My firm is relatively small and has so far only used instructor-led learning. Now it's time to catch up with the rest of the world and start using technogy.
I am not in L&D, in your language I'd be a SME, but part of my role is the development of future talent and so emcompasses training / learning. I found the conference extremely helpful (not least to start learning the lingo - LMS, SME, twitter, open source, etc - 2 days ago I didn't have much of a clue!). My challenge now is to take what I have learned and formulate a strategy for bringing learning technologies to my firm.
I am not working alone, my colleague in L&D was also at the conference but, like me, she has not used learning technology before. I'd be very grateful for any tips, hints, pitfalls to avoid, that you can give me from your experience.
Emma, you are actually in a great position! You can learn the lessons of the past 10 years and steam ahead in the new age of learning. I'm sure lots of people will offer you advice, help, etc. For my part, can I point you to my website - www.c4lpt.co.uk - where you will lots of free resources about the tools and technologies, and also a free Guide to Social Learning, which will help you with some of the terminology and provide some context. Good luck as you begin your planning.
Emma, in my experience, the best advice is to start with something small & relatively easy to master, which meets a real business need & grow from there. If you try to run too fast, it's very easy to put people off. You might like the idea of building a social network within the organisation (using ELGG or MAHARA), but it might be easier to ease in using blogging or a simple wiki (see http://www.wikispaces.com)
Emma, welcome to the online community. I couldn't put it better than Keith, when he says "start with something small & relatively easy to master, which meets a real business need & grow from there". Always begin with the business need and find the technology to help. Of course it may be that technology is not useful, but Jane Hart's sites are a great place to start.
If there's anything more that you think we could be doing in the community to support you, please do drop me a mail via this site.
I'm with Keith too; but let put it slightly differently. Look at what issue you want to address before you get into how to deliver it! What you need to look for is the "low hanging fruit" - a skills issue that's critical to the business, and ideally one in which a role model already exists - and so the issue facing you is to get others to do it the way the role model's doing it! Hope that helps.
And one more to add - beware inflated expectations! Whatever you do, Emma, don't say "this stuff is fantastic!" Scepticism and "it looked alright but I'm not sure if it would work for us - perhaps we could just try ..." That'll work a treat!
Don's suggestion to look at Jane's resources is a good one. However, I would warn that her elearning pick of the day can become slightly intimidating if you're new to the scene. So I would start by looking at her top ten series. I would also suggest that you go to YouTube and do a search on CommonCraft. Lee le Fever does a fantastic job of explaining social media tools in a way that is simple without being patronising.
Once you have learned about RSS feeds, subscribe to a few blogs. Many of us in this space have one (or more), but (said she, modestly) you could do worse than to start with my top 20 list in TrainingZone (part 1 and part 2).
I was forced to be subversive when I started to use technology-based learning. I told the story in another ning group (don't know if you'll be able to see it without becoming a member... worth a try!
But what you will find is that this community is unstintingly generous with what they know. Unlike the ethos that still drives so many of the commercial enterprises that employ us, we are all about enabling, empowering, and just giving one another a good old fashioned leg up, to help you reach a place you couldn't get to alone.
Totally agree with Karen - one of the brilliant things about L&D is that we share experiences, tools and thinking willingly and unselfishly. So one tip would be to ask questions if you have them, like you are doing! Use forums like these, follow the right people on Twitter, get into LinkedIn, accept the numerous free L&D conference invitations you can find...
Stakeholder management is key - think about who is going to be affected by this, who can make or break projects, and get yourself a senior, client-facing sponsor - someone that can put their name to the initiative to give it umph. It's easy for people to say 'no' to L&D spend and effort, especially at the moment - if you have someone who is making money backing you, you gain much more credibility.
Don't underestimate the time and effort to get learning technologies to work. Building the content is the easy bit. Getting people to use it is where the hard work begins. If you have marketing resource (especially internal communications), get them involved.
Think about the ROI of the tools - how will you measure it, and how can you demonstrate the value to the business in cash terms? And yes, a 'quick win' to demonstrate that these things can work would be a great start. Graduates and young people are digitally native - graduate programmes could be a good place to start.
Hi Emma, Just signed up to this site and having joined L & D only 2.5 years ago can relate to what you are going through. The great news is that you will be joining a very helpful community of people so keeping asking all those questions!
I agree with Andrew above, coming form a sales background getting the buy-in of the stakeholders is key. Remember that Motivational and Environmental factors will heavily influence whether people use the skills ad knowledge that they pick up from learning programmes. Are these factors adressed in your action plan, nearly always these aspects sit with the stakeholders
Do your colleagues work across a number of locations? Working in Xerox and looking after a number of countries across Europe we have invested in Virtual classroom technology. Working with Adobe Connect software. Our sales induction programme now uses this heavily and any partners we contract with will need to integrate this capability into their offer. We were running skills roleplays using it the other week and although its a steep learning curve the results have been very encouraging. It meets the business need for low cost training in bite size chunks. Hope you are settling in well!
Hi Emma, I agree also with Keith's point. We have a saying "Go slow to go fast" that seems to capture our strategy with social media tools and elearning. Our Firm has identified a small number of key strategic priorities and technology is being used to support those e.g. Blogs, Wikis etc. I see L&D's role as being at the forefront of best practice and how the SME's can get the best from these tools. Like us, a lot of people in orgainsations are getting up to speed with new techs, don't know where to start and look at the product/'gadget' without thiking through the purpose and outcomes they want to achieve. Its a steep learning curve but we need to get up to speed quickly with a number of different tools. I've found this daunting at first but have followed Jane Hart's advice and started with a few top tools and discover what they can do first. Its easy to get lost in the large volume of tools out there. A bit of familiarity on a few small test projects allows you to present to the business the pros and cons of a particular tool quickly.
Depends on your priroities. Sounds like you have been boimbarded with ideas but you don't need to do all at once! Start from what you know and what you need. Start supported and then gradually develop into being more autonomous. You could get off the shelf e-learning and or create bespoke hosted by an experienced provider who can hold your hand and you can learn from them. They can manage the tracking - if that is what you need. If cost is an issue, look at low cost online delivery - developing your intranet and - but make it easy to access. They could also advise on websites, and social networking. Tehn gradaully you can take control.
ps I'm not from a provider and work in L&D but used to be!