Webinar from WillowDNA – Performance Catalysts

This month’s Willow Webinar will explore the role of L&D in the new world of work and introduces the concept of Performance Catalyst. From what you need to know about technology, how to identify the right type of learning solution aligned to business activities through to tips for evaluation, this webinar will explore what the new learning professional will look like.

e-Learning Awards 2015 Gala evening

WillowDNA are delighted to have been shortlisted in 4 categories for the 2015 e-learning awards. Amongst those categories is ‘e-learning company of year’, so the entire team are feel rather proud at the moment!

The winners will be announced at the gala evening celebration, taking place at the Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster, London on 25th November. Keep at eye on the twitter feed for #elawards and our twitter page @willowDNA to watch the results come in.

Webinar from WillowDNA – using learning scaffolds to tackle tough subjects

Debbie Lawley and Lisa Minogue-White will be in conversation on learning scaffolds – an approach to online learning design that delivers an effective blend of formal and informal content to tackle more challenging subjects.

Sign up for this webinar and we look forward to seeing you there.

WillowDNA speaking at DevLearn 2015 – Using the Power of Online Communities to Supercharge Your Learning

Returning to the world’s leading e-learning conference, WillowDNA are delighted to contribute to this fantastic event. This year, Lisa Minogue-White, Director of Learning Solutions is exploring how communities are key to effective learning.

One of the major challenges facing organizations is getting the balance between formal and informal right. Capitalizing on the benefits of social learning requires the right environment to facilitate it. The most successful communities have clarity of purpose, support from wider stakeholders, an engaged hub of participants, and a skilled facilitator to nurture it.

The session is for anyone interested in creating a sustainable and effective social learning strategy for their organization, understanding the benefits of a community approach and the right balance between structure and exploration is key.

To register for DevLearn, visit the e-Learning Guild event site

Insights from DevLearn Day 1

iStock_000027129253Medium (1)As always, it’s been an agenda packed to the brim – as a conference the variety and volume of sessions is always impressive and this year, the content has continued to deliver. Some of the key insights I wanted to share were a few key messages from a session by Chris Nekvinda at Cannon Financial Institute. When the board express concerns about social learning and the old objection of ‘what if they tell each other the wrong thing” remember this: ‘The herd will correct incorrect information’ I’ve seen this play out in many organisations and communities of practice.  Where there may have been a reluctance to use community platforms, have user generated content or discussion boards, in reality it ends up being self policed.  Members of the community will critique and review, either challenging or clarifying a position or perhaps even acknowledging that this new view is actually more reflective of working reality than previous held beliefs!  The benefits massively outweigh the limited examples of incorrect input, so it should not be a barrier to taking a more social connected view of learning. The other key takeaway was when you think about the word repository, here in the US there is a link to funeral homes, so what does a content repository imply?  That its the place content goes to lay in repose!  If you are generating huge amounts of learning content but it is laying in repose, then it is time to take a new look at what you are doing!  What do people really use?  Where are they going to find what they need if they are not going to the content you generate?  It’s a useful reminder of keeping the need at the forefront, rather than jumping to a solution.

WillowDNA at Learning Live – Practical personalisation: Creating a learning environment for one and for all

As part of the LPi’s Learning Live conference, Lisa Minogue-White from WillowDNA will facilitate a practical session to help you develop a strategic plan to deliver practical personalisation through learning ecosystems

  • Building the architecture – what does that imply and what skills are needed to make it happen
  • Designing your learning ecosystem – understanding the needs of the learner, the organisation and making sense of what you already have
  • The role of formal learning in the ecosystem – developing academies and the content, tools and skills you need
  • The role of communities and social learning in the ecosystem – fostering collaboration, knowledge sharing and the tools and skills you need
  • Getting started – bringing the streams together to formulate your ecosystem plan

For tickets for Learning Live, visit the LPi site and find out more about the exciting line up for the conference

The future of blended learning – reflections from the e-Learning Network event

Yesterday saw the first regional ELN event for 2015 with a packed house joining us in the beautiful Bristol and Bath Science Park. The focus of day was on The Future of The Blend and I wanted to share with you my reflections from a superb event.

CIPD L&D Show 2015 – The new age of L&D

WillowDNA CIPD L&D ShowHaving been to the CIPD L&D show (and its predecessor CIPD HRD) for many years now, the 2015 show marked a shift in theme, with a clear emphasis on the changing role of L&D.   This isn’t a new topic, but what has changed is the amount of focus devoted to it at the show.  From truly effective blended learning, what neuroscience can bring bear on learning design and defining the L&D skill-set, the conversations are focussed more squarely on giving L&D a voice when it comes to the strategic and transformative conversations happening in organisations. I captured my reflections on the key themes in this vlog, so take a look and join in the debate – what is the role of L&D today and what will it need to be in the future?

How award winning e-learning gets made – round up from the e-Learning Network event at BT Tower

ELN LogoWell first off, hats off to the ELN team – having been a board member previously, I know just how much dedication, time and attention it takes to just keep the show on the road,  But this board has set their sights to transformation and as well as launching an all new website, they have launched a new timetable of events, including a number free to all members.  Yesterday was the first of these and it was a triumph! Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 12.16.08So to the event itself – the focus on ‘how great e-learning gets made’ provided not only advice on submitting your project for an award but insight into those projects who secured gold at the 2014 awards.  As we were on the judging panel last year, we took a year out from the awards to give back to a team who work hard to advanced the practice of online learning through ensuring the best stuff gets acknowledged and the lessons shared with practitioners.  That’s what this session was all about: the vendors and clients who through close working relationships and an open collaborative approach create great learning. It led to several takeaways for me, or rather things that I recognise as core of how we work at WillowDNA and why our work has won awards.

  • A light but appropriate touch with project management, with the greatest focus on learning designers who own and manage the deliverable.

Our learning designers have always been the key client contact when work is being scoped, developed, delivered and evaluated.  They are there for the long term and its this relationship that is key.  That was a common theme for others too in terms of a critical success factor, in fact many companies have reorganised themselves around this approach.  The reason this is so important is the skills of relationship building with your SMEs and ensuring they are in on way excluded from the process of learning design is key to a successful outcome.  It’s their knowledge and insight that gives the content its unique flavour, the learning designer’s role is to help bring it to life in the most appropriate, engaging and effective way.  Taking everyone on the journey is very important.

  • Investing in professional learning design and development services pays off for your critical programmes, but is well complimented by short sharp video and media content internal teams can create and refresh regularly

With the explosion in rapid development tools, its created something of a hinter land for content development.   The best vendors recognise what teams can do for themselves and should foster and facilitate that where they can.  The story from BT and their Short Sharp Videos (SSV) is a great example of this – their team is creating quick engaging insights for delivery to business areas where change is rapid and knowledge is critical.  In this environment, quick engagements that are delivered on the fly are effective, easily swapped out and accessible. ScreenShot2013-04-15at18.38.49In contrast, where learning facilitates important accreditation or certification,  deals with difficult or controversial subjects or is critical to reputation or compliance, investment in professional services can be a very fruitful investment.  Our work with the IPA on their certification programmes certain bears that out, where the qualifications are critical to the professional bodies reputation and membership revenue, as well as essential for learner’s career progression in a competitive industry.

  • Understanding the learning need and required outcome for the business is a given, but ensure you also factor in when and where your learners will be learning

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 12.17.56In a multi device, multi screen world understanding which device your learner will pick up to engage with learning and for what purpose is a critical part of learning design.  Much is made of responsive design and for certain needs, its incredibly effective.  But not all content suits a smartphone screen real estate and responsive design requires a different ground up design approach, delivering content comes with both opportunities and constraints.  Its why asking the question of what learning will happen, where and on what device is crucial. Often companion content is highly effective: our work on the high profile Preparing for Revalidation programme for the Royal College of Physicians features a companion app that provides quick checklist and planning guidance for developing a doctor’s portfolio as well as useful tips for the revalidation interview.  Access to videos, podcasts and quick quizzes also suit a smaller device. But mobile of course can also mean tablet and that’s where the opportunities for imagination and interaction really come into their own.  The tactile nature of the device enables interaction and engagement at a deeper level and is ideal for product training, game based content and provides opportunities for more attractive and effective navigation. Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 12.45.47That’s where discussions over responsive vs device appropriate become very interesting – if you content warrants sophisticated interaction (such as simulations) then tablet and desktop content complimented by smartphone specific content can work well.  Where the driver is accessibility to learning content wherever you are on whatever device, responsive could be the answer.  In the end, it all comes down engagement with everyone who will benefit from a solution that truly facilitates learning. When choosing your learning partner, remember to scrutinise this and get under the skin of how they work with you and everyone important to the project.  Its one of the most important predictors of success and something we’d like to think we are really rather good at 🙂

Learning Technologies 2015 Round Up

Thank you to everyone who visited us and came along to our seminar at Learning Technologies.  Just was we expected, it was bigger than ever, with a record breaking crowd on Wednesday looking for inspiration, innovation and above all, great conversations. For those who couldn’t make it to the show, Lisa recorded a quick round up of the key topics under discussion at Learning Technologies which gives an interesting insight into the themes you can expect to see under discussion throughout 2015. As you can see, its fresh from the show and fresh from her bike ride into work! Lisa’s LT2015 Round Up