Campaigns, scaffolding and avoiding the sheep dip – it’s all about the blend

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Written by Sam Taylor on 4 July 2016

As someone who has worked in e-learning for 16 years, I still feel there’s a misunderstanding about how learning technology can help development.

It still feels as if we’re looking at a competition: e-learning vs face to face.

That it’s an either/or decision. And it’s not.

Ultimately everything I do is about “learning”. It’s about finding a solution to a problem the business is facing, and tackling that problem in the most effective and relevant way.

It’s about moving away from a one-off solution to a problem – because we know that doesn’t work. 

It’s about analysing a problem and breaking the learning into smaller parts and then selecting the right way of meeting that learning need. 

It’s about analysing the problems and working out when and how a learner may come across this – is it something that’s just in time, or a behaviour change that requires greater work?

Opportunities to think differently

In my current role we have the unique opportunity to develop pretty much our entire offering from scratch. We want to take this chance to step away from the traditional corporate chalk and talk, and provide just in time resources.  

We’re guided by the principles of wanting to help colleagues be and deliver their best; to help colleagues be self-sufficient – helping them learn how to learn (from their experiences) and to provide support in achieving this.

We recognise that where there may have been limited development opportunities, or previous experience has purely been based around classroom experiences, moving to something that is more heavily performance support or digitally driven could cause some unease or just not be used at all.    

Solving the problem

We’re trying to address this in two ways.

Firstly by building a campaign about taking time to learn.

Every month we’ll identify a number of freely available resources that we’ll share with the business in a newsletter and on the intranet.

None of these resources will take more than an investment of ten minutes of their time.

It might be a discussion, a reflection, a TED talk, a useful article tied against topics which matter to our audience.

We’ll use this to promote continual professional development and also reflective practice.

Secondly, it’s also about guiding colleagues along the way – building in signposting for those who need it.

By creating scaffolding around a collection of resources and other media (be it classroom or digital content) we create the opportunity for learners to have that guidance and support.

It provides a clear path for those who want or need it.

  • We offer diagnostics to target the development which is right for the learner’s level of knowledge, instead of sheep dipping everyone through the same experience. The results can direct learners to specific parts of the content.
  • We chunk the content into answers to questions learners may pose, and ensure a story is created with the development offered.  It’s not about just dumping a series of resources together and hoping it tells the story by itself.

These are our plans for developing a learning culture within a rapidly expanding business… the proof will be in the pudding!


About the author

Sam Taylor is a Digital Development Manager whose passion is modernising learning. Sam can be contacted through Twitter @samt_el

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