Walk this way…part 6… use accelerated learning principles

walk this wayThis is the sixth in this new series of blogs called “Walk this way”, where I am inviting you, the reader, to follow my view on what a good approach to learning would look like.

Here is an overview of the whole approach, showing clearly the 6 steps.IMG_5170

This time we will look at the 6th step – “Learning interventions are underpinned by accelerated learning principles*“.

*5 secrets of accelerated learning

My business is called “How to Accelerate Learning” and so obviously I am an advocate of accelerated learning:

  • Because it delivers results
  • It incorporates the latest thinking about learning in the best way possible (for maximum retention)
  • It incorporate great objectives as part of the process
  • It is creative, engaging and fun!

Key statistics about what accelerated learning can deliver

  • 300% improvement in retention by learners (Eliot Masie)
  • 30% cut in trainer prep time (Debbie Meddins, Atos L&D Manager after AL workshop)

If you would like to know more about The Learning Loop® and this approach, then please contact me. Or better still, consider booking onto one of the open Learning Loop courses or come to one of our Showcase events.

This is the final blog in a series of six.

“Walk this way” – the whole blog series.

©Krystyna Gadd 2016

Walk this way…part 5….. an explicit objective setting process

walk this wayThis is the fifth in this new series of blogs called “Walk this way”, where I am inviting you, the reader, to follow my view on what a good approach to learning would look like.

Here is an overview of the whole approach, showing clearly the 6 steps.IMG_5170

This time we will look at the 5th step – “There is an explicit and practical objective setting process“.

Of those people that know me well, no one would deny that I am “hot” on objectives, some might say to the point of obsession. I make no excuses for this because I truly believe that in L&D we should always “Begin with the end in mind”, as Steven Covey said. I just checked my blog history and 16 of my blogs have a mention of objectives, including one writes for consultants asking “Are you too expensive?” and another asking “Do you know how to be objective?”, which checks to see if you know the difference between aims, organisational objectives, performance objectives and learning objectives.

So why this obsession with objectives and objective setting? Well let me first put it into context, it has to be as part of the whole approach – objective setting units own will not yield results if the previous 4 steps are missing. It will however give focus to learning as part of this approach that I am putting forward. Quite simply, by having an explicit objective setting process that everyone uses, we can drill down to;

  • What the organisation needs (by looking at organisational goals and plans)
  • Select which aspects of performance you need to improve (with line managers)
  • Design the learning outcomes you need to meet the organisational needs

So here is a short video that may help you  in this topic. Would love to hear your thoughts about the importance of objectives.

This is the fifth blog in a series of six.

“Walk this way” – the whole blog series.

If you would like to know more about The Learning Loop® and this approach, then please contact me. Or better still, consider booking onto one of the open Learning Loop courses or come to one of our Showcase events.

©Krystyna Gadd 2016

Walk this way…. part 4…beginning with the end in mind

walk this wayThis is the fourth in this new series of blogs called “Walk this way”, where I am inviting you, the reader, to follow my view on what a good approach to learning would look like.

Here is an overview of the whole approach, showing clearly the 6 steps.IMG_5170

This time we will look at the 4th step – “A good needs analysis leads to a solid evaluation and appropriate design“.

Some of you may be thinking “Why has she said ‘needs analysis‘ and not ‘training needs analysis‘ or ‘learning needs analysis‘?” So in a nutshell:

  • Training Needs Analysis – the solutions are always going to be training solutions
  • Learning Needs Analysis – though the solutions may be broader, they will always be about learning
  • Needs Analysis –  the solutions may be training, learning or the analysis may uncover an organisational need unrelated to learning (e.g. poor process)

A needs analysis goes much deeper. For it to go deeper, you need to ask questions that go beyond the normal “what do they need to know, or be able to do, by the end?“. Questions like:

  • What stops them doing a good job?
  • What resources do they still need?
  • Is there a system or process that could be improved?

If you do a good needs analysis, it leads to a good, or ‘meaningful’ evaluation. Which means that the business sees the value in what is delivered. You can only do a good needs analysis if you understand how the organisation works and have some understanding of both the structure and the culture. This goes beyond the traditional remit of what an L&D professional has traditionally needed to be. Curiously, the CIPD L&D Survey from 2015 reported that only 25% of organisations could say that L&D were extremely aligned to the needs of the business. Surely this should be higher?

If you can start with the end in mind, this does not mean ignoring short-term performance but rather using this to guide towards, and to reinforce, long-term objectives. This is what the “end in mind” means. To get to that end requires much more involvement, but by delivering real business results L&D will certainly get the attention of the business. Linking to hard business metrics, L&D can position itself as an important strategic business asset rather than just a training department. Aligning L&D to the business will have many benefits.

If you do a thorough needs analysis, focussed on the business, the design of any learning, will be more appropriate to the organisation taking into account:

  • Current levels of skill and knowledge
  • Budgets
  • Time and place for learning
  • How the learners will be supported back in the workplace to imbed the learning

If you would like to know more about The Learning Loop® please contact me. Or better still, consider booking onto one of the open Learning Loop courses or come to one of our Showcase events.

This is the fourth blog in a series of six.

“Walk this way” – the whole blog series.

©Krystyna Gadd 2016

Walk this way…part 3…using a consultancy approach in L&D

walk this wayThis is the third in this new series of blogs called “Walk this way”, where I am inviting you, the reader, to follow my view on what a good approach to learning would look like.

Here is an overview of the whole approach, showing clearly the 6 steps.IMG_5170

This time we will look at the 3rd step – “Developing a consultancy approach”.

If someone says “Jump!” do you say “How high?” or “Why?” To create a really good L&D function you have to ask probing questions such as using the SPIN®-Selling which was created by Neil Rackham. Asking questions is key to building a consultancy approach.

  • Situation questions – e.g. “How would you describe the current situation?”
  • Problem questions – e.g. “How often does this happen?”
  • Implication questions – e.g. “What impact does that have on your department?
  • Need/payoff questions – e.g. “If we could solve that, how would it benefit your department?”

The benefits of following such a methodical approach will be that you will provide real solutions that deliver what is needed and get that all-important stakeholder buy-in. If you can identify needs that can be addressed by L&D versus those that would need to be met by other means you will be well on your way to improving the perception of L&D in your company.

If you would like to know more about The Learning Loop® please contact me. Or better still, consider booking onto one of the open Learning Loop courses or come to one of our Showcase events.

This is the third blog in a series of six.

“Walk this way” – the whole blog series.

©Krystyna Gadd 2016

Imagine ALL you are allowed to do is ask questions

IMG_1635What I love about the L&D community and social media are how they come together and rise to a challenge. This week, on LinkedIn and Twitter, I posed a question, which you can see clearly in this picture. Here in this blog, I have collated a great list of questions from this thread to share with you all. I hope they will help you. If you are in L&D pose some great questions of your stakeholders to help L&D be great change partners.

So here are the questions and their authors:

Sue Murfet: ‪Why?

Mark Jones:‪ What’s the outcome?

‪Michelle Spencer‪: What causes you to struggle or become frustrated?

‪Joanna Leckie‪: What do you want to achieve?

‪Garry Boon:‪ Would you look back on this in five years and say “that was the right choice?”

Niall Lavery‪: How are you going to be the best that you can be?

Gillian Gustar‪: I really like the question Garry proposes….bit of a different way of thinking about it. I’d probably ask something like ‘what is the best experience of learning you’ve had before?‪

Ben Palmer: ‪”How creative can we be”

Paul Morgan:‪ How can I help you solve your business problems

‪Peter Davies‪: Why?

Paul Morgan:‪ My other one is …How can we become impossible to

Niall Gavin:‪”What’s the least I can do to help you solve your business problem/s

‪Sarah McIlwaine: ‪How can I help you get where you need to be?

Paul Haywood: ‪What’s the problem you’re trying to fix and how will you know you’ve been successful

Malini Patel: How will you value your L&D department? Followed up with… What will do that for us a business? Followed up with… When shall we start collaborating to achieve that?

Malini Patel: What will that do?

‪Keith Hay: ‪How would you like us to support you to succeed?

Ana Teresa Calles: Why do you need me (L&D)?

Richard Hand‪: How would you like your company to think and feel in one year from now?

‪Scott Watson: ‪Why do we continue to focus on ‘delivering training’ without first clearly establishing and understanding what likely, and actual value, is to be delivered for the organisation?

Paul Tran‪: What’s it going to take for us to add value to your work and life today?

Claire Silvester‪: What do I need to keep on doing to keep you engaged ?

Freddie Guilmard: ‪What difference is this going to make?

Glen Butler: ‪What does the very best version of you look like?

Dan Walker‪: “How are you feeling?”

Steve Roberts: ‪Fast forward 6 months, what would you see happening that’s different to today?

Galal Salih:‪How could you add value?

‪Jeanette Salmon: Why are you here?

Daniel Harding: ‪What does a successful, exciting and fulfilling day at work look like for you?

Mark Jones: ‪How and where are you going to apply what you have learned? how will you know it has worked?

Adrian Stokes: What have you tried before? What are you trying to resolve (followed by at least 5 why’s)? What would happen if we did nothing? What would happen if we fixed it? How is this going to impact on business performance? How will you measure it? Who is accountable for any change? What resources are you and I going to need to put into making sure it works? What will be the early signs of success or failure? Are you absolutely SURE you need my help?

Scott Barnfield:You have a magic wand that can remove all barrier Now……what can you achieve?”

Liz Ford: What would you like to have happen?

Please keep adding yours and if they are unique I will add them to this great list. Thanks for all your contributions!

Walk this way…part 2…stakeholder engagement

walk this wayThis is the second in this new series of blogs called “Walk this way”, where I am inviting you, the reader, to follow my view on what a good approach to learning would look like.

Here is an overview of the whole approach, showing clearly the 6 steps.IMG_5170

This time we will look at the 2nd step”

“Stakeholder engagement and management skills are developed.”

As mentioned in Part 1,  L&D is often not “knitted-in” to the business and this can cause a disconnect between the expectations of the business and the results that L&D actually delivers. A vicious cycle builds and L&D develops into a function which is reactive and under-resourced.

To build an L&D function that is meaningful to the organisation, you will first need to identify the stakeholders and agree objectives. In large organisations this is not always easy  as the interest of some stakeholders may override the interests of the others. The time you spend uncovering needs, will pay dividends in the long run. If you get a better view of the whole picture then you will not only understand the organisation better, but the organisation will begin to trust you.

When considering requests for L&D programmes you should:

  • Identify the stakeholders and try to categorise them. The stakeholder analysis grid  can help identify which of your stakeholders you need to nurture or should be spending more time with and also those who take up your time for little return
  • Ask questions; particularly “Why this..?” and “Why now?”
  • Be a partner. To get buy-in from stakeholders, partner with them to find the best business solution. Not all problens can be solved by L&D so find out what they REALLY need!
  • Try to link to real business metrics by discovering what change in the organisation is required and changes in behaviour they need to achieve that.

L&D can be very effective if it works in partnership with the stakeholders. You can use a stakeholder analysis to uncover interests and how best to influence them. By staying close to the stakeholders, you will also uncover the potential risks and pitfalls in your L&D programmes. But best of all, L&D will be delivering to objectives that are linked to real organisational success.

In short, if you want to engage your stakeholders you have to;

  • Speak their language.
  • Demonstrate value for money and business value.
  • Manage the “undead” – don’t let them steal your time.
  • Understand how your organisation works so that you can infiltrate it.

If you would like to know more about The Learning Loop® please contact me. Or better still, consider booking onto one of the open Learning Loop courses or come to one of our Showcase events.

This is the second blog in a series of six.

“Walk this way” – the whole blog series.

©Krystyna Gadd 2016

Walk this way…part 1

walk this wayIn my learning and development career, I have been on a journey and in this series of blogs I would love to invite you to “Walk this way…”  or in other words follow my view on what a good approach to learning would look like.

3 years ago I developed a game for training trainers, called The Learning Loop® and this game uses an approach to L&D which I have been using over the last 25+ years as an L&D professional.

So over the next 6 blogs I am going to be expanding on The Learning Loop® approach.

Here is an overview of the whole approach, showing clearly the 6 steps.IMG_5170

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the first step is:

“Everyone (who works in L&D) understands the whole cycle.”

I began writing this by including the text in brackets and then rethought this…. thinking “Everyone understand the whole cycle”.

So what is my thinking? My thinking has been around “why does L&D not get involved in change when it needs to be?” and “what has this to do with perceptions of L&D within the organisation?”

The perception and expectation of your stakeholders may be that L&D will deliver effective learning solutions. However L&D is often not “knitted-in” to the business, resulting in L&D professionals that don’t fully understand how the business works. Under such circumstances, L&D will find it difficult to deliver effective learning solutions. The net result may be an under-resourced L&D function because it is not perceived as being a strategic to the business. Not only that, L&D will find its resources continually under threat because it is not seen as adding value to the business. Such an L&D function will often find that it is reactive and will not have the time and space to be pro-active and it certainly will not be performing a needs analysis. This is a vicious cycle.

Some L&D  professionals that I have spoken with see that L&D is about design and delivery. Using The Learning Loop® you will get a holistic view of L&D’s role within an organisation. You will be able to see that you should be spending much more time on ANALYSIS before DESIGN and the analysis phase should be involving the stakeholders and setting great objectives for your learning.

Going through the full learning cycle will also allow you to improve your stakeholders understanding of what L&D can deliver through being able to better EVALUATE what has been delivered in the DELIVERY phase. Resources would be made available for needs analysis because it would be understood why they are necessary and, crucially, analysis would be easier because people would be more forthcoming with information to improve the whole process. This would mean a different and deeper relationship between the stakeholders and L&D. A virtuous cycle.

Also, when I have spoken with L&D professionals, some do not fully grasp how close the relationship between the analysis and evaluation phases of the learning cycle should be. The benefit of adopting a closed-loop learning cycle will not only be more impactful L&D, but one in which that impact can be better understood by both L&D and the stakeholders and improve future stakeholder involvement. So if everyone understands the whole cycle…… it means:

  • Stakeholders understand that you can deliver useful change
  • Stakeholders understand that you add value rather than being a cost which means that get get the budgets you need
  • You get better results because you always do some sort of analysis beforehand
  • The people in the organisation understand their role in the learning process and become active rather than passive learners.

If you would like to know more about The Learning Loop® please contact me. Or better still, consider booking onto one of the open Learning Loop courses or come to one of our Showcase events.

This is the first blog in a series of six.

“Walk this way” – the whole blog series.

©Krystyna Gadd 2016