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…


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

  1. I love this post. If you read back to some of my own posts, we are clearly on the same page. Here is my issue…

    As an L&D group of professionals, we have no idea who are and subsequently neither does the business world. Being out on the job market displayed this theory loud and clear. Clear your mind for second and picture a Director of Finance. No problem, I know exactly what this person does and so does the organization he works for – now picture Director of L&D…different story. Even L&D people have a different view on the role requirements. As an industry we need to focus on consistent messaging. This is more likely due to Learning still being considered in some organizations, as HR’s little sister and as such HR will give us any “nickname” they please.

    As an example: Here is a google doc I put together with my network from twitter. Within the document is a list of various (current) L&D positions. There are 71 titles on this list! 71.

    Houston we have a problem and it’s not changing ASTD to ATD.

    At it’s heart changing from ASTD to ATD is more about marketing than anything else. Taking out the word “American” and the word “Training”. The new name s supposed to be our value proposition. But all and all, in my opinion it’s generic. I suppose Tony Bingham had to run the name through countless approval stages and when you do that, you get what we got – milquetoast. Blah. Boring. Not so sure I’m pleased about that, you would think they would have some pretty creative minds over there…if you’re gonna do it, DO IT.

    Oh, and for the first part of your post (I can ramble on forever on the topic social media and L&D)…some one has the lead the charge, looks like it’s you. This is what I appreciate about the elearning Guild and the focus that David Kelly is bringing to using Social Media at Guild conferences. I understand that “elearning” is in the name, but there are still a lot of people who are reluctant to change their habits. Keep leading by example. During your tweet-up find people who will be dedicated to helping others use twitter and be designated twitter-ers during sessions and events. Perhaps that’s a breakfast and coffee session – “Using twitter during this conference”.

    Keep fighting the good fight! Need someone to help? I’m willing to head down-under… 😉


  2. pauldrasmussen says:


    Two reactions I guess, the first is that while it is the lack of social media engagement is somewhat sad, when you look at the stats it is not surprising in April 2014 there was 2,500,000 active twitter users about 1% of the twitter user base and about 10% of Australia’s population

    There are 4 times the of Australians on Facebook and about 1 million more on linkedin. If we take the subset of HR people in the general population who are also on twitter the user set gets even smaller and it follows that it doesnt surprise me that there are so few active tweeters.

    As some of you know I was a very early adopter of twitter what seems like a very long time ago, left for good number of years and have only recently come back, but in a very subdued manner. I see it as useful, but not game changing in terms of learning and networking etc. It also needs to be remembered that there are a lot of people out there who are simply not interested in social media for a who range of issues and also a lot of people for whom the technology required to access it is difficult for them again for a range of reasons.

    The app thing is interesting as well, I have been to a number of conferences where they had an app and I downloaded and used it, but I would have been just as happy if they hadn’t had an app and had given me a booklet and there are still a lot of people out there that prefer paper. It is one of my ongoing arguments against evangelical positions on elearning, gamificiation and the like. A lot of people are still more comfortable with paper and face to face. I don’t know that we need to wake up, I think we are for the most part awake, I think that we need to be more driven by what our participant cohorts (whoever they are) want and need, rather than by anything else. There are a lot of people out there who are simply not interested in social media and dont want to be helped on a journey towards new ways of learning as they are happy how they are.

    I do think you are right with the point that there could be more innovation shown from our local professional organisations, it seems at the moment to be very hit and miss sometimes. I do wonder why this occurs however; is it because they are catering to their user group, they dont understand the technology, or for some other reason.

    I have often felt that a lot of the conferences and bodies in Australia miss the mark for a number of reasons, but that is a post for another time.

    I have enjoyed reading your blogs this will Con keep it up.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s