Blog: Reinventing learning and development

Technology and new schools of thought are fueling a learning and development revolution. Angela Atkins of Elephant HR shares her thoughts on the future of the practice.

Blog: Reinventing learning and development
For thousands of years learning didn’t change much. A teacher who had all the knowledge would stand and lecture and impart what they knew to their students or write a book (or parchment) about it. This Aristotle model stayed put and still worked until recently. However, in the last 20 years the traditional style of learning has been completely blown out of the water.

The internet, technology and a new generation of employees who have always been connected have completely transformed how people learn.

One of the areas that we’ll explore at the HR Game Changer Conference is the revolution and evolution that’s been happening in L&D. Even if you’re not in a learning role, for every HR person who has some responsibility for growing and developing managers or employees – this is where you need to expand your toolbox and thinking to really deliver results that will change behaviours.

Because these are some of the things that are happening now:

•    There is a computer programming school in France which has no teachers, no textbooks and no curriculum. The 800 students are given assignments that increase in difficulty, and they have to discuss with each other, research on the internet or through talking to experts, and solve each assignment themselves. This self-directed learning approach has worked so well, they are months ahead of students learning programming in the traditional style.
•    MOOCS (massive on line learning courses) now see thousands of people around the world completing a course through live streamed lectures, videos, on line discussion groups and assignments. 
•    Cloud collaboration tools for process mapping, brainstorming, sorting ideas or working on projects mean that global teams around the world can work together in different time zones, learn from each other without having to have team meeting or training sessions and can achieve amazing results.
•    Contact centres are using gaming technology concepts so employees can choose what they want to learn and when. When training is completed, badges are earned (just like playing a game) inspiring more development.
•    Open space meetings are being used by some of the most innovative companies. These meetings don’t have an agenda, participants sit in a large circle (up to 2,000 attendees in some meetings) there is a bulletin board of issues posted by participants and a market place with breakout spaces to discuss the issues. In a similar vein, unconferences are a new movement where there are no speakers or agenda, just topics and sharing.
•    World-wide hacks get thousands of people together to hack apart a process and then put it back together and learn from each other. 
•    People are using social media to build communities, share articles, discuss issues and more.

This is far more than introducing e-learning in your business. There are entirely new ways that you can develop and train your teams. Even the most long-established universities are recognising that using flipped learning is a more effective way for students to learn (where students read the lecture before they come to class, then in class actually discuss the topic) and some are now bringing in industry experts, rather than just having academics teach.

So these are some of the things we’ll explore in the Learning Revolution mini-conference. If you’re attending, you’ll hear about the following:

•    Amanda Sterling and Tash Pieterse will tell the #nzlead story – how they have created a community via social media that learn, share and grow in completely new ways.
•    Evana Lithgow from Working Minds will take you through how to develop capability plans for your business that will achieve amazing results.
•    Ingrid Hood from Spark has used a variety of new learning tools to train hundreds of sales people and managers and has the tricks of the trade you need to know. With the technology choices available, these no longer need to cost you much.
•    Stephen Knightly helped a government agency create an app that taught core skills in new way and will take you through how to use gamification principles.

Are you up for it?

If you’re thinking about whether your business is ready to reinvent it’s L&D, have a think about these factors:

-    Are you up to date with the new L&D innovations and have seem them in action so you know how they work (eg trying out a MOOC, going to an unconference, using social media for development or learning about them all)?
-    Do you have lots of Gen Y employees who want to use technology for training?
-    Do you have budget issues and can’t afford to provide only facilitated workshops?
-    Are your managers in different locations so need to have different ways to share ideas and collaborate and learn?
-    Are some of your training area soft skills that you want to tap into your high EQ employees to help others learn?

If you answered yes to most of these, then it’s probably time to revolutionise your L&D.

For more about the HR Game Changer Conference visit

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