Learning Technologies

Learning Technologies 2018 in Review: Microlearning, Video & Social Focus

After working with a much more diverse range of clients during 2017 and having felt my outlook as an Instructional Designer change, I was very intrigued to see what the atmosphere would be like at Europe’s leading L&D exhibition for 2018.

One thing was for certain – I did not expect the level of turnout that greeted me as I entered the Olympia centre. Everywhere I looked I could see bustling crowds of people listening to a wide range of speakers from different nations and business backgrounds; sharing their most important messages for the industry going forwards into the new year. But just what exactly were these messages? Maybe more importantly were any of them worth paying attention to?

Well the short answer is yes, but it may not be the ones you think. As I walked around trying to find the most controversial or up and coming trend, keeping one eye out for unexpected or unusual topics, I couldn’t help but notice how popular the tried and true discussion points were still, despite their relatively aged positions in the industry.


Learning Technologies


Microlearning still retained a solid and noticeable position, with multiple speakers dedicating their stage time to the deeper application of its potential. For me, and the rest of the team at WillowDNA, this proved just as exciting as any of the more fringe discussions like the role of AI chat bots in elearning and so on. It showed just how innovative and pioneering WillowDNA was over a decade ago when it first emerged on the organisational learning scene.

If microlearning is still being discussed and explored in 2018, then it is definitely a mode of learning that is here to stay. This is good news for our business as microlearning was a founding tenant of our cloud based LMS Pathway.

But it wasn’t just microlearning that retained its relevance in the 2018 conference. Seminars related to social learning technology generated a fair amount of interest, with the fostering of a user driven learning culture seemingly tapping into the ascendancy of social media within the wider world.

Ease of access and consumption convenience are facets that bleed over between social and microlearning, which could explain microlearning’s impressive buoyancy in contemporary debate. While social learning as an industry term is not a new phenomenon, by the sounds of it, the true potential and scope within elearning has yet to reach its peak. While being fairly circumstantial from business to business, social learning still has a place at the forefront of L&D debate.

Video based content also boasted a healthy contingent of speakers, who focused on angles from knowledge retention and inciting culture change to instant gratification through bite-size knowledge clips. Video as a content medium is incredibly potent, but similarly to social learning assets, it must be rendered and deployed carefully and conscientiously. We will cover the details of its effectiveness in the near future, looking into research conducted by the Fosway Group, but being emphasised within several talks indicates video based learning is still growing into its role within L&D.

These well-known L&D topics are apparently still at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds despite newer terms such as Alternate Reality and AI starting to establish beach heads in wider discourse.

I am by no means writing off these fledgling additions to the L&D arsenal, but with WillowDNA’s decade-long championing of microlearning being a case in point, things take time to emerge as dominant learning solutions. Whether that’s because the sceptics amongst us demand rigour and endurance from hot trends before accepting them or some parts of the industry arrive later to the party, the same will apply to these emerging sub-fields.

I suspect it will be some time before we see them being discussed as confidently and vigorously as the big three, Micro, Social and Video – which for me, the 2018 Learning Technologies exhibition seemed to confirm.

Rory Birch – Instructional Designer, WillowDNA 


Contact us to find out how at WillowDNA we capture social, video and microlearning within the heart of our learning solutions.

Social learning in corporate training

Is Social Learning Part of Your Blend?

Hello again from WillowDNA! This is the first instalment of a regular blog series focusing on the hot topics within the world of e-learning. Today’s focus is on the growing influence of social learning strategies.

We know from recent studies that social learning is in high demand from learners.

One example of how WillowDNA can facilitate this new trend, is through the use of message boards within our LMS, which provide a space where users can compare their learning experiences and also discuss specific aspects of the content. This really brings home the social media feel that is transforming the e-learning game, and is being received by our client’s learners and tutors with great enthusiasm.

Not only does it give their audience a voice and an opportunity for them to contribute to the learning, it also exposes their individual experiences which helps to transfer learning back into the workplace.

Discussion boards for social learning


Benefits of Social Learning

Substantial analysis into the benefits of social learning has been conducted and making employees feel like they are contributing to a larger goal or joint mission seems to be an important take away factor. Therefore, building in LMS functionality that allows learners to contribute to their learning experience can really maximise this asset that social learning provides. Pathway can also facilitate this, with the ability for learners to upload content to a portfolio, which can be viewed by a tutor who can then share uploads with the rest of the cohort to generate discussion.

By allowing learners to contribute content at key stages along the learning experience, a collaborative spirit can be fostered, and with tutors or SME guidance, this learner input can be incorporated into the overall content stream. For certain professions that are highly practical and often require behavioural change, such as sales, the ability to quickly put into practice what you have recently learnt from content is invaluable.

For example, sales reps in the field could use their smartphones to quickly record and share recent experiences and best practice with their colleagues, providing they use an LMS that supports learner contribution. The option to trial and test content in the field affords learners more confidence in their e-learning solution and provides a faster pace to their learning experience.

We are implementing this research in the construction of our online Sales Training Academy and will hopefully yield the clear benefits that social learning methods can provide to our learners.

Keep an eye out for upcoming WillowDNA blog posts for further insights.

Pathway360 Content Curation, Course Creation and Social Learning Tool

Pathway360: LMS, Content Curation, Course Creation & Social Learning – Integrated

The team at WillowDNA are delighted to announce the launch of Pathway360 – the complete online learning platform for organisations of all shapes and sizes.  We’ve been working hard to create a new product that offers an integrated approach to content curation, course creation and social learning, which would be scalable for organisations of all shapes and sizes.

Pathway360 Content Curation, Course Creation and Social Learning Tool

Starting with just 100 users, Pathway360 brings the power of online learning of everyone and goes beyond the typical course catalogue approach. It’s also been a fantastic opportunity to work with our colleagues at SkillPill to bring their comprehensive micro-learning catalogue to Pathway and the award winning team at gomo, whose responsive rapid development tool is a firm favourite here at WillowDNA.


If you want to find out more, download our Pathway360 Brochure (PDF) and read about it here on our site.

Performance is more than support – Performance Catalysts

So our final instalment of our series, we look at performance in the context of innovation and how performance catalysts (people who help build new connections, bring together different factors and create supporting environments) are key.  Inspired by my conversations and reading the work of Tom Spiglanin, the role of performance catalysts could be a useful way to support learning and development ensure they align with the heart of business performance.

Performance catalysts

Performance catalysts making connections, curating great content and insights, facilitating communities and more…

Example: new product development, breaking a new market


This is where the organisation as a whole needs to align behind a performance culture that encourages experimentation and analysis, investment in appropriate technology, understanding of how to engage through communications and content.  But perhaps more important than this, that each individual in an organisation can positively contribute to the performance of others when given the tools and appropriate support (which is where the learning team come in!).  Innovation and breakthroughs don’t just arise from an organised brainstorming sessions and generating ideas at the veracious rate of James Dyson and Jonny Ives is not an everyday occurrence.  But may small improvements can amount to significant business value and of course encourage conditions where those breakthroughs are more likely to happen.  This takes a level engagement much deeper than an ‘idea of the month’ competition – Amy Brann in her book ‘Engaged’ is a great starter in developing the conditions for performance in organisations, informed by research into neuroscience as it relates to work.  It’s a significant topic on its own, but Brann’s books are a great place to start.

Goal setting

This is where assertive and focussed learning team that can talk the language of the business comes into its own.  There may not be a stated performance gap but exploring current practices and current performance levels, learning teams working as performance consultants can help identify opportunities for improvement or where talents and knowledge are being under utilised.  Tangible goal setting with targets then become a two way street, not just delivered from the board but also suggested by the business themselves.


Leading on from goal setting, communities are fertile ground for identifying performance improvements, challenging the status quo, sharing ideas from outside the business and sharing ways in which they have found efficiencies, better tools, great suppliers etc.  The challenge here is to give these communities clear purpose.  Its clear how much benefit can be derived through improving knowledge sharing and collaboration so it’s a common frustration when communities just don’t stick.  Most often that’s because they are imposed upon an organisation as a ‘new initiative’ – low participation rates and a quick decline into obscurity follow.  Communities thrive when they are addressing real points of pain experienced right now and have appropriate facilitation and technology support to make it easy to contribute and access.  Once established and trust built between community participants, innovation communities can then be established.  Organisations need to be realistic – multi million dollar ideas are not going to generated on a weekly basis but the opportunity to take part in this type of activity can be highly motivating and rewarding.  Those organisations will to accommodate some risk taking are more likely to find that USP and have happier employees! 

Tools and Tech

Collaboration platforms that enable the quick sharing of content, links and research as well as upload of user created content sits at the heart of online communities.  Many organisations will already have platforms such as Salesforce Chatter, Honey, Yammer and Ning – each have their own strengths and weaknesses and adoption is often patchy.  This is a great example of tech as the enabler, not the solution.  If you have well supported communities orientated around a clear purpose for its participants, this should drive what it needs. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find communities organically emerging and using tools with which they are comfortable.  Making good choices in providing opportunities for collaboration come down to making it quick to search, quick to create and upload and content fresh.  This is where you’ll see more organisations taking the portal approach that many of our customers adopt – aggregating tools into a single portal that pulls in relevant content, enables intelligent sharing, content feeds and upload.  With improved and easier integration, it is becoming easier to create the right solution for your particular organisation and swap out elements as needed. There are other ways to support a learning culture through supporting learner generated content – tools like learn.ist for creating your own portfolio, Adobe Voice for quick animated stories, Microsoft Snip for walkthroughs, iMovies and Adobe Premiere Clip for quick video editing – all free tools and all support development of quick, disposable content.


Catalysts: This is the culmination of the new learning professional’s role – it is a multi faceted role that is truly performance focussed.  If the learning team are fulfilling the role of performance consultant, they are well connected throughout the business and able to recognise and capitalise on opportunities for individuals and teams to work together to deliver something new. Leaders are also hugely influential here through their active support of time participating in communities, space of experimentation and a measured degree of risk taking.  Of course, organisations must keep focus on delivery but to truly breakthrough in your given sector, Einstein’s very well worn quote is worth repeat just one more time ‘ Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ So we are almost at the end of this series – in our final instalment we’ll give you a quick take away summary to help inform your strategy.

Performance is more than support – performance in context

  What this performance model means for the provision of learning support in organisationstheperformance-medium So taking the performance lens to typical learning challenges, let’s finish with looking at performance in context.  To do this, I have broken down performance in a more contextual way and applied our model to each situation of the following contexts: Performance rehearsal, performance analysis, performance catalyst Today, we’ll take a look at performance rehearsal. Examples: This could range from preparing someone for their first managerial role through to highly complex skills, such as designing major structural engineering projects, conducting medical procedures, flight training etc Conditions: This requires clear communication about expectations for a given role, understanding of core work activities (i.e. the processes, tools, inputs and outputs), transfer of knowledge, mentoring, practice opportunities aligned to typical work challenges and scenarios to develop a realistic and fully aligned view of what levels of performance are needed. Where these skills are complex, rare or safety critical, investment in creating the right conditions is a much easier case to make (think flight training) but there are other areas where a safe place to explore skills acquisition can benefit, such as first time management challenges. From an organisational culture perspective, leaders need to endorse time for people to invest in development, recognise and value contributions to supporting rehearsal (though capturing and sharing case studies, volunteering as a mentor or peer reviewer, contribute as a subject matter expert into formal content development). Goal setting: For those with clear outcomes (such as engineering projects, flight deck, medical etc) it is likely that well defined measurement is in place already and that number of incidents, speed of project delivery, budget, errors, quality etc can be tracked.  This can be integrated into your performance dashboard and over time, you can track these numbers.  However for topics such as leadership, the measures can be quite subjective and a great outcome can mean different things is different contexts.  That’s where a value chain can be very useful; its a worthwhile exercise in which to engage, not only for the purposes of defining measures but its also a great tool for senior team buy in. valuechain-medium Community: Mentoring is relevant here, but there are other community activities that can be beneficial.  Peer assists are a great way for teams of people to test hypothesis, present ideas and explore options, with the support of ‘critical friends’ who, in a facilitated environment, will encourage the team to scenario plan, work through alternatives and refine their plans.  Communities are also a fertile ground for gathering business stories that can be used to build realistic and credible scenarios. Tools and Tech: For complex, highly specialist settings, investment in VR could be a viable option.  Creating physical simulations of some of these tasks has been the only way to create a realistic environment but advances in VR technology are bridging that gap.  It may never replace it entirely, but speed to competency and high performance could be accelerated. Collaborative platforms with effective search capabilities help Responsive content can enable scenario base content to be delivered across platforms but its worth considering the screen real estate of each device and how detailed an interaction you can achieve.  However, there is a great role here for mobile in the continuum of performance rehearsal into application, through reinforcing learning with refreshers, quick exercises and top tips at the point of need. People: Facilitators to support and nurture communities are key roles here – connecting experts to novices, gathering insights to build realistic scenarios, orchestrate and facilitate peer reviews are just some of the key activities they can support.  Experts in content development with specialism in interactive scenarios, video storyboarding and production can be useful here.  VR simulation development houses are growing all the time (we at WillowDNA work with virtual environment and VR specialists, Immerse Learning).  Learning professionals need to ensure they are aware of progress in these areas and most major conferences will provide demonstrations and examples of new tools.  It goes without saying the leaders and budget holders will need to be supportive here but getting buy in requires well informed learning professionals who can tap into good case studies and examples from other organisations. Next, we’ll take a look at performance analysis.

Performance Is More Than Support – People that drive learning strategy

people-lowPeople The changing nature of roles, skills and knowledge required for those in learning based professions has been apparent for a number of years.  There have been those that accuse L&D of sleepwalking into extinction at its most dramatic and a distinct gulf between what Towards Maturity regard as the ‘top deck’ and other learning development departments at a more even tempered tone. However, its should be acknowledged that learning and development can have a very tough time elevating the conversation above the catalogue and truly drive learning strategy. Current discussion has focussed much more on the part L&D themselves play in perpetuating traditional expectations of the learning function. Yet it is much more nuanced than that and the perception of learning can be quite engrained in a business, making it tough for learning and development to get the airtime they need to sell in the importance of supporting the learning journey. Whether that journey is formal or informal, there are significant and meaningful roles learning and development taking in assuring excellent performance (and by meaningful, we mean impacting the real business metrics of the business).  Learning as part of the workflow is critical to achieving business performance and should be at the heart of learning strategy.   It has perhaps never been more important in the information and imagination age.   This is where the performance lens really comes into its own and its why we’ve recently published content on learning and development as the performance catalysts. The definition of a catalyst helps contextualise the dynamics of performance and how we can go about making great decisions in improving it. It is not shackled by a particular approach, technology or model, it needs to understand the elements at play, their interactions and the barriers that may be preventing achieving the desired outcomes. It’s a term you can use as a way to frame the role learning play and help recognise how critical it is and can be. The role is multi faceted; it is a performance consultant who conducts deep analysis of a desired business outcome, the inputs that determine success, the learning needs associated with making that happen and evaluating whether the solutions have been effective.  It’s finding the right suppliers, tools and technology to provide the most appropriate mediums that best fit the context of your organisation’s performance improvement needs, as well as know what’s on the horizon that could yield further benefit.  Its understanding what you already have and whether you are maximising its value – are opportunities for mentoring, performance champions, communities and user generated content going untapped?  Are managers, leaders, recruitment strategy, talent strategy and reward aligned to supporting and perpetuating a performance culture?  Where’s the low hanging fruit?  Is it really a learning need or a hole in process, a case study unshared? In our final instalment next week, we’ll take this performance approach and explore some typical learning challenges.        

Performance is more than support – the future of learning

male tennis player in action This month we are introducing a guide for the future of learning: a 5-point framework for learning professionals to construct a holistic learning strategy that supports learning in their organisations.  Over the coming posts, it will build into a complete guide, which will later be published as an e-book.  So let’s start with understanding the environment. ‘As the ubiquity of technology fundamentally shifted the way we conduct all aspects of communication, work and learning, it created a less structured, predictable route to the end goal.  That’s a great thing – it provides choice, accessibility, widening of discourse, rapid dissemination, connection, personalisation and more…’ This is taken from our review of 2015 and what the changes to work and business mean for organisational learning.  Reflecting further on this, applying a performance lens in this ever changing social and economic environment that now typifies the status quo may be a more effective way in engaging everyone in learning; from the board to new entrants into the world of work.  Although there is significant work yet to be done to improve access to learning across the globe, advances in communication networks and supporting technology has driven a more learner driven experience to acquiring the knowledge and skills we need to achieve our learning goals. Some have drawn the conclusion that this means the end of formal learning in organisations, however it leaves out one important factor.  In an increasingly complex world, its an organisation’s unique blend of knowledge, delivery capability, product/service innovation and adaptability that make it successful.  This means context is king – you could argue every organisation needs effective leaders but clearly there is no one size fits all programme for it.  Furthermore, ‘effective leadership’ means something different because its strategic goals will need to drive what effective leadership performance looks like. …You can have the best people, best technology, best product or best lunch served in your fantastically well appointed staff restaurant (after all, we all need fuel!) but the key is in the alignment and orchestration of each of these.’ So when we look at this from a performance perspective, it helps organisations make the right choices in commissioning unique content from providers like ourselves, what it can curate from others and what it already knows that works and share it with others (as well as enable them to contribute to what will work around here). So to help bring this to life, I’ve drawn on the analogy of sport – a performance mind-set could be a given but environmental factors, skillset, technology and community all play their part.   It is a useful one in framing the position for organisational learning at a micro (individual) and macro (strategy) level. Matthew Syed, a former Olympic athlete and now organisational performance commentator and author in his recent book, Black Box Thinking explores the barriers to performance improvements.  One of the key arguments is that professional people have trouble admitting their fallibility, perceiving it as a threat to ego, to reputation. ‘It obliterates progress’.  If I reflect on my own experience of sport, I can freely admit that there is a great deal of truth in this when I reflect on my anxiety to participate in competitive sport (but with age comes less regard for dignity, so that helps enormously!).  The scrutiny, the comparisons, the frustrations have limited an openness to change and this can play out in the organisation. So how can this change?  It requires clarity of the goal and a performance focus.   Performance can help us look more holistically at the task at hand, so for the organisation, how to achieve its key strategic goal.   Taking a tennis analogy, a focus on how terrible my serve is counter-intuitive, it narrows opportunity to build on other supporting skills through a concentration on one aspect of overall performance. When we consider learning in organisations, learning needs analysis can be guilt of limiting our view, through a concentration on the goal being finding the right learning solution (which can translate into a course, piece of content or tool).  Taking an alternative approach by looking at the needs of the organisation through the variety of inputs that support better performance, we open our view.  We provide greater opportunity to capitalise on what we already have, make better informed decisions on the aspects of workflow that need to be enhanced to deliver a better outcome and understand whether it has worked. So rather than concentrate on either a particular strength (which can lead to over-reliance and stagnation) or weakness (which can frustrate and limit potential in other areas), a more rounded inclusive view gives a greater opportunity for performance improvement. Building a more holistic approach should include the following aspects:

  • Conditioning –training to develop strength and stamina needed to then execute coaching instruction: in the organisation, this means confidence in key skills, instilled from your induction through to each stage of career planning.
  • Goal setting – breaking down the areas for improvement into a more logical step wise process where improvements build upon each other. This also requires focus – disseminating the information (tried and proven technique) that is important, without overload.
  • Community support – conversations with others and understanding how their experience could be applied to my context (some of the best tennis advice came from my friend, Nigel Paine who shared with me the secret of preventing overthink). Gathering in context insights from others that have been there before you (think YouTube)
  • Tools and technology – the world of wearables, materials technology and coaching software has transformed the world of sports performance. OK, ability cannot be substituted for tech but the difference in materials and equipment spec is significant. By embracing enabling technology, it has helped my game enormously – those organisations that do the same with access to learning content and creation provide the most supportive environment for that type of performance change.
  • People – the core of performance, supported by each of the other elements. Performance does not reside in an individual role, it’s the collective efforts of all people to deliver performance, innovation and improvement.  So what becomes critical here is the orchestration and providing the right supporting roles to facilitate performance.  This includes:

Coaching – refining and moving beyond baseline levels of performance). Using both strengths and weaknesses to develop approaches suited to me (contextual performance)

Mentoring – coaches continues to learn through adapting approach and applying to different contexts and ability levels.

Role modelling – Reverse mentoring, senior team being visible in their contribution to performance strategy and content add to the richness and context of the performance environment. It gives that feedback loop into strategy by observing and understanding what’s really happening.  For my experience with Tennis, my daughter can observe my failures and will clearly become an infinitely better player than me!

Consultants – deep understanding, analysis and evaluation of current process and practices, their efficacy and identifying areas for improvement (and their associated solutions).

If we take these elements and apply them to organisational learning, it helps strategists and learning professionals better understand the type of environment and conditions you need to create, foster and evolve to survive through the information age into the emerging imagination age.  Rather than regard this as just a learning issue, reframing it as performance helps to cultivate a more strategically aligned mind-set, where learning is part of the workflow, rather than a supporting function. It also helps to inform decisions when procuring supporting technologies or investing in learning content: there may be absolute justification to become early adopters of Oculus Rift if your organisation works in complex, high risk environments, where virtual reality could become a key tool in accelerating performance.  However, equipping individuals who have specific domain knowledge with basic video capture tools and providing training on basic editing skills may yield significant results where knowledge simply needs to be make more accessible. So in an infographic, we have captured the building blocks of a performance environment and articulated indicators for a performance focussed culture.  These can be used as the basis of a diagnostic to see how performance ready your organisation is currently and what short and long term steps you need to take to get there. Future performance infographic Copyright WillowDNA 2015 In this series, we will take a look at each of these factors in more depth to build a complete picture of performance in organisations.  Its much more about just-in-time performance support, its about a performance mind-set.

The New Learning Universe – selling the vision to stakeholders

The New Learning Universe Part 2 by Sue Rennoldson, Senior Instructional Designer, WillowDNA

Not so long ago, in a galaxy not so far away, embarking on an e-learning project was a giant step for stakeholders in organisational learning. With the prospect of a lengthy, one-way development process, only the most stable subject matter was tackled. Distribution via floppy disk or CD ROM required a military-style operation.iStock_000000353963XSmall

Nowadays, however, the latest authoring tools and online platforms make relatively light work of keeping content bang up-to-date and relevant to learners. By designing a programme with bite-sized resources in a variety of media, it’s much easier to update individual items such as case studies when needed. Better still, post peer-generated case studies and promote a lively debate around them in a discussion forum, to harness the power of social, collaborative learning.

For digital natives who dip in and out of web content, watching a short video on YouTube, tweeting their opinions and networking on Facebook, all of this comes naturally. They switch between desktop and mobile devices in the office and on the move. Learners themselves are setting the pace in the new universe – just go with the flow and the sky’s the limit.

Can’t help being social

Plans for Barcelona KCA news story on today’s BBC Education site caught my eye and adds an interesting dimension to the social side of MOOCs and indeed any online programme.  Coursera, the US based MOOC provider have decided to open a network of learning hubs where online students can meet and discuss their experiences and share reflections.  As well as trying to tackle the well-documented drop out rate, the feeling is that there is an irresistible social side to learning’ that needs to be addressed. My professional background has roots in Knowledge Management and interestingly, back a decade or so ago, there was a significant effort exerted in ensuring physical environments, from offices through to entire cities were designed in such a way to incubate and foster knowledge exchange and nurture innovation through conversation and sharing of experience. I have fond memories of sitting in the audience at Henley Business School KM forum annual conferences were Professor Leif Edvinsson would show us beautiful architecture rendering of Barcelona, the ‘Knowledge City’.  These were big ambitious capital projects with learning and knowledge at their heart, which may appear to be something of a utopian but ultimately too lofty a concept to apply to the learning strategy of a typical time pressured organisation. However there is a huge amount to take from this ambition that could be applied right down to an individual online programme level.  From knowledge city to a sales academy, fostering conversation and sharing experience adds tremendous value to any interaction with a learning asset. Indeed, back in my role at Orange as Head of Knowledge Communities, although enabling technology was a key focus for the team, one of the most important lessons we sought to instil in our new community facilitators and virtual team managers was the importance of social interaction and making time for a face to face event to launch a community or team.  Why? – Because the quality of online interactions, knowledge assets created and productivity of a virtual team increased when social ties were strongest. When our customer, BPP launched their online degree programme back in 2012, although not a MOOC, they were sensitive to some of the issues that were evident from the MOOC experience.  So although their degree content is delivered exclusively online, part of the rollout included learning hubs in key locations to ensure learners had the opportunity to connect in a physical location to form study groups and action learning sets. When we developed the Performance Coaching Academy for Telefonica O2, a launch event was deemed critical in the formation of action learning sets that would provide the peer review of practice, vital in the development of coaching skills (take a look at our case study to find out more about the design as there are some useful tips for design you can apply to any online academy). Isolation has often been a criticism levelled against e-learning, yet in the past decade, much of focus in the sector has been on production values of the multimedia output, with some wonderfully visually engaging content.  Of itself this of course is not problem, as effective graphic design, user interfaces and imagery are key components in delivering popular and credible content.  Yet it is only in the past few years that we have seen these bespoke content houses start to talk about creating learning scaffolds, what makes an effective learning ecosystem and using terms like learning paths that have been long in the WillowDNA lexicon. As we discussed on the LPi webinar, that is not to say that all learners will want to take up the offer of social learning, be it online or at a face-to-face venue.   Indeed they may value the opportunity to engage in a very personalised learning experience.  But to create effective learning, online or otherwise, as an entire city or as a team of people in an organisation, the opportunity to add context, build links between concepts and create new learning together is surely something to be fostered and supported.