Work Out Loud: A Blog a Day…Day 5: What a Big Week in Blogging…

Well if you are reading this, you will know that I have made it !

Starting as a challenge on an #Ozlearn tweet chat and putting into reality this week, I never really thought I had it in me, but as true L&D Professional I persevered and here I am (and in one piece).

In keeping with my “Practice what you Preach” motto (see earlier blog of same title), I will summarise what I have I learnt this week about my PLN, the L&D / HR profession and myself.

1. I learnt that my Personal Learning Network (PLN) is strong – it is very supportive, caring and also very interested in what I have to say. Sometime you sit there thinking whether someone would want to listen to what you have to say. In my previous life (i.e. when I had a real job) I was precluded from blogging due to the social media policy of the organisation. This week, receiving comments from all over the world, I was flabbergasted that people were keen to read what I had to say.  Some like Paul R, Helen B, Andrew J, Nick L and Shannon T challenged me – they made me contemplate further some of the topics I was discussing. More importantly they took the time to leave me comments and provide the perfect “sandwich feedback” :  – start with a positive, provide some constructive feedback and always finish on a high.

A big thanks also to all those who left me messages of support and encouragement on Twitter and LinkedIn – greatly appreciated !

2. I learnt that L&D / HR professionals need to play a more active role and lead the discussions in our organisations, peer networks and professional associations on the merits of Social Media as a powerful professional learning and networking tool.  This Twitter thing is not about the Kardashians or the Biebers – it is about connecting. interacting, sharing and learning via the most effective and efficient means currently available to us as techno savvy individuals. Attending the Australian Human Resources National Convention (as a guest visitor not a delegate) I was surprised and also disappointed how many delegates / vendors / visitors were actually tweeting live from the event.  Comparing it to the recent #LT14UK event I was following on twitter, it was like watching paint dry – by the time the next tweet from #AHRINC came through, I had a coffee and cake and was losing interest. In yesterday’s blog I urged all L&D / HR practitioners in Australia to follow the upcoming #LearningLive event hosted by the Learning and Performance Institute (@YourLPI) in the UK. This will provide you with an example of how an L&D conference can be structured by an organised team of committed and dedicated professionals.

3. So what did I learn about myself – I learnt that I can blog if I really want to. I learnt that Working Out Loud (the inspiration for this series of blogs) is really OK – the fear of been ridiculed or shunned because I may have not conveyed fully formed views is empowering. People don’t actually mind reading some one who writes with passion and tells it as it is. Bloggers are kind and understanding of each other  because they all understand the challenges of blogging. I learnt that I can make a difference to the learning profession. I learnt that if you network and socialise with your PLN and support groups you will continue to learn and evolve as a professional and an individual. I learnt that if you speak your mind on issues and challenge “fads” people will listen but also respond, because they have  the same passion as you do !

A big thanks to my family for their support during this week – allowing me time to network and write whilst  encouraging me to say it as it is, has been great.

One last thing I learnt is that life is short, health is wealth and my PLN is my strength!

So, a big thank you to all of you – no matter where in the world you are, I hope you enjoyed my series of blogs – it has been a blast having you along for the ride.

Lastly the “Big Tease” has a response for my friend and Work Out Loud practitioner, Michelle Ockers:

No Michelle I will not be blogging daily BUT will be blogging more often 😉

Till next time, take care…



Work Out Loud: A Blog a Day…Day 4: Why are we dragging the chain..

Well here we are – Day 4 – and the end is near…

Today I have been inspired by a twitter conversation with a fellow HR professional I met on Twitter via the recent AHRI National Conference:  Malcolm Pascoe (@malpascoe).

This interaction combined with my reading of Jonathan Kettleborough’s recent blog post on changing the name of L&D to Capability Development got me thinking about the profession I love and where are we really at…

The conversation on twitter with Malcolm was as a result of a tweet posted by Patricia (@PatriciaHatzi) that reflected on the low number of HR professionals tweeting from the AHRI National Conference.  We are talking a few hundred people attending this conference with only a handful of active tweeters. She made a good point.

AHRI apparently had an app for the conference but I did not see one person access the app to plan their conference attendance. Most were accessing their AHRI provided booklet and skimming through the pages to locate the next speaker and location. I was dumb founded – Where is the App I asked one – oh I downloaded that but I like to use the booklet? This from an HR professional who is supposed to be leading / guiding their organisation in the new world of SoMe. We are relying on these people to develop our social media policies, our BYOD guidelines; and Cyber Bullying Policy.

Interestingly, on the last day of the conference one of tweeps put a call out (via twitter) that at the next AHRI Conference next year all the tweeps who were tweeting should get together and form a tweet up – I of course (even if not a delegate of the Conference) took up the challenge – if it’s going to be it’s up to me!

Malcolm and I then got tweeting about how many of the vendors exhibiting at the Conference were not on social media.I understand that most of then are not HR professionals thus I can’t really tarnish them with the HR brush, but that is where it gets sadder – they are sales people who you would think by now would have been educated on the power of SoME to promote, attract and enhance the client base.

Concurrent to this conversation, I happened to be reading Jonathan’s blog post on a recent article he had read from Josh Bersin on advocating for L&D to change it name to Capability Development. Jonathan was rightly arguing that the last thing we need is another name change.

It got me thinking that on the one hand we as a profession are keen to re-brand ourselves to something new and confuse the business even further but were not interested in been the role models on how social media can be utilised to support our learning offerings. Are we looking for an easy way out? Are we shunning the new world because we fear it? Do we have a direction / leadership from the various professional bodies on how we can confront this future?

L&D (and HR more generally) needs to wake up – smell the roses and realise that the world around them is changing dramatically – they need to embrace the opportunities offered, network with like minded professionals and see what they are doing and more importantly how they are doing it. L&D needs to influence the professional bodies to start providing innovative learning opportunities, education resources and material on how they can support their members on this journey.

Case in point: The American Society of Training And Development (ASTD) recently changed its name Association of Talent Development (ATD) but do you think anyone cared. Not really – as a member all I cared about was how would it impact on me and the services I receive from the ASTD (ATD). Was the association going to continue to service my needs and meet my professional development requirements in an innovative and creative manner? Was it establishing new modes of interaction fro its members?  The ASTD (ATD)  have been going for 75 years and it continues to grow.

In the UK Learning Skills & Technologies Conference has a great turn out but better still it has one of biggest followings on twitter.

Next month The Learning Performance Institute (LPI) is hosting the UK biggest learning event –  Learning Live  with the Learning Awards as a major fund raising event and celebration of achievement by the industry – if you are on twitter keep an eye on the #learninglive hash tag. The LPI puts a lot of effort in ensuring it delivers for its membership base – it continues to innovate with its free webinar offerings on a range of L&D topics and  has structured a number of its accreditation and certification programs to meet the changing needs of L&D professionals.

What we lack in the Australia / NZ region is innovative, creative and forward thinking professional bodies who can set the direction and provide the leadership on the way ahead …

I fear for our local professional bodies and their events – whether they be conferences or their professional development events – I hope they have a look at what is happening around the world and start to restructure future conferences / events  in a similar manner – the challenge is there!

Till tomorrow (last post in this series), take care…

Work Out Loud: A Blog a Day…Day 3: Why I love what I do !

Hi all – welcome to Day 3 and I am half way there…

Today I had the privilege (yes it is a great privilege) to meet up with my Third Place group. It is so great to be part of such a diverse bunch of people, yet we all have one thing in common – we are all Learning Professionals who are keen to help our clients / our organisations achieve their outcomes.

Listening to the range of projects the group was working on, how they approached their work and to see them all smiling and having so much passion in their stories, was so heart warming.

Got me thinking about the business I am in. Even though I have been out of an organisation for a few months now, my desire and passion for the learning profession still burns like a furnace. Even though I don’t have colleagues who I can hassle at the water cooler or over lunch on L&D issues, I am still so passionate about developing people and helping organisations achieve their outcomes. I still do my research, still read L&D blogs, participate in Communities of Practice, convene #Ozlearn and read books (Clark Quinn currently and then on to Nigel Paine) – some may say but why Con you no longer need to do all this – my response, yes I do because it is who I am.

Looking back, even though I trained as an Tax Accountant, I am glad I made the move to Learning and Development – a more rewarding career I could not have chosen (and I am not talking cash either) !

Sitting there today and listening to my Third Place group interact and outline what they were each doing and seeing the impact they are having, confirmed for me that I am in the “right” business.

Having Nigel Paine, a respected and highly regarded learning professional also join us and watching him listen to what everyone was contributing was great.  Nigel has travelled the world and has spoken, trained and interacted with so many people, but to see him listening intently and contributing his “pearls of wisdom” topped off the day. Thanks Nigel for taking the time to support our “little” L&D group – I for one appreciate it !

Some of us continued on to the AHRI National Convention (#AHRINC) and visited the exhibition. I had a great time talking to a number of vendors and understanding what they had on offer. They were all so pleasant and easy to speak to – made me feel welcome, shared some of their “freebies” and took time to hear what I was doing and what I was interested in.

Again, it confirmed to me that the HR/L&D profession is a caring and sharing group and one I am so glad to be part of !!!

Till tomorrow, when we get into the home straight, take care…

Work Out Loud: A Blog a Day…Day 2: Fads in L&D

Welcome to Day 2.

As the blog heading says, my blog is L&D from a different perspective. What does that mean – well that means telling it as it is.

Classic case in point – everyone has jumped on the MOOC bandwagon, we have cMOOCs, xMoocs, SPOOCS, SPOCS – now really this has gone too far – MOOCs exist, we know that certain institutions make a good living from them, we also know that they allow people in remote regions to access learning, we know that they have some good content – BUT really…why do we have to develop all these additional acronyms / fads for something that has yet to prove its worth or credibility in a corporate learning environment (by the way if you have a case study to state otherwise please share it).

I for one question that they will ever be successful in corporate learning.  Even their founder put the boots into them a few months ago and stated there was no future.

MOOCs probably have a role to play and most likely are having an impact on some people, but let’s all take one deep breath and have a look at the facts:

1. MOOCs have now been around for years – have they really changed that much in that time?

2. Their enrolments continue to be high yet their non-completions are increasing at an alarming rate

3. Research show that they are more catered to those that are in the higher education sector rather than those that are not

4. Current model not sustainable – Harvard has already gone alone

5. And what about the free course offerings – Brain Surgery for Beginners; How to play the Ukulele – really…

MOOCs are not dead but they are not also  the best thing to happen to learning in years (as some will lead you to believe) – they are no where near making the impact that their founders thought they would – they have a long way to go!

The other new FAD is this developing of lists – Top Ten of this, Tope 100 of that – look at me I made the Top 10 Elearning Pros, look at me, my blog is ranked number 47 in the world – come on people – why do you blog – to make it on a list? Why do you need that big massive badge on your site saying you made some list? You blog because you like to share and tell us what is on your mind? Do you blog for fame? 

Why are we creating competition amongst the profession – we all care and share with each other – we don’t need elitism in our profession. After all L&D people are the most caring and sharing of all – why do I need a badge or counter to tell me how good I am.

Why do I need to know that XX is in the Top 100 lists and further more, why do we need a Top 100 “Elearning” list – why are they special?  We are all in the same business – helping our people achieve – why are we segregating the profession via the promotion of such lists? Why are we placing people in cubicles? You have skills in eLearning – great but you are a learning professional. You have skills in Learning Consultancy – magnificent – but you are a learning professional. Both the eLearning Pro and the L&D Consultant exist for one reason: For the business to achieve its outcomes !

With a bit of licence from Donald Taylor, it is time we moved out of Segregation Ghetto and in to the Embracing Boulevard – we are one – we are L&D.

Till tomorrow – take care…

Work out Loud: A Blog a Day… Day 1: Review of Learning Impact Measurement Masterclass with Nigel Paine

Well here we are – its Monday and my commitment to a blog a day, as part of Work Out Loud initiative from Ozlearn, has commenced.

Now I am new to blogging so I have not yet mastered the art of links to twitter handles, tweets, other blogs and all that fancy stuff – so what you will get here is simple plain text with no disruptions.

Side Note: Honesty all those links in blogs do disrupt my reading and I find myself clicking on the links and losing reading continuity !

In my last blog I made passing mention to my attendance at Nigel Paine’s Learning Impact Measurement master class in Melbourne last Thursday 14 August.

I had the privilege, along with 10 others, to attend a day with Nigel – now if you know Nigel any day with Nigel is invigorating and exciting but a day on Learning Impact Measurement (to save my fingers lets call it LIM) is even better !

I did tweet extensively on the day under #elearnapac and @arkgroup so if you want to jump the que and get to the chase you can read those tweets or even better send me an email / DM and I will send you a link to the Storify.

There is a sports show in my part of the world where they summarise what were the three things you learnt from a particular game – to ensure that I abide by “Practicing What I Preach”, I will take the same approach with my review of Nigel’s session:

What did I learn:

1. Colin Powell’s 40/70 Rule: 40% of the Effort will yield you 70 % of your results – very useful in LIM because as you can’t evaluate everything you need to be “strategic” as to what you will evaluate to provide you the data you ned to capture for your reporting.

2. Roughly Reasonable Data : Used predominately in ROI studies, it is a useful approach to adopt when collecting and analysing data – we are not after perfect data collection (E.g. Interview every single manager who attended the Leadership Program) but a sample size that represents the cross section of the population (e.g. maybe a manager from each state and /or business unit) – this needs to be balanced with the time and resources you have at your disposal.

3. Need to move from Shaping to Framing : When communicating the outcomes of a LIM we need to ensure that the report is framed appropriately. You role is not to “shape” the LIM but to ensure that it is framed / presented in the right manner so as it makes sense and tells the story to the intended audience.

Nigel showcased the Total Value Add book by Kenneth Fee as a mandatory read for those moving into this space and I agree – it was a “milestone” book for me when embarking on my Evaluation journey  – I have also reviewed this book on Amazon.

Nigel finished by asking us all to take a RACI approach to LIM:





Google it to find out more – sounds interesting!

In conclusion, I can say that Nigel has mastered the art of “learner generated learning” as part of his presentation and he uses it effectively in his approach – something that I can learn and use in the future.

Thanks Nigel for an enlightening day, one full of interaction and sharing – and for allowing me to add to the conversation.

Till tomorrow for Day 2 of a Blog a Day – take care.

It’s been a while..

Gee it has been a while since I last blogged and I have so much to say and write about – but I have to resist the temptation and “Practice what I Preach”.

A number of things have irked me this week but then again a number of other things have inspired me – I don’t know where to start – but here goes:

The MOOC debate is continuing and I am seeing more and more research and blogs posted on why MOOCs are not as successful / have a long way to go – now please note I don’t go looking for such posts but they just appear in my Twitter feed – just like bees to honey so are MOOCs to LearnKotch !!!

I also started reading Mr Quinn’s Book – you know the one that has the word REVOLUTIONISE spelt incorrectly 😉 – boy did that get off an a high – another Manifesto right in my face – put me off slightly but I will toil through it and see how I go – after all I need to justify the cost of all these AMAZON purchases to my spouse otherwise the VISA card will get a workout !

Lastly I had the high of two great events: Ozlearn on Tuesday night was magic – one of the best attended for a while. I am so glad Ozlearn continues to grow.  I try to find L&D topics/matters of interest to our group and to date I think we are doing very well. Having Laura Overton last month was great and Simon Terry this month was super! A big thanks to the Ozlearn crew of Helen, Matt and Tanya who support me on this monthly chat.

The other high was of course Nigel’s Learning Impact Measurement masterclass on Thursday – so practical and thought provoking. Nigel got the group interacting so well and the synergy in the room was amazing. He is a master and he knows his craft. Even though I know Evaluation well, I did learn a few new things. Thanks Nigel @ebase!

One participant summed it up best – “This is Not Rocket Science”.

I leave you with that thought – let’s stop over engineering and complicating this L&D business – stick to the basics, get innovative, measure the impact, challenge your L&D colleagues and align learning with your business – its that simple !

More next week – when I will blog EVERY DAY !