the move will help learning professionals get more exposure to the future of work and how integrates with other disciplines in the business.

In his session on using smartphones for learning, Lancaster shared a range of ideas on how to use phones for learning. These ranged from using them from search to consuming and creating video, producing a podcast for people to consume learning on the go to using them for attending webinars.

He also encouraged people to try out virtual reality apps. For example, the Virtual Speech app helps you to develop your public speaking skills.

To make the most of smartphones, organisations need to address the perception problem. That is that people use them at work to do non-work things. Lancaster says that organisations need to start seeing them as part of the solution. L&D also needs to build good relationships with the IT team to ensure policies enable the use of phones for learning. For all the positives, we also need to look at balancing this mobile, always on culture with the wellbeing of employees.

In a session on identifying the most appropriate learning technologies to support business performance, the panel was unanimous in its advice: understand the performance issue first before you decide which technology to use.

Adam Harwood, Development Partner – Digital, at online retailer ASOS, says his organisation carried out research to understand the motivations and habits of employees. ASOS found out that employees were motivated to do their job well and advance their career. Harwood says that once you know that employees want information and resources faster and on demand then it enables you to take a different approach.

For ASOS that means using a range of technologies to deliver resources in a variety of ways. These are all accessed through an internal website that reflects the look of the customer facing ASOS site. That’s important too, as employees are also customers.

As well as getting the technology right, L&D teams increasingly have to consider their brand and how they get their message across to employees.

In her session on enhancing your L&D brand, Rachel Kay, former managing director at Thales Learning & Development, told delegates to treat their learners as consumers and to develop a learning brand that really connects with them.

To do this, think about your audience and be clear on what they need from you. Use this to shape what makes your offering unique and how it adds value to their working lives. From a team perspective, you need to develop passion for your brand. Thales did this by running annual internal learning awards that showcased the best learning solutions in the company. These awards helped the L&D team feel more passionate about what they did.

Your learning brand also needs vision and leadership, the desire to continuously improve and a great communication and engagement plan. Social media provides a world of opportunity to get your message out to employees.

Away from the conference sessions there were two research reports launched that are worth checking out. They are the Open University Trends in Learning Report 2018, which will be available online soon. And the Towards Maturity report, In Focus: Driving Performance & Productivity.

Were you at the CIPD L&D Show? If so, tell us your highlights.