December Newsletter 2015

THE STRAND – the latest on learning from WillowDNA

December 2015 Edition

December Round Up

Each month we take a look at some of the most interesting research and articles on online learning, social learning and technology.  

Organisations need to make learning hard

One of our favourite articles this month comes from the Harvard Business Review, where Dorothy Leonard, Professor of Business Administration Emerita at Harvard Business School  argues that if learning is easy, it’s probably not working.  This gives real food for thought for organisations with huge focusses on performance support.

Where environments are complex, the pace of change is rapid and factors such as increased competition, budget pressures and changing workforce, the application of skills in an ever changing landscape are critical.  

‘Both learners and teachers confuse performance during training (termed “retrieval strength”) with long-term retention and the ability to apply the lessons (“storage strength”)…real learning – that is, the kind which embeds knowledge and skills in long-term memory – is never simple”

To strengthen mental storage and retrieval at point of need, Leonard suggests that using a range of strategies, interleaving different modes of learning and content types to build as many connections as possible.

Performance Catalysts

On the WillowDNA blog this month, we discuss the new learning professional and their role as Performance Catalysts.

‘A catalyst acts in a unique way to make a lower barrier to cause a reaction to happen. Putting the right people together in the right environment at the right time with right tools, that’s how we catalyse that learning’. – Tom Spiglanin.

Whilst much of the current discourse in L&D is about the Learning Revolution and questions about the very survival of the role in organisations, we offers an insight into the critical role learning professionals will take in achieving the strategic goals of orgainsations and why their role is more important than ever.

Book Review

With Christmas upon us and time for reading being squeezed by christmas parties, feeding the christmas cake and last minute present buying, this month’s book review is for the concise, 76 page publication from Donald H Taylor:

Webinar Master: Your Short Guide to Successful Webinars
Donald H Taylor

Donald H Taylor in his role as Chairman on the Learning and Skills Group has hosted more webinars than most of us have ever attended!  In his many years working with presenters from a range of backgrounds delivering online sessions, Taylor shares with us his reflections and advice on what constitutes the most engaging and successful webinars.

This short book is practical in focus and provides plenty of checklists that will aid in the planning and delivery of your next webinar.  But more than that, it’s Taylor’s opportunity to share his passion for the medium – it’s clear that in his view, webinars are in no way the face to face presentation’s poor relationship.

They provide an opportunity for collaboration across environments and timezones unrivalled by many other mediums.  This book can help you make the most of this cost effective, wide reaching presentation channel.


WillowDNA working with one of the UK’s leading retailers to transform safety training

WillowDNA are delighted to working on a major new safety programme using an innovative mix of video, scenarios, ebooks and facilitated social learning.  Keep an eye out for more on this in the coming months.

WillowDNA at Learning Technologies
It’s just 7 weeks to the 2016 Learning Technologies and Learning and Skills Conference and Exhibition at London Olympia.  WillowDNA will be there on 3rd and 4rd February at stand L12.

This month on Learning Now Radio

If you haven’t subscribed already, then pop over to iTunes or Soundcloud today to catch interviews with Mike Collins at DPG PLC, David Kelly from the e-Learning Guild, Jane Bozarth, Clark Quinn and John Delano of Saltbox.  WillowDNA are delighted to support LNRadio with our very own Lisa Minogue-White co-hosting alongside the wonderful Colin Steed.


Get your organisation ready to learn – a two part insight from Ruth Kustoff

Although there is a huge amount of choice and options open to anyone looking to address a learning need, the organisational culture and its readiness to turn learning and insight into performance change is the critical building block.  In a two part LinkedIn Pulse article, Ruth Kustoff at Knowledge Advisors explores what typifies a learning organisation and why its critical to business success.Greet 2016 with a smile

On a lighter note and get you motivated for the new year, this quick post from CMD provides ’18 ways to be more positive in the office’.  We particular endorse Health and Wellbeing (with many avid cyclists in the WillowDNA team!) and of course, collaboration!


Webinar: Performance Catalysts – the future of Learning and Development
20th January 2015 2pm GMT

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. 

Register today and join us for a webinar that will provide great inspiration for your learning strategy in 2016.

Learning Awards 2016
Thursday 4th February 2016 7.30pm

We are delighted that our partners Rock and A Hard Place Learning have been shortlisted for Learning Start Up Company of the year at the 2016 Learning Awards.

The winners will be announced at the gala dinner on 4th February 2016.


On Performance Catalysts
This month’s video – Following the ‘Secret Learning Life of Managers’ event, Lisa Minogue-White talks about the changing L&D mindset and its relationship to strategic success



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