May 14, 2015 in Events (live blogging), CIPD L&D Show 2015

Are you equipped to lead L&D into the future?


Ruth Stuart introduces the session, encouraging us to log on to Slido for some live voting and participation during the session. You can find the session slides and the results of the Slido discussion at the bottom of this blog post.

Laura Overton started us off with an audience discussion on what challenges we (and our L&D teams) face, including:

  • IT security (in regulated environments) slows down the adoption of new technology
  • Pace of change
  • Moving to online learning
  • Stuck in the past, without the capability to deliver what needed in the future
  • How to prepare talent for the unknown
  • Getting business buy-in to the breadth and depth of the value that L&D can offer
  • Getting buy in from organisation leaders


Ruth Stuart talked about how, in this ‘VUCA world’, the only constant is change. To handle this, L&D need to be Agile, Adaptive, Ambidextrous (simultaneously pursue both short-term and long-term opportunities). L&D professionals need to be savvy, affecting & aligned, versatile, ubiquitous. The role of L&D is shifting from delivering courses to supporting performance . L&D needs to focus on:

  • Business Alignment
  • Using metrics effectively (not obsessing over ROI, but having line of sight from what we do to what matters for the organisation)
  • Learning at the point of need (using technology to enable)
  • Behavioural science (applying new insights whilst avoiding fads)
  • Social learning (not just online, also how we facilitate conversations)
  • Content curation (balancing creating + curating user-generated content).


Recent CIPD/Towards Maturity research identified lots of gaps in capabilities e.g. 93% of respondents identified ‘Using social media effectively’ as a priority, with only 15% currently having this in-house. 96% identified ‘programme evaluation’ as a priority, with only 41% currently having this in-house. Similar gaps were identified for: blended learning delivery, supporting learners online, digital content development, marketing & stakeholder engagement, business planning. See this link for a recent CIPD/Towards Maturity report and the CIPD Learning & Development 2015 survey.

Laura talked about the Towards Maturity benchmarking service, and the Towards Maturity Index, looking at what people in the top 10% are doing; they’re improving the application of learning in the workplace, responding faster to changing business conditions, and increasing productivity. How are the top 10% doing this?

  • By making alignment to business need a priority
  • By supporting the full learning continuum (supporting learning beyond the course)
  • By allocating double the budget to technology (not just LMS & e-learning, but double user-generated content, external video, blogs, curation, content in the cloud, and badges)
  • By engaging with data-driven decision making (auditing the skills of L&D teams, using learning analytics to improve service, and using benchmarking as a performance improvement tool).
  • By investing in L&D capabilities (programme evaluation, supporting learners online, online or blended learning delivery, using social media effectively, digital content development, marketing and stakeholder engagement, instructional design, delivery vs. virtual classroom, business planning).


Lisa Johnson then introduced Barnardo’s journey from a very traditional training approach to the current situation (where they are one of the top deck examples that Laura Overton referred to). Their approach to learning includes eLearning, Twitter, WIKIS , blogs, eBooks, MOOCs, YouTube, Webinars, courses, seminars, Meetups, sharing, conferences, and development days. This hasn’t been an overnight change, with now approaches steadily being introduced into the mix. Lisa talked about the amazing amount of free content available via the internet. As a charity, Barnardo’s have to be mindful of how they spend their money and they work hard to leverage the learning from anything the L&D team learn (e.g. if you attend a conference, share the learning with the rest of the team). There is a real structure to developing the L&D team, applying a learning cycle to team development and making sure that learning is shared across the team. (It strikes me that helping the L&D team to learn well makes a lot of sense!).

In working in this way, Barnardo’s have:

  • Seen improved business relationships
  • Seen greater alignment to needs
  • Have a more motivated and skilled team
  • Reached more learners (doubled the number of delegates reached in one year)
  • Reduced support calls to help desks (by analysing queries and responding)
  • Increased willingness to participate in new initiatives
  • The joy of having other businesses approach Barnardo’s for help


Summary: Be prepared to change and adapt. Be bold, be fearless, be the best you can be.


Here are the slides from the session:


And here are the results from the interactive Slido discussion throughout the session (and it is great to see Ruth, Laura, and Lisa role-modelling good approaches to learning in the way they ran the session and have captured learning from everybody):


1) What challenges are you and your L&D team facing?

  • Lack of sponsorship from leaders No available technology Very old fashioned learning culture Business is going through constant change
  • Reduced budgets, finding the right blend of learning
  • meeting the business needs with limited resource
  • Training teams comfortable with “traditional training” faced with such a large variety of new tech and tools that are difficult to choose from ( or possible to take the time to learn!)
  • Business keep asking us for courses when we can do so much more now
  • Changing the learning culture from training to self directed supported development using a range of formats and activities.
  • Achieving objectives and adding value in a period of significant change
  • Technology, technology, technology! And expecting traditional trainers to embrace it.
  • Restructuring of Organisation and supporting Culture Change
  • Too much push for new methods of delivery, when old methods still work.
  • Keeping innovative in design
  • Designing training with limited resources
  • Digitalisation challenges and implications for people development
  • Creating agile learners, supporting them with learning to learn
  • My team and the type if training we do is stuck in the past – have they got the capability to deliver what we need in the future.
  • Moving to online learning
  • Managers’ mindset
  • The capabilities and resistance of the team in L&D to embrace new ways that may been they are not doing! But enabling
  • Cultural change – moving from process training to behavioural training
  • Measure the impact and effect of training initiatives
  • Getting the business to understand the breadth and depth of value L&D can offer
  • How to prepare our talent for the unknown
  • Getting buy in from organisation leaders
  • management are taken on for their technical ability and management development then becomes an issue
  • How can L&D connect different parts of organizations to educate and share knowledge?
  • Embracing technology, learning in other ways e.g. Moving towards digital learning. Take responsibility for learning. Communication with our HR colleagues. Embracing cultural change, getting L&D involved in behaviour and cultural change and not involving L&D once the structure has been implemented
  • Technical vs specialist skills


2) Which capabilities do you and your team need to build?

  • Internal consultancy
  • Skills important but so is the confidence to use them
  • Consultancy skills
  • Ability to be agile
  • Industry specific knowledge
  • Support online Digital content Coaching skllls for managers
  • Performance consulting skills, curation, creating different types of learning experiences – action learning, peer learning/coaching.
  • confidence to apply new skills
  • Embrace a more innovative approach/embrace Technology
  • how to influence leaders
  • Making the learning they deliver stimulating and innovative.
  • Encouraging managers to share responsibility for developing their teams and to use ‘coaching’ as part of their day to day support of individuals
  • Social media and visual design for web; with so much moving out of the classroom new issues with accessibility have become apparent and require some specialist knowledge –
  • Curating content for learners rather than sending people on courses
  • Evaluation skills
  • Supporting learners to learn
  • A positive, engaging support network
  • getting the balance right – it needs to be bite sized but shouldn’t be superficial
  • Evaluation, developing management and leadership skills
  • Trust in the technology, and ability to handle the inevitable problems confidently
  • Supporting learners online
  • Selling ideas to executive teams
  • Moving to a facilitating style rather than traditional training
  • ..ability to story tell…
  • Business awareness and partnering with teams (more tailored approach). Confidence to challenge.
  • Turning my team into consultants
  • Identifying skill gaps – proactive instead of reactive


3) What can you do differently to build priority skills?

  • Prioritise what I want the team to be able to do. Chunk it up and don’t try and do it all at once.
  • Find out more around virtual classrooms and change focus to self serve approach to compliment structured elearning
  • Plan more effectively based on overall strategy and approach rather than by contract wins/losses
  • Look at business needs more closely and align to them.
  • Check out the research first to get some direction
  • Pay attention to what learners are saying. Do the little things but do them often.
  • Ensure HR and L and D have the skills needed to influence the leadership team on the importance of training
  • Focus more heavily on impact based evaluation of learning interventions – not learner impression/ opinion of the intervention- but are they using the learning in useful/ helpful ways – are they building on the learning in future interventions?
  • Experiment and Build on success stories instead of trying to develop a global approach
  • Facilitate more social learning across the business
  • introduce development days
  • Find out what motivates the team and prioritise this, along with understanding the issues we can’t answer straight away and work on this.
  • Think smarter when it comes to delivery methods. How can we change the learning culture within the business
  • Share what we are doing and our capabilities amongst our organisation to build on our relevance and commercial capability
  • Grow the team by incorporating other areas of the business – create learning ‘champions’
  • More social & collaborative learning



(This was live-blogged during a session at the CIPD L&D show 2015 – I’ve tried to capture a faithful summary of the highlights for me but my own bias, views – and the odd typo – might well creep in.)

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