Book Review: Revolutionize Learning and Development by Clark N. Quinn

Hi and welcome to my blog.

Firstly this post is dedicated to my beautiful family who have shown me the ability to strive through adversity and to maintain my smile and sense of belief – no matter what hurdles and obstacles are placed before me !

So here we are – my first book review on my blog and boy what a book I selected.

Revolutionize Learning and Development by Clark N. Quinn *


Firstly let’s clear the air – yes the title of the book is mis-spelt (depending which continent you live in) after repeated attempts in Word to rectify the spelling error I gave up and thus we are stuck with Revolutionize 😉

Phew glad I got that one of my chest…

Now on to the book…

Well let me start with how I got this book. I ordered this book along with three others from Amazon around late June and when the shipment arrived I had a choice of which one to read, but as I had heard alot about Clark and had the fortune to interact with him via twitter and had sometimes seen him tweet some things about a chat he joins on a Friday mornings, I thought I would go with him.

So I picked it up and glanced at this book with this big RED hand holding what looks like a book (manifesto?) – I gave it the once over and then I put it down.

Then one day, while I was travelling to town via our reliable and beautiful Victorian Public Transport system, I decided to start reading it and that’s when it hit me – as my mate Jackie Gleeson would say “Pow right in the Kisser”. By the time I had reached my stop at the bottom of Kings St and Lonsdale St, I was furious, I was angry. I was hit by yet another Manifesto (by this stage I had read and dismissed the eLearning Manifesto) which is all I really needed !

I thought who is this guy – he is accusing me of not doing my  job properly. Who is this guy sitting all the way in his cushy office in the US somewhere who is telling me that the last 15 years of my L&D life have been to no avail. I was not going to let this guy get away with having a go at me and my mates in the L&D profession.

So first point of warning – be prepared to be confronted, to be challenged.  In hindsight, this ends up working well, but to have this thrust upon you in the first few chapters of the book does knock you about.

So what did I do – I tweeted Clark and expressed my view. I won’t bore you with a copy of the exchange but the upshot is that Clark responded in a positive and constructive way and challenged me to keep on reading and to give the book a go.

It was then that I realised what a great guest Clark would be for my #ozlearn tweet chat – I thought also as the book had just been released it would also benefit Clark in promoting his book in this region – so I organised to interview Clark (due to timezone differences he could not join us live).  After overcoming my issues with Google Hangouts I succumb and reverted to  Skype and recorded an interview with Clark (which you can see here) and this was used for our September #ozleaarn tweet chat.

So I kept on reading – The first 6 chapters are a reflection on what Clark classifies as the “Status Quo” and “To Hand” respectively – good chapters that cover the current state of affairs of our L&D world – from our industry to neuroscience and the state of our organisations and technology.

Now you can read these if you wish, but if you wish to skip and come back to these later you can without major loss of continuity.

But if like me, you really want to know what to do and do now, jump straight to Section 3 – this is where the book really starts to “kicks goals”. The framework presented is well structured and articulated reflecting on the need for L&D to play the strategic role required and to be measured against valid and key business outcomes.

Chapter 8 demonstrates how this may look like via some real life case studies. Clark “leans” on his friends in the industry to provide him some very good and detailed case studies – Mark Britz, Allison Anderson , Charles Jennings and Clark also refers us to a few assessment tools that will assist us to determine where we may be at – I liked the eLearning Maturity Model from Towards Maturity the most.

Clark concludes with a statement which I believe is worth repeating, as it resonated with me and I am sure it also will with all of you:

L&D’s role will shift to facilitation and curation, with a much diminished role of creation and presentation.

It was at this point that I finally appreciated the purpose and role of this book – I realised that Clark not only challenged and confronted me but he was willing to help me – he had offered me a way forward and he was now going to show me how to implement.

Chapter 9 was great – it brought all the pieces together into what Clark termed a “Re-Think”. Here he outlined the need for a performance strategy, influencing the culture of learning and the rebadging of L&D to Performance and Development. Clark points to the LPI Capability Map as a tool to allow staff to assess against the skills required “for an enlightened approach to L&D”.

He ends Section 3 with two great reflections from his mates:

Allison Rossett who advocates for a push to get learning professionals more into the field so as to “rivet their attention to the challenges and cultures of the organisation”

Marc Rosenberg who challenges the L&D profession to do more to develop “solid value propositions for L&D” . He also notes that although L&D is embracing informal learning, performance support and social learning, “we don’t have any idea on how to sell and implement these across our organisations”.

Both reflections are to the point and clear on their views on the state of L&D ! Allison and Marc have added enormously to Clark’s book – great initiative Clark to include these two “giants” of L&D.

Section 4 (the last section) is the icing on the cake. As a firm believer of the craft of Performance Consulting and one which I believe is not practiced widely, I was so glad to see Clark make this his platform for Section 4 and dedicating a whole chapter to this skill and process. His Design Decisions flowchart captures the process in a nut shell and one wonders why do we sometimes make things so hard for ourselves and over engineer everything – Clark simplifies this for us in 8 easy to follow steps.

Another section that resonated with me was that of Evaluation and Measurement. I recall Clark stating on our #ozlearn video interview (see link above to video chat) that Kirkpatrick is not dead albeit what some may say. He asks us to flip Kirkpatrick around and start with the end in mind.  I was so glad to hear this as this was a practice I had already adopted in my previous extensive evaluation work and the core premises of the Evaluation of L&D Framework I developed for a large public service organisation in Australia.

One thing that did stand out for me from this chapter (and the whole book) was that Clark did not reference at all Return on Investment (ROI) as a strategy or suggested approach to determine the value add of L&D.  Whether intentionally or not, this to me sends a clear message to the profession that such measurement techniques are either no longer valued or required by the C-Suite – but rather Learning Impact Measurement as advocated at a recent seminar by Nigel Paine is more the way to go in reporting the value of learning and the impact on business.

Clark concludes the book by taking us back to where he had us in Chapter 1 – challenging us to do things differently, “stop doing what we are doing in a vacuum”! He stresses to “stop being order takers” and start to be performance consultants, and he asks us to sign up to the Performance and Development Manifesto.

Yes I had reacted earlier in having another manifesto shoved in my face, but as I reached the end of this book I came to realise that this one was different, this one was going to make a difference – it challenges us to do things dramatically differently; it asks us to think of our roles in a more effective and efficient way; it pleads with us to not continue to develop for the sake of developing but to curate and facilitate; it implores us to chose performance support over training; it invites us continue to evaluate and measure ourselves and finally it encourages us to continue to explore and innovate.

Thanks Clark for an inspiring book.  On a personal note and upon reflection, I know our initial twitter exchange on the book may not have set the right tone but credit where credit is due – your book did resonate with me and had an impact on my thinking.

It also is very timely, as we see from the recent Towards Maturity Benchmark Report that L&D is seen has having an over reliance on eLearning and technology without much thought been given as to whether it is the right solution. Performance consulting and curation skills, two of the key skills and approaches you have recommended, are still not evident or underdeveloped in our L&D departments. I am hoping that books such as yours will assist us all to step up and be part of the “revolution”.

I highly recommend this book to all L&D/ OD professionals.


Clark Quinn on twitter

his blog Learnlets

his Revolutionize L&D site

and his Revolutionize L&D Linkedin group.

The book is available now on both Kindle and Paperback – click here.

* This reviews was based on the paperback version of the book.

Till next time – take care…


Ozlearn Chat – Tuesday 11 November 2014 : The Benefits and Challenges of Embedding Learning in Work

We have the honour of welcoming Charles Jennings, Director – Internet Time Alliance to our #OZlearn Tweet Chat on Tuesday 11 November 2014 at 8:00 p.m. (AESDT) 9:00 a.m. (GMT).

In preparation for this chat, Charles has written the following blog. Please take time to read this blog post from Charles in preparation for our chat.

No matter where you are joining us from around the world we shall see you online on Tuesday 11 November.


The Benefits and Challenges of Embedding Learning in Work

An important finding that has emerged from study after study over the past few years is that learning which is embedded in work seems to be more effective than learning away from work.

Impact of on-the-job learning vs formal training

A 2009 study by the Learning & Development Roundtable, a division of the Corporate Executive Board, reported that on-the-job learning had three times the impact on performance improvement over formal training programs. The same study found employees with high exposure to on-the-job learning activities were 262% more engaged than those who had no exposure to on-the-job learning. ‘High exposure’ in this study was defined as being engaged in ‘11 or more on-the-job learning activities during the last month’.

A further 2010 study of manager development activities by Casebow and Ferguson at GoodPractice in Edinburgh, Scotland reported that informal chats with colleagues was both the most frequently used development activity and was also seen as the most effective by the majority of managers.

Impact of strong informal learning capabilities

Yet another study by Bersin & Associates (now Bersin by Deloitte) published in March 2012 reported that “Organizations with strong informal learning capabilities, including the adoption and use of social learning tools, are 300% more likely to excel at global talent development than organizations without those competencies.” By their very nature informal and social learning is embedded in the daily workflow.

An earlier study 2003 by the Corporate Leadership Council identified 15 leader-led activities that improve performance found that learning through workplace experience was at least three times more effective than simply ensuring that workers had the necessary knowledge and skills to do their jobs.

There are many other studies with similar findings. I could go on and on citing them.

This is not at all surprising. As long ago as 1885 Dr Hermann Ebbinghaus published his treatise Über das Gedächtnis (On Memory) that indicated context was critical for effective learning. Although Ebbinghaus’ experimental research was limited, his theory and results indicated that context and the spacing effect are key contributors to effective retention, learning and performance improvement. It could be argued that context is best provided by embedding learning in work.

Recent brain science work is filling in the gaps and we now know a lot more about the way the brain modifies itself in the light of experience and the difference between people who approach learning with ‘open’ or ‘fixed’ mindsets. The work by Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, has enhanced our understanding about learning, context and mindset. Dweck’s research suggests that experience and practice combined with a growth mindset are critical ingredients for effective learning and development. Each of these is more powerfully experienced in the context of the workflow rather in the more sterile atmosphere of a classroom.

The benefits are clear, but what are the challenges of embedded learning in work for L&D departments?

Instructional design to solution design

One of the major challenges is the fact that until recently L&D professionals have seen their primary role as instructional designers and creators of learning experiences where learning experiences are separate from work. ADDIE (or some other instructional design approach) ruled. The learning needed to be designed, managed and measured.

Of course some learning experiences do need to be designed, managed and measured, but they are in the minority. The majority of learning occurs naturally as part of the workflow. This type of learning is ‘designed’ by the individual (sometimes with input from their manager), it is self-managed, and the measurement is in terms of outputs – not by passing a test or some form of certification but by demonstrating the ability to do work better, faster, more accurately, with greater agility and levels of innovation if needed.

Management to facilitation and support

The challenge for L&D professionals is to develop ways to support, encourage and facilitate these ‘90’ types of learning (through the 70:20:10 lens). This learning can’t be ‘managed’ by HR, L&D or by any of the processes and technology systems they put in place. It can, however, be supported, facilitated, encouraged, exposed and shared by HR and L&D with the outcome of improving not only individual performance, but team and organisational performance as well.

A second significant challenge (and blind spot for many L&D departments) has been the provision performance support. The lack of understanding and failure to use performance support approaches and tools has created a significant barrier for supporting learning embedded in work.

Performance support is a sleeping giant that has only recently been prodded by some L&D departments, despite the fact that ePSS has been around for at least 25 years, and other non-technology supported performance support approaches for eons.

Courses to resources

Gloria Gery published her seminal ‘Electronic Performance Support Systems’ book in 1991, yet these powerful systems and approaches have only marginally entered L&D’s mindset. This will no doubt change in one respect as the ‘rise and rise’ of social learning further impinges on organisational learning cultures and people turn to online communities and expert location tools to help them improve their work and learn in the workplace. Together with ‘point-of-need’ performance support solutions, Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson at ApplySynergies are doing a great job on this, as are companies such as Australian company Panviva and others in Europe.

A final challenge facing many L&D professionals is that embedding learning in work almost always requires the active support of executives, business managers and team leaders. This means L&D needs to engage these groups. This inevitably requires the provision of a clear set of business imperatives for embedding learning in work delivered in a way that is meaningful and compelling to these busy stakeholders.

L&D professionals need to step up to the plate with their consulting and interpersonal skills to enrol the critical support from these groups. This can be a big challenge but it is one where success is critical if learning is to be effectively embedded in the workflow.


Charles Jennings
October 2014



Learning and Development : Where should it sit in the organisational structure ?

Hi and welcome to my blog.

After a recent exhausting Five Day Work Out Loud Blogging exercise I took a break but I am now back….

Firstly though I do wish to thank every single one of you who either read, commented and supported my recent Work Out Loud blogging – your comments and wishes have spurred me on to continue to blog and share.

As you would have guessed I am an L&D professional who does not over engineer L & D concepts, ideas and processes. I try and put myself in the shoes of the reader and /or learner and thus try to speak the language of the business and avoid HR / L&D speak (where possible).

I have recently been involved in a Twitter interaction with The Development Company  and Perry Timms on where should L&D sit in the organisation – should it be part of the business or is it better placed in the Human Resources department?

In addressing this question or more specifically in providing my view on this subject matter, I will refer to my 10 plus years as a Senior L&D Director of Learning and Development in the public sector.

When I started / ventured on my L&D journey in the Australian Public Services (APS) most of the function was performed at the business unit – that is the one’s closest to the action.  The business unit would have a small crew of L&D consultants (mostly non-qualified L&D staff who came from business).  They would source learning interventions either via a corporate cell (for soft skills) and then also look outside their agency for other training providers – mainly at the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) who were also in the business of providing training sessions.

The staff in these L&D business unit sat in the HR function of the business unit – that is the enabling area of the business.

In late 2006, a decision was made to pool all these learning resources in what I would term a pseudo-centralised model and form a sub-group approach to learning – so not a totally centralised model across the organisation but 11 business units were grouped together and L&D services provided to them as a sub-group. This group sat in the sub-group admin function (not the HR area as such)

In hindsight this was the best and most successful model I worked with in my 10 years in L&D. It was not only personal to the business but also central enough to leverage off other areas of the organisation and also look to external providers to fill in the gaps.

It was within this environment that I excelled and delivered some of the watershed outcomes that are still utilised and adopted. Initiatives such as prioritisation of learning delivery and executive reporting dashboard (never before attempted in the organisation).

As with all public sector organisations after a number of years it was time for another structural review of the enabling services and thus L&D was again impacted. This time though it was going to go all the way. This time there would be no half way re-structures and L&D would be totally overhauled.

In 2010 we centralised the whole L&D function – not really necessary to discuss philosophies  or reasons here and really not worth covering such ground, but what is worth discussing is the impact that this had on the organisation. Firstly, we had a grieving phase – one of where the business was loosing its long held and trusted L&D resources to the main pool. Secondly we had the maintenance of delivery phase where business, notwithstanding a major restructure of the L&D service, demanded that delivery would not be jeopardised in any manner. Lastly we had the funding process, where business not only lost resources (i.e. bodies) but they also lots funding and if you have ever worked in the public sector you will know that your funding is the most treasured possession – losing or having a cut to your funding is like losing a loved relative suddenly – you scream, you grieve and you constantly are asking why?

The centralised L&D function was aligned to the People function thus under HR and we were, in my honest opinion, as far away from business than ever before. In order to address this matter and to appease business that they would still be able to get traction on their demands, we established L&D Business Partners – a great concept in theory but the role was not fully scoped nor understood before implementation thus it was always going to be a struggle. The even more bizarre aspect of this Business Partner model was that they were funded by the L&D budget but reported to and were accountable to business.

It would be fair to say that after  a number of years of the new centralised model it was time to review it because we still had lots of “noise” in the system.  It was identified that learning requests were coming in thick and fast and that we did not have anyone “cutting them off at the pass”. A new role was established – Business Consultants (aka Performance Consultancy). Although these roles were established to allow for closer interaction and involvement with the business, we still had the L&D Business Partners – thus in my opinion  – retaining that  extra “layer” between business and L&D.

Just before departing the organisation, I along with three other colleagues, worked hard to establish the Consultancy function.  Given my extensive network and connectivity I was able to bring Nigel Harrison’s Performance Consultancy  process into the mix. This was meet with some resistance, mainly due to the lack of understanding of what Performance Consultancy is. I persisted and we were able to develop templates and processes around the model that Nigel advocates. This was at a time when the organisation was demanding more F2F training delivery. Thus here we were, on the one hand trying to move the organisation out of the Training Ghetto and on the other hand we had an increased demand for classroom training. The learning culture of the organisation needed influencing.

So in summary, reflecting on my experience, I have learnt three things about L&D and it’s positioning in the organisation:

1. L&D should be as close to or have an active personal relationship with the business – they do not need (as I discovered) Business Partners to add another layer to the process.

2. L&D needs to continue to look at innovative and renewed approaches to learning and actively influence the learning culture of the organisation.

3. L&D needs to be aligned directly, and I would go as far as to say , be jointly accountable with business on bottom line results and achievements.

So where should L&D sit – well if I ran an organisation I would have a centralised L&D function directly aligned to business via relationship management (some call it a Client Manager) approach and have L&D outcomes and measures linked to business KPIs.

If business did not deliver then L&D did not deliver – bold and daring – but in my view if we are going to ever get that dreaded seat at the table we need to stick our neck on the line.

So what do you think, where should L&D sit in the organisation?

Till next time, take care…



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 !

Practice what we Preach

Over the last few days I have received notifications of new blogs posted by various L&D professionals. As I opened one after the other I noticed a very alarming trend.

We are in L&D and we advocate short sharp bits of information for our learners.  We tell our designers that people should not be made to read longer than 10 mins during a learning session.  We advocate modularisation of learning. We speak about chunking information into small pieces.

So I open the first blog and what do I see over 3 pages of writing. I open up the next one, over 4 pages of writing. So I give up and guess what, unfortunately I don’t read any further.

Now I know I am new to blogging and that there are more qualified people out there to talk about blogging, but one thing I do know, if you are expecting me (and maybe others) to read 3, 4 or 5 pages of writing then I think you need to start practicing what you (and I) preach.

This is why Twitter is also so successful – because you only have 140 characters to say what you want to say.

If you want your blog to be read and be successful think about been brief and succinct – would you ask one of your learners to read what you just wrote and is this the right length/amount for the message you wish to convey. If not then do a part 1, part 2 or even a part 3 but don’t write reams and reams because not many will be reading it.