Making the Shift From Courses to Continuous Learning - a Conversation With Andy Lancaster

$370 billion. 

Nope - it's not the GDP of Singapore.  

It's how much you and other L&D leaders spent on training in 2019. 

I'd love to tell you that it was money well spent but truth is, it wasn't.

According to a survey by McKinsey, only 25% of respondents believed that training led to a measurable improvement in performance. 

And a mere 12% of employees applied new skills from L&D initiated training to their jobs. 

So we know that in many cases, courses don't work. 

But what how do we make that shift from courses to continuous learning? 
We asked Andy Lancaster - author of “Driving Performance Through Learning”  and the CIPD's head of learning.  

He recently joined our Chief Storyteller, Steve Dineen, on a webinar to answer the question. 

Here's what they talked about: 

  • How to break free from our addition to courses
  • Working back from organisational goals 
  • Why collaboration is vital and how to make it really work
  • Why L&D teams must be transformed in the organisational ecosystem

This episode 👇 is the recording of that webinar and it's packed with guidance, tips and insights! 


Here are some of my favourite parts from the conversation 👇🏼

  • [10:30] "We need to have a far more agile way of designing learning through a minimum viable proposition; through iterative design to create great small solutions out of the workplace."
  • [12:00] "I stood back in writing the book and thought, what are the transformational things in my life which are really making a difference. And Spotify has been one of those. Spotify has really changed the way that I have music in the flow of life. And what was really great but incredibly flexible. It is incredibly accessible. I just love the way that it drives such an easy interface to use. It's collaborative. And what I'm going to propose to you is that in this new world, we need to move from formal courses to flexible, accessible, collaborative tailored learning. Which causes a step change in organisations."
  • [15:30] "We're not saying that the course is not relevant. I think where we need to be physically together it's absolutely right. It's just that so often we don't use the physical time together for the most important things."
  • [21:07] "What we've got to do is to recognise the fragmented perception of learning needs. We somehow have to get around this. And the only way we can do this, is through really targeted performance consulting conversations."

Links We Love ❤️

Say hello 👋🏽 to Andy on LinkedIn or Twitter

Read Andy's book 📘Driving Performance through Learning
Check out this report 📒 Professionalising learning and development Here's the infographic if you're a more visual 👀 person 
Watch this 👇🏼 video for more on making the shift from order taker to order maker. 



*There’s a chance this transcript has a few spelling errors. I use a wonderful transcription tool called Otter to transcribe the audio. He's usually super accurate but he does get the odd word wrong. But please don’t hold it against him 😊

[Andy Lancaster] 

We're going to think about how you really shift learning and into the flow of work that's the thing, which has been really on my mind over the last year or so particularly thinking about the future of learning. 

‘Into the flow of work’ This phrase has been kind of hanging around L&D for some time, and there's been one or two particular thought leaders who've kind of gathered around is just burst in has been using this term in the flow of work, then you've got people like, Josh Bersin, who is making interesting comments, like, learning is work and work is learning, which kind of sounds right. I'm not sure all work is learning, but there is this sense that in actually doing the job, that's where we learn. 

So I guess the reason for writing the book and what I'm going to share with you in the time we've got today was I kept get asking in going and delivering a conference have you got anything around how we can do this shift to make it less dependent on courses and more about how do we deliver learning in a natural set in the workplace. 

And I was kind of giving PowerPoint decks away those kinds of things, then it just got to the point, I thought this is time to write this down. So yeah, I guess a bit of a shameless plug. This is the book Driving Performance Through Learning. And this is all about how do you move from a dependency on courses, to the point where the natural approach to learning and the natural DNA and thinking in the organisation is that learning just occurs in what we're doing? what we will still go on courses, there's still a place for those, that's not the necessarily go to and guess that the book has four sections. And that's important. So I'm going to do a little bit for each section during the hour with interactions with you. 

So the first one is if we're going to move into the flow, what we need to understand the organisational landscapes changed massively. So organisations are very different. I'm going to do a little bit about how you can track some of those changes. And then there's some real sense about we've got to change the foundations for this because we've got so deep rooted foundations about doing things sometimes in an old paradigm. So I'm going to show you some of the essential foundations. And then we're going to think about new learning approaches. I'm going to cover one in particular, we're going to look around ‘Socialised Learning’. And obviously, the guys at Fuse are really on the metal on this, but we need to understand there's other things as well. And  I'll maybe drop some of those in things like coaching, peer coaching is back in voting  and we've seen that a raise that value (3:14) mistakes, curated content, obviously digital, so the way we're going to do learning is very different. And then lastly, as we kind of draw towards the end of the year, Just gonna throw a few ideas around what the redefined, L&D functions gonna look like because it will need to look different. And I'm going to give you some free ideas around what we're tracking at CIPD around some of those differences. So there's four kind of questions, we're going to look at why must we break free from an addiction to courses and addiction is a strong word. And we're going to use a strong word because there are addictions to delivering courses, then we're going to think around how we need to now start thinking about working backwards from the organisational goal. Some learning needs analysis, which, frankly, the broken methods and I'm going to give you some of the evidence around why learning needs analysis quite broken, then we're going to spend a good slack looking at how do we make collaborative learning really work. And then said at the end, I'm going to do some must do's in terms of the transformation of the team. 

So first of all, we're going to look at addictions to courses; I won't ask you in the chat window, what your addiction might be, because that's personal to you. But hey, you know, I drink lots of tea. In general life, there are things which become behavioural patterns for all of us, and what I guess my initial proposition is in organisations, there's no doubt in my mind that we have a sense of addiction to courses and this what we're going to just cover for a few moments there, thinking about why that will be a real challenge for us. I'm going to start with Lewis Carroll and Alice Through the Looking-Glass. These images are a little bit blurry here, but they're the originals and they are quite amazing and when you look at these and this is written in 1871 and Lewis Carroll was not regarded particularly as a futurologist, yes as an author, but he wasn't known for his visionary thinking, and yet he wrote this fantastic section called the Red Queen's race, and I'll just gonna read you a little bit. This is Alice speaking, She says, well, in our country, still panting a little, You generally get to get somewhere if you run very fast for a long time as we've been doing. And the Queen replies, a slow sort of country. Now, here, you see it takes all the running you can do just to keep in the same place. And if you want to get somewhere else, you got to run at least twice as fast as that.

[Andy Lancaster] 

And what I want to kind of throw in at the beginning, is this is moving faster now. And what we're seeing in learning development and obviously I had a privilege in my role to spend a lot of time globally with L&D teams looking in different sectors.  As what we're seeing is that people have this sense that we're running fast now, but we may not seem to be getting where we need to be. And that's a real challenge for us. And what we do in CIPD is we tend to view the landscape through three lenses, which are work, workforce, and workplace. So I'm just going to show you some of the changes which we're tracking here. So, work itself is changing. models have been disrupted everywhere. You know, it doesn't matter what sector you're in, there are changes to the way we're actually doing work and business. And in a sense of past achievements, the things we used to do no longer guarantees those kinds of successes. So we've got to be thinking differently; With data now, intuition counts for little, the days when you just had a hunch, and that drove your business model, you know, data insights, all those kinds of things. It's very clear that we have a very different way of working and we have a much more rapid response now. So in many organisations, where slow delivery was acceptable. Now most of us are getting a bit cheesed off if the post of delivery takes more than a day or so, so this is changing the very nature of the organisations in which we work. And again, you can see on the slide there, there's lots of things. We're recording the session, those of you who are joining us on the record, welcome to you as well. I hope you feel really part of what we're doing here. You know, you're kind of listening in on what's going on.

[Andy Lancaster]  

So work is changing, but also the workforce is changing massively. I'm not a great one for generational stereotypes. Yeah, that's a bit of bunk and to be honest with you, my mum is in her 80s now, and she's using tech quite happily. And we need to recognise that not all Millennials are tech savvy. But there is no doubt that we have a greater range of age groups in the workplace, people working longer, people entering earlier. And I think perhaps the key one to show you here is we have very different types of work engagement now full time, part time, flexible, shared, home working, the concept that we all as a workforce work in the same building that just isn't the case anymore. 

And there's evidence to show that things like performance management is changing, the expectations of staff are changing. One time salary was all you're looking for now we're looking for lots of other rewards. So the expectations are very different in the workforce and learning is one of those kinds of key things. 

And just to finish the three, the workplace is changing massively. So just have interest in the chat window. How many of you work from home at any point? Let's just have a few yeses and noes here. Let's just kind of get you all typing away. So look at this, this is crazy. And if we'd asked this question 10,15 years ago, it just wouldn't have been the case. So yes, most of us, nearly all of us. So you just work in a few days a week, Kirsten 90% of your time is working from home. So it just shows you the concept of running courses in buildings. It just doesn't work for us. In the same way now with such different workplaces and I was talking to the guys before we went live with you just saying I delivered a webinar not too long ago from McDonald's because I couldn't get home in time; my workplace was delivering a qualifications webinar with a cheeseburger. How cool is that? That was the workplace on the day. So what we've got is just a recognition that things lead to look different now. And I love this picture. I just got it from, I think it's from Pixabay from one of those great sites. It's Dream it, Believe it, Achieve it. There is a sense of it unless we have a different view about this. It's quite difficult now. I worked in rehab for about five years as head of HR and learning for one of the big rehab charities working with those suffering with substance misuse challenges, be that heroin, cocaine and alcohol, those kinds of things. And what we found was that the change model started with a very compelling vision of why things need to be different. It's very difficult to change ingrained habits which is why I use the word addiction, we alI know organisations often it's really ingrained in the way we expect learning is to going on a course we need to visualise it separately. 

So learning must kind of look different. And to that end, I think addiction to form of course, when I say addiction, we've got evidence from the CIPD where I am gonna throw a report I am linking in a moment, which shows that senior leaders, many senior leaders, if you ask them what their perception of learning is, they're still thinking around formal courses. And again, you might even have this in your scenarios, folks. That people might not think they've been on any learning unless they've been on a course and had a cup of tea and a brownie and lunch. So we have this kind of addiction to thinking in this way. And what we're seeing is it really affects the agility of learning. It's a slow process, designing and putting on formal courses. 

[Andy Lancaster] 

We've used models like ADDIE and Training Cycle, where often it's a kind of a linear process and it takes an awful lot of time to actually create a product which can then be of use and the concept of co-designing with stakeholders and all these kinds of things really slow us up. So I guess at the premise of learning in the flow of work and the book driving performance, what we're saying is we need to have a far more agile way of designing learning through a minimum viable proposition; Through iterative design to create great small solutions out of the workplace. 

And what we also see and here is a report here Professionalising Learning and Development. I think we've got the link, we can just drop that into the chat window. Thank you Imogen that's perfect. So this is a report I helped co-author earlier this year seems like an age ago, but we looked at the whole thing about professionalising learning and development, and it was quite a big sample, we looked at the kind of development needs that we as a profession need. I've gotten some challenge around even saying professionalising learning and development, someone said ‘what you could be in learning and development and not be professionals?’

I think you can. I think professionalism is about really embracing professional development and the kind of the new world so what's really interesting in this report, is that there was a vicious cycle which we spotted, where senior leaders who maybe expect courses, are then putting those expectations on the learning team who are delivering as order takers, they technically were being under pressure to deliver courses. And then you've got staff who don't think they've been in learning unless they have been on a course. And then the senior leaders don't think the learning team is particularly innovative because they're delivering courses and we found this terrible vicious cycle. So we've got to kind of break free from that one. 

Just to say, I stood back in writing the book and thought, what are the transformational things in my life?, which are really making a difference. And you know, Spotify has been one of those, I'm not particularly sharing that one as a promotion. But Spotify has really changed the way that I kind of have music in the flow of life. And what was really great but incredibly flexible. I can download if I've got Wi Fi, I can listen online, I can download all the songs which are useful for me. It is incredibly accessible. I just love the way that it drives such an easy interface to use. It's collaborative, I could look at what my friends have on their lists, and you can share other people's downloads and other people’s playlists. It is tailored, it even comes up with brilliant recommendations for me and It created a massive step change for someone who travels a lot in the way that I consume music in the flow of life. And what I'm going to sort of propose to you is that in this new world, we need to move from formal courses to flexible, accessible, collaborative tailored learning;

[Andy Lancaster] 

which causes a step change in organisations and for that the formal course struggles and see at uni are there some other options? So it's time to upgrade our guidance software recently driving up to a conference in Manchester and the car went a bit crazy and said I was offered a navigable road I wasn't. It's just that this new road wasn't on my software. And I guess, just to kind of close this section before we do some chat, I think for L&D teams, we've got to update our guidance software in many of the organisations that it isn't naturally putting us on a road which is about formal courses, but allowing us to think far more about great resources which can be accessed in the flow of work, self directed learning; 

Where learners have far more control and it does require a kind of a software upgrade. So the first kind of chatty bit, see if I guess this is where we can come in here. I guess it's a question from me to you guys is to Do you recognise it might be a strong word for you guys an addiction to courses that people are expecting this. And I guess, what are some of the key changes that are really impacting learning in your context?  

[Andy Lancaster]  

In the chat there, and some really good you guys incredibly fast at typing, which is just very impressive. But he says our staff are very academic and love conference courses, and combine that with technophobes. So I guess that Yeah, I've seen that one too, that actually, it's not only that we love our core conferencing course, that also we get a bit scared by some of the technology around this.

Yeah, David here we've got hit with over default of must attend the course but I Love this call this is calling, isn't it. But it's more about getting a restaurant, the everyday trudge of work as well as learning. And you know what that's going to be for some of you, that's going to be a massive challenge because this is almost as a rite of passage that we have the right to go on days away with a really nice lunch. And, you know, if you're going to go learning in the flow of work and change that culture that is a real challenge. someone's talking to you recently, which someone who's looking at kind of future said, you know, what, one of the challenges we're gonna have by air flight is that we all know that flying is really challenging in terms of global sustainability, but you know, what, all over the world managers and executives are collecting their air miles and getting their free holidays. So what you're saying here is there's an underlying thing within some organisations that it's kind of almost alright to do this, right? Because yes, it can be an emphasis on physical course. 

‘I work for a staff and volunteers of responding to difficult complex needs including suit suicide ideation’. Okay, so having worked in rehab for many years. There's a sense of being together. And I guess what I'm saying here is - I'm just trying to click on the name there to see who is Rachel. So Rachel, I think you're right here. We're not saying that the course is not relevant. I think where we need to be physically together is absolutely right. It's just that so often we don't use the physical time together for the most important things, when we could be doing learning in the flow of work.

But again, we're finding things like buddies and coaches are really cool around those. 

[Steve Dineen] 

And I think what you're saying, , which I think I'm in tune with, right? is that the course is no longer the centrepiece of learning design. So in the old way, whatever the problem was, the answer is you start thinking about the course first as the first thing that you do. Again, I think we are completely in tune with. It’s all there. It's probably changed. is probably more high value and it's been more discussion facilitation practice than it is delivery of knowledge. And what we're suggesting is the moving out of the knowledge base, that is, take time to build that knowledge, know that you could deliver in the classroom, then that knowledge piece could be forgotten by the time you want to apply it. 

[Andy Lancaster]  

Absolutely right. I think, absolutely spot on. I think that's where we're gonna see the value.And then Charles Jennings and the guys around this again, but what we're seeing is it's not, you know, it's not about the numbers. But what is a shift to say, how do we get to the 70? How do we create so in a sense, we're looking at models, and they are but models and fluid models, but they are models so useful is, how do we wean ourselves away from that?, so some really good reception. So thanks guys in the chat window that's been brilliantly good, and I'm just envying your ability to type without typographic errors in here, so thank you for that. That's great. So again, you might go back and scroll through some of the chat and some really, really interesting things. 

So I'm conscious I'm in the second section. Okay, so we've kind of established that courses have a place but this is not a default go to any but we've got to think about our initial reaction thought is that when learning is needed, it needs to be as accessible and close to the workplace as possible. So I guess in the second section book, a look around some of the things about Have you met some of the foundational changes and one of these is working backwards from organisational goals. And I'm going to show you in a minute a number of reasons and these are evidence based reasons why learning needs analysis just don't work often. Okay, doesn't mean they can't work. But our old traditional learning needs analysis is a pretty spent model. 

First, I just wanna say, often you see in organisations that there are fragmented views of defining what performance or learning need is. And if you've been around learning, as long as I have, even if you're new to this, I bet you found this, you go and talk to the leaders, they have one view about what the issues, the managers can have a different view, the staff who are often the ones who are trying to perform and do the job have a very different view as well. So you could have something where, you could have customer service challenges, you know, orders are slow. And maybe we've got customers complaining around this. And the leaders say we can’t have this kind of terrible customer service. And we need to do something about this. What we need is a management refresher to help all our teams to be really good in customer service. And you go to the managers, they say we're running with 20% vacancies right now. And we can't seem to recruit the right staff. And what we're doing is we're recruiting the wrong people who just don't stay. And the managers say it's not about our customer service skills. This is actually about a recruitment issue, which we need support with. And then you go and talk to staff and they say, Well, you know, There was a new IT system put in for customer service about six months ago and there was no adequate training for this. We just can't use the system adequately.

[Andy Lancaster]   

So I guess what we got to do is to recognise the fragmented perception of learning needs, we somehow have to get around this. And the only way we can do this, as we'll see in a moment is through really targeted performance consulting conversations. But first, I just want to take you through why I believe Learning Needs Analyses are a really weak area for L&D performance perspectives. I've just got some quick thoughts on this one, because again, in a moment, you're gonna have some general chatter, right. So this is why learning these analyses have not served us well. Firstly, they start with a learning lens. It's a Learning Needs Analysis. Therefore, when we start thinking about learning, the natural outcome is a self fulfilling prophecy. We end up with a learning solution and we cannot go into these kinds of situations necessarily thinking learning is the challenge or the solution. Often there are other performance things around this, which are the solution rather than thinking about some kind of learning need. Also, most organisations have incredibly complex ecosystems. And it isn't simply saying if we did this little bit of learning be that great digital learning or a course that we're going to fix it. What we're seeing is that really smart L&D functions are recognising that they're in a complex ecosystem. In many ways. This kind of takes us into the realm of organisational design and development as well, where we need to get beyond thinking about Learning Needs Analysis into more complex ecosystem analysis. And that's not difficult, but it just means that we need to look a bit wider. Also, there's just not enough analysis in Learning Needs Analysis, It is learning needs guesses, often.

So what we're seeing is now again, if we're really going to drive performance in organisations, and we're going to get learning into the flow, it needs a far more forensic approach, which I'll share in a minute, performance consulting conversations, at least move us forward on that one. So we've got to get a bit more analysis into thinking and trying to have hypotheses. What do we think is going on here? And what might be our solution? 

Also, key voices aren't heard, often the learners, the learner voice is very weak in the Learning Needs Analysis, we get second hand information from managers. Or someone has a guess at what's going on. And the reason we can't get to the staff is that they are too jolly busy to engage or be allowed to engage with us. So learning these analysis don't allow us to have the conversation often in the right place, which means we end up relying on subjective secondary sources - that are any of you have ever waited through a stack of appraisals, God been there, of course, because the performance appraisal will give us the insights into what the needs are, is a jolly subjective process. Anyway, most of us know that sometimes, you know, our appraisal is hardly rigorous in what goes on. So what we're then doing is we are then putting pretty huge weight on secondary sources and hearsay, when actually we need to get far deeper than that. And also valid data as a whole section of book looking at impact and data. But again, it's sometimes difficult to get some solid data around this and we'll see in a moment through performance consulting conversations, we can actually get to the data a bit more easily. And also, learning these analyses are sometimes incredibly slow.

[Andy Lancaster] 

We need to be diagnosing and turning solutions around really quickly. And in lots of organisations, it's weeks or months before we get a solution. So those are some of the reasons why I think the LNA often is really serving us poorly. So I think we've got a poll, we're going to launch here, where I'm going to get you a chance to recognise which weaknesses you think are things that you've come across. I think you could do multiple votes here. So time to click away, guys. You can see the poll has come up here. I'm not allowed to vote on this one. How undemocratic is that, but I'll trust you guys will represent us really well. But for me, I think probably for me, one of the key things is a lack of forensic analysis and something I have to think about in my own practice. So when we think we've got the votes in on this one, if you want to close that one up and vote away, and as you see what we think it's symptomatic in our organisations that witnesses about learning needs analysis. How are we doing on polls? Obviously, I can't see this. I'm just trusting you guys massively. How good to work as partners in this and we've never had a chance to do this before. So okay,Do you want to close the poll and let’s publish the results?, can you publish the results? That'd be brilliant. So, look, the top ones, key voices aren't heard. And we have not got valid data; It is so sad, more than half of you and thank you for your honesty, a saying in the way we do our learning these analysis in terms of drive performance, the key voices in the organisation are just not being heard. And data, this is a constant one. Sadly, we haven't got time to talk about data today. Maybe Steve, I can come back again another time and give some perception on that. But it's really important to recognise that learning these analyses is just a very broken process. 

Just before we have some more chat, when we wrote the Professionalising Learning and Development Report, It is really interesting. Quite shocking in some ways, 42% of leaders just over 40% of leaders didn't think the L&D team had enough business acumen or the business acumen that they’d expect. So what the leaders think the L&Dteam should have wasn't there. And what was really interesting 90% of the L&D folks in the survey, in the research said, we think this is an issue for us. So we've got to up the game on critical insight into organisations, both the leaders and staff can see that. So the way to get around this quickly to say is we start with the end in mind. We don't start with a learning thing. We look at what the clear business need and performance need is, and it's just a complete reversal of how we might historically have done this. And for that reason, what we need to do is use far more targeted consultative conversations. 

In the book, I distilled about six performance consulting models, and came up with about 20 questions. which you may want to have, by the side of the table when you're talking to folks, so I can't do all those now we don't have time. But the essence of this is you've got to get to the right people, you've got to meet the full ecosystem of who's involved with this. But what we need to do is probing diagnostic questions to really understand what the issue is, and to think far more systemically. And that takes us into some work by Joshua Rhett's, you can go and find this online, 702010 Institute, some of you have heard of this shift, we've got to go from the order takers, which are operational people up to that top right hand corner, which is around value creation, and value creation is where we're actually really influencing the bottom line of what's going on. So that's kind of just a reflective slide on that one. But Steve, I'll have a sip of water. Any thoughts of you, but guys, we've got to get in that top right hand corner where we're really creating value in the organisation.

[Steve Dineen] 

Yeah, and I think maybe what have you said, I think so. We talk the same language really which is maybe similar to that Charles is in here, how to L&D the normal role is his problem solvers. So I think we get to value crises by prioritising the problems that we can solve, and then understand and then ranking them by effort and value.

Often, for example, I think, now as we've learned this, we're obviously partnering, we do a lot of work directly with Charles and Charles yelled ‘what's called a proof of impact?’. So they go into organisations, into our clients, and spend their 20 - 30 days looking at often the sales area, which is, you know, the easiest one to have that boost inside and actually to prove measurable difference. And what they are gonna do is look at a role. Understand what the high performer looks like, understand what the normal behaviour looks like. Look at that delta difference and it's measurable. So you can easily measure that delta difference. And then, you've got your hypothesis, you've got that hypothesis that says, if we can shift the average the Delta medium, closer towards a high performer, we can measure that as an outcome and prove that value.

[Andy Lancaster]  

Yeah, I think that's Right, just looking at the chat window

Really interesting question from Divina here, and I think this is where the rubber hits the road. ‘How can we have consultative conversations in very large geographically dispersed organisations that are representative employee based?’

So I think there's about representative samples in large organisations getting to the right people. And with technology now there are ways of doing engagement activities with large dispersed organisations. So I think for me, the challenge around this, to me is actually asking the right questions is the starting place. What we're trying to do is to diagnose what people need, and this also involves, how do you think this might be best supported it? It may well not be anything to do with learning, but it has to do with learning. We might have an organisation who are just thinking, well, courses are great, but what we just need is a neat little bit of some micro video from the staff sharing best practice, great practice would be a really good thing. 

Vivi says that we work with personas based on massive research. So that's another great approach here where you create typical personas which help you to focus your thinking. So that's an interesting one, which is you would have to be a little bit careful with the personas, I think sometimes we drop into a whole new set of stereotypes. But I'm with you, Vivi. That gives us a chance sometimes to think about who we need to talk to. So persons, and yet, user journeys can be really important. So I guess, in this section, what we're saying is, we need to reverse the thing around. We don't come at this with a Learner Needs Analysis, thinking that learning is naturally going to be the solution. What we are going to do, we are going to talk to the people who really matter. And we find out what the issue is. And like I said, at the beginning of this section, with fragmentation, you can end up getting very different views as the old indian proverb about all these different folks engaging with an elephant and they will had different views because they all were kind of grabbing a hold of different bits of the elephant and that's what we get on this one. So what we're going to do is, to get away from a fragmented view here that this is what we need to actually say, what does the organisation truly need, even in a given situation? So again, you can find that report so he is a part of the team of 702010 Institute. And there's a free report you get online, I find it really helpful.

[Andy Lancaster] 

You know, this is not new stuff about being value creators. But there's some really nice thinking under there in that model, where you can actually see by how you move, and also just notice on there as well learning and teaching, You can be strategic but you're still not necessarily in a position where you have the gravitas or the leverage to do the actual, what's needed in there. So we need to recognise that we've got to get strategic on that top right hand corner. And thank you for the quick chat there as well. Well done on that one. That's absolutely brilliant. Yeah, go for it Steve. Yeah.

[Steve Dineen]  

We've actually done a video with Charles Jennings on the model . And so there's a two three minute video and we will share the link out for you.

[Andy Lancaster] 

That's perfect. And it just shows, you know, we're going to come on to the third section now, which is thinking about social collaboration. 

This is where it's so vital that we are in things like this. Why do you want to work at CIPD, I'll tell you why. Because actually being part of a massive professional network is really exciting. And this is where we share practice. So it's an important thing that we don't get isolated here. And we work with others. So having kind of talked about organisations changing, and we need to think about a new view of the organisation. And also we need to start back to front and we need you to think more about performance consulting.

The third section of the book is around some of the techniques you can use to get learning in the flow of work. And, hey, I've got a copy of the book in front of me on the desk and as I would have, but the kind of things that you can find in the book, I'm just gonna do social. In this next section. Leveraging digital is a no brainer, obviously we've got to look about digital techniques isn't going to help people to learn in the moment in the flow of work, but there's suffering for It means practice of hosting writing curating content, we seem to go a little bit stuck on curation. It kind of, we like the thought of it, but it's a bit more tricky. So curating content with purpose is in there. There's a whole section on supporting self directed learning, what does it mean to empower learners and to help learners to learn how to learn, which is a bit better, but we need to do that. I've revisited coaching, particularly in the sense of coaching in the moment with peers coaching each other, and also got a chapter now on learning from mistakes, which is one of the ones that was just in my head. And while we don't use mistakes, more in terms of helping people learn is a mystery but probably because often we blame cultures, but that's another story.

[Andy Lancaster] 

So we're gonna spend a little bit of time just thinking about social and how I think social collaboration is at the heart of learning in the flow of work. So this comes from Albert Bandura This is not new stuff. So Bandura said most human behaviour is learned observationally. you and I watch other people and we pick stuff up. So one form is an idea or new behaviours as a result of being in that socialised environment. So we learn from one another via imitation by role modelling, those kinds of things. And if we look at this, it's not that we suddenly found socialised learning in some massive like way, look what we found. This has been going on ad infinitum. So if you look in the top left hand corner there, I mean you'll see that In cave times, how did you learn how to hunt or make fire? The cave paintings quite show that there was a narrative in early communities, that socialised environment is how you learn how to do things. Then, you move on to the top right hand corner to guilds so you see particular trades had their own guilds were socially again they learn skills, they passed on expertise. bottom left hand corner anybody who thinks the fact that we are now working in coffee shops is something novel. We need to look back and see in the 17 hundreds coffee shops were where businesses were pioneered and great one here. You can see Johnson's coffee shop, the principal place of the city stockbrokers. Lloyds of London came out of a coffee shop.

So What we're seeing is historically, this has always been something. it's just that we're now waking up a bit more particularly because of the digital empowerment that we now have a socialised learning just to say Kids I mean, this is children just this is how they learn until we stick them in a formal classroom with a rigid curriculum, and then we just squeeze some of the learning joy of young people because of the way sometimes education works, and I can say that because I trained to the teacher and lectured in teacher training for a time although being going back a little bit we need to recognise this is a natural way of doing things. Now a little bit of research going back to Professionalising Learning Development that super report which you can get free of charge. What we find is that organisations that facilitate social learning in the flow of work are twice as likely to have learning flexibility and four times as likely to facilitate continuous learning. Thanks Imogene again for putting the link That's perfect I guess is a natural thing but what we are saying is if you want  flexible continuous learning then grasping the whole thing around socialised shared peer environments are absolutely vital and it is happening right now. It's just often under the radar. There is always a go to person in most organisations, who kind of will be sharing the knowledge and you just know you need to go and talk to them. If you're trying to do a pivot table, you know don't do the crummy e-learning. You know you go and talk to match and match is the one who knows how to do the pivot table.

Socially together over a cup of tea, you remind yourself so we know that socialised learning is really important. And what's really interesting in Jane Hart, if you haven't come across this you can Google, is Jane Hart does a nice piece of research around top learning tools so you have to be little bit careful because it's an online survey which tends to favour people a bit more online. Nevertheless, I just have a look at this within the top 15 Learning Tools once we start are socialised tools, socialised solutions. So what we're seeing now is the evidence is in it's across workplaces. education, socialised environments be that LinkedIn, Google Drive's WordPress or these kinds of things. We just give it to Microsoft Teams. 

[Andy Lancaster]  

This collaborative approach is really important for us. Just a few things before we have another chat, and here's some reasons why socialised learning I think does really work for us and this comes partly from Etienne Wenger’s Communities of Practice.  It really targets performance improvement. It's a laser, clinical laser way of supporting people and particularly supports learning in the flow, these things happen as we work and it really helps self directed learning.

So we're helping learners to really access and support their own needs. Again, it leaves digital connections which is probably why it's taking off so much now that we are connected while we've even been here; I ‘ve got my phone next to me. I have got messages coming in from people so that live digital conversations is happening. It helps also in a bit of formal learning. So if you want your formal courses to be very effective gather the social around it. 

Problem solving, another key part of learning is really supportive of this. And also, communities practices are really energised when we get this kind of socialised learning in place. So just to say on this one, I'm conscious of time, I'm just gonna ask you a question in the chat window. What do you reckon is the key benefit of socialised learning in your context?, if you could choose one thing. 

I think that ‘socialising’ would really support a benefit; Let’s have a look at your views here, why do you think a socialised peer environment is so crucial. well, let the guys talk. 

We'll have a quick chat Steve yeah .

[Steve Dineen] 

and I think there's two points, the benefits of social work as a standalone contract, ideally to bet those new habits because we are talking about the creation of new habits. Within organisations, lots of what we have found is to create those habits, is best to embed them into. let's say, your more formal programme so the program's onboarding which is a promo going to last for six weeks before you can therefore, force some of those new habits of social learning to happen inside of us. We've got many clients, when they've redesigned the programmes from out within that negative thinking in activities, which people don't get to think about don't think, should I, shouldn't I do this, and all of a sudden they're creating content they're collaborating online, because it's just part of their programme so I think there's the piece around how you can help create the habits.  

And in terms of measurement. I think there's two parts: one is social as a part of the wider programme so if you help them design a sales programme or customer services, social is part of that so you're not measuring it independently. And then secondly I think the other thing you probably can look at is social learning as a way to help with staff retention and attraction. 

So you have created a culture, because what social can do is connect people greater to the organisation. And those are looking really forward to when we meet up because I guess for English Heritage, you know, organisation, you recognise this somebody which stories in their head of people, those socialised as a tribe you know the campfire tribe, on a much wider network towards it. It's a type of thing that creates greater connections with the wider organisation.

[Andy Lancaster]

That’s absolutely spot on. I think that the power of narratives as a whole webinar in their storytelling isn't there. 

But guys, I'm not going to call them all out specifically, but have a look in the chat window. There's just brilliant stuff in here. 

Collaboration is big in there and sharing stories’ experiences. Nina says developing ideas to get this creativity linked into this. 

So this is really crucial that we understand that this is something that we need to go so brilliant observations and guys just have a scroll through them, but wanted to just highlight to you, it's weak around organisations, sometimes socialised learning communities, particularly online, are some of the most desolate places that you will find. I was working recently, with a major bank, and the learning manager just wilted back into their chair and says, ‘we set up this socialised environment, and the only people who are using it are the vegan cookery group’, and it was just like you could feel the pain. 

And I think what you need to do is go and work out what the vegan cookery finding this useful?, because they were sharing, and they were connected. So often we need to recognise that just dumping a solution to the organisation whatever that might be, and I'm not gonna mention product names, unless we as learning folks know how to structure around that they can be really desolate places. 

This is a piece of research from our research partners Towards Maturity who I'm sure you've heard of his report called Unlocking Potential. And just to show you here if you look at seven o'clock on here. So it's a bit complex my diagram, but simply the grey line around the edge of this kind of spider diagram, our priority skills you can see, facilitating socialised learning is a really priority one.


[Andy Lancaster]   

The red or the raspberry coloured lines, you can see those are the top 10% of learning organisations who are really still struggling with this if you look at the average organisation in blue, you can see it's really low. so we know the evidence would say we know this is good, but we're struggling. So just quickly I'm going to go through in the chapter around socialised learning and communities. I've got some models. again you gotta be really careful so please use this with care. But what I've done is, as going around organisations whenever I found an organisation who's got some momentum around this. I've just grabbed the ideas and what it came up with me as I began to kind of formalise some thinking around this.

There are seven C's I'm going to go through these really quickly, but seven C's, which I think are really fundamental to communities who really work. The first one you need a Cause or a Concern or something of that nature at the centre of this. You need gravity around this. People will only work effectively in learning communities if there's a passion to be there. So we cannot force people with the classic, that we sell a programme of some kind and we stick a community there, and there is not enough energy or gravity around that. 

So, we need to understand that there's got to be a ‘cause’ it could be customer service, it could be new managers, it could be you've just joined the organisation, but as learning professionals, understand that cause is really important. we need to make meaningful communities. Cultures are really important, every organisation has a culture, and social learning communities have cultures as well. We need to think about what we're going to embody in the culture. What we're going to promote. how we can encourage people to have trust, be open, those kinds of things. So don't assume. And the best way to get cultures established is not to talk about them, but to role model them. So the community itself role models a great culture. We then gonna think about conditions you need a great environment and that could be face to face in a really cool place where you can hang out. we tend to do this in museums in London with my team.

So, one of the best conversations we had was in the Turbine room at Tate Modern sitting on the floor looking up at the ceiling, it was the right conditions for a great conversation, but again it's in digital scenarios we need great community places where we can hang around. 

Cadence is a really interesting  word; Cadence comes from orchestras, It’s about rhythm, or cycling those of you as cyclists will know that cadence is how fast your pedals are going around. What I found is that communities do really well have some kind of sense of cadence. People know the rhythm of the community for both informal and formal interactions. So, I'm in your various communities. I know when we get together and that's really important. 

Next one is Content, great communities seed brilliant content. So sometimes you just got to keep the content in there really good provocative things that people chat about, and particularly get the community to share, great content that's a more powerful thing than even l&d leaders are doing there. 

Contributions often we find there's lots of lurkers in community, you might have heard about 99 one model where kind of only about 1% people are actually involved what we need to do is encourage people around contributions and the thing I found really interesting around this is working out loud the whole thing but how do we work out loud and share what we're doing simply share because we might not realise it but what we're doing is really important for other people. 

And lastly Credit is about thank yous it's about acknowledging the support people have given all those kinds of things again. Some communities are doing some really great stuff around credit. Not saying digital badges because those can be a bit cheesy sometimes but you know what sometimes digital badges, those kinds of things are really important roles within communities, helping people to take a particular role in giving them credit is really important. So, these are not the only ones, but Cause, Culture, Conditions, Cadence, Content contributions and Credit. These are things I have found are underpinning communities, which are working really well. 

So we've got a poll, Haven’t we? so Imogene, can you throw that, Which do you think is the most neglected in any learning communities you've been in experience? 

[Andy Lancaster]

 so you've got one choice on this one, so choose wisely. As they said in the Indiana Jones film, choose wisely, please. You only got one of these so which one of these do you think is most neglected in the typical learning communities. is it that he hasn't got enough current gravity and causes, a culture not poor. Is it not great conditions in terms of the place where you can hang around. Is there a rhythm issue that we just kind of lose a sense of purpose around this content, and people not valued in terms of contributions whatever so vote away.

And then we'll have a look in a second. So, just having a look and we're right on time that's insanely good so thank you. So Steve, do you want to just make a quick comment while we let people do one of their sees and then we'll just have a look at what the group recommends is the key blocker on this one.

[Steve Dineen] 

Yeah, I think we talked about that the other day I think for us the community piece. The other one here is context so I guess we could call this Cause, Right?. Yeah. So for us, I think again it maybe goes to Vivi's point when she was talking through that, How do we  allow the organisations to to find relevant content and still connect to the organisation and obviously the in our world the setting up communities is key to that, because the community is your filter of both your interests. An organisation may have 1000 communities, but it's getting back that top some of the texts on the right so that you're only filtering in when you're searching stuff you're searching something relevant for you, you're discovering stuff you're discovering some searching for you know for you. So for us, communities’ use intelligently can provide the filter of context. 

[Andy Lancaster]

And I think that contexting,  we're probably on the same thing there is, that's the kind of the thing. Thank you, yes brilliant So, look at this interesting the culture, the community thing that's doing really interesting and rhythm again so that's interesting so you guys really interesting what you were finding so getting the culture, right, and also getting some sense of rhythm to make things really work seem to be real blockers for you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts around that one.

[Steve Dineen] 

because I do think it's hugely important that you're gonna have great technology, great things in place but if there's a couple of blockers, it makes it hard. So leadership is obviously absolutely key for this right that if your leadership teams enjoy and thrive in an open cloud environment, then it's your open book so you know for us it's definitely easier within certain organisations already have that culture where the senior leaders are open and collaborative and not trying to control. So I think they're thoughtful.  I think the newer generation of leaders are very much more in this tune, and obviously an organisation that is the opposites to a blame culture. So as soon as you've got a blame culture, then, you sort of fear of putting themselves out there for fear of being criticised, and therefore, How does an organisation, How do leaders help change the wars in that culture? 


[Andy Lancaster] (47:56)

Some really great comments again guys thank you for what you put in the chat window, really great stuff in here so you know digital devices are being used more and more to facilitate these interactions, so what about inclusion for located where internet connectivity still not very good? that's a really good point. 


Do you know what's really interesting is we now delivered qualifications about hundred and 60 countries digitally. I'm not going to just call out one that’s particularly in the UK. I come from Norfolk and North Norfolk, I tell you what, there's some dead spots in terms of connectivity there. And we've had some countries where I thought there might have been an issue and they've got really, really great connectivity. So I think to the point there if we're going to be using technology we need to just think through about the experience that people are getting that  needs a bit of road testing. 


So just to kind of round we've just got one very quick section and then there'll be some time for one or two questions at the end; A reflective moment. How are you developing your social professional learning network?, you don't need to answer this one. This is so crucial for us guys we need to be in the conversation. So it's very difficult to facilitate and model socialised learning environments if we don't experience ourselves so I really encourage you to think where are you hanging around, obviously today is a great example. We really appreciate the Fuse guys for providing this environment. We need more of these.


 Just to kind of finish off, this is quite a quick section.

The last section of the book. Having looked at the changing workplace there's foundations here around consultation conversations and around data. And then there's a whole stack of different methods we need to use to get a flow of work which ‘social’ is a key one. This means L&D teams are going to have to be transformed a bit. So we become very familiar with the shape of the L&D universe. 


This is what some people call the dipper, this is Ursa part of Ursa Major. This is the plan. Okay, so we know what our universe, we know what it looks like. We feel comfortable when we look up into the sky, and we recognise the plan, but you know you can join the dots very differently here. But anyway, you can join the dots and what we need to understand is, that our learning universe is being connected differently and it looks different and it has different demands. And if we want to get really creative we can join the dots in very different ways and we need to think creatively about reshaping our learning functions and not allowing the old model to so permeate our thinking that we can't think outside the box which is obviously what this is.


Someone says it is quite hard to see that you can't see it but you know what, I encourage you, you may not recognise your learning function in the next few years and that's a really cool thing. 


To just say to cut around this section,  just going to say we need a different l&d toolkit. 

We need to think about some different things that we need and what we've been doing at CIPD, we've been role modelling in our own team is recognising that we need some different skills and roles. So there's a little model in the fourth section of the Modern Learning Team, Which kind of needs to do these six things: direct, diagnose, design, deliver, deploy and detect. Those are key functions for us now.


[Andy Lancaster] 

I would just like to throw out a column of information coming in here. I want you to look at the boxes that come up, you got red lines around them. So these are some of the roles that we've been tracking which are appearing in organisations now. So obviously you'll see head of learning, learning manager, instructional designer administrator, business partners but what we're seeing now is organisations who are really on the front edge of this of noticing other roles, like data analysts are now part of what's going on;  performance consultants, digital asset creator was one of the most recent highs which we did at CIPD along with we just hired a couple of community managers. 


You can see on designing and delivering,  It's not just about trainers now it's about communities, coaching, curation, its digital creation. and you've also seen deploying, marketing and comms we now need to help people go in the flow of work, to have far more sense of campaigns going on where we actually use marketing techniques to help people to understand what's available to them. And perhaps last on detection yeah this impact tracking because we're not going to get away with this. So data analysts and actually detecting the impact is really important just to kind of close this sort of section of it kind of goes right back to the beginning. If we are diagnosing what the business challenge, the organisation challenge is?then the impact tracking is just simply going back to that and seeing how we turn the dial on it. 


So we've got to get much better from that performance consulting conversation actually gives us the end point of what we're trying to do there. So resourcing learning in the flow. I guess the question is, is this in house. Well I think some of these roles will be in house. 

Some of these are gonna be shared functions in most organisations. you might need to share something with data analysts with another department. but what we're also seeing is the gig economy where there's people with these great skills out there. You know, we might need to have gig workers around to help us with these specialists. 


So just to round off, we've got a couple of minutes for some questions. Four Y’s, You got to get free from addiction to courses. You got to work backwards performance consult. You got a whole range of new methods and ‘collaboration’ is a keyword, and You have got to have a transformed L&D team with different roles in there. Four Y’s that really underpin impactful learning in the flow of work. 

[Andy Lancaster]  

Vivi says thank you. I missed this description of the content in the 7 C’s so on that one, Linda siege your learning communities with great content don't curate some stuff. But more importantly, get the community to go and find great stuff to share. You might have to help on some quality control but just be aware that the content is a way of spiking the community.


Will there be a learning package based around the content of the book? I am doing webinars at the minute David, so we're early days on this as it’s only just out.  Yet, there may well be but at the minute, the book is the way to go at the minute. 


Rachel says how to combine courses with Zoom effectively if you want a combination of being in the room, while others want to zoom in remotely? Yet you know there's a whole thing around designing great webinars, it's about engagement, those kinds of things. There's lots of stuff around great webinars, but, you know, I made a huge assumption at the Housing Association I was at, that people actually knew how to engage in webinars and they didn't. 


So we actually made engaging in webinars part of our induction programme, because it's quite important for us. So, yeah, so think about empowering people to do that. 

Thank you, David for buying the book and those supporting us really appreciate it. 


These are the senior roles in L&D together some new skills but It’s overwhelming where do I start? 

Okay, what I would do probably need to have a think through, do a bit of an audit as to where you think if you're not sure where to start, start with performance consulting because that underpins so much of it. 

In the book I've done a precis of six consulting models there. So, I would say if you're not quite sure, get your consulting skills up. 


Okay, I think we need to be conscious that we are up to time. I'm kind of happy to hang around but I'm really conscious we're doing learning in the flow of work here. And some of you will have something in Outlook so a massive thank you for me to the Fuse guys for giving me the chance to do this. I trust that's been really useful our message, you would hope this prevents you think 


[Steve Dineen] 

Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity and thanks for letting us know that we at Fuse and all of our customers and our partners who have been on this call. We're not crazy because sometimes we know we're in a different direction. So, it's great that you come in and confirm that we are crazy then you're crazy as well.


[Andy Lancaster] 

I am glad to be crazy, we probably need to be, to shift the dial on learning so that there's hang around in a crazy place together I'm really happy to do. 


Cheers, Andy

Thank you so much. 

Okay bye for now everybody. Have a really good afternoon.

Nihal Salah
Jul 07 2020

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