Why aren’t there more women in senior roles in learning? This question, based on research by Donald H Taylor on women in the industry, has provoked a lot of debate in the past few weeks, culminating in a special panel session at Learning Technologies 2019. The stats (below) are stark. So what’s to be done?

Women in L&D2

I was privileged to chair this panel, originally the brain child of Sharon Claffey Kaliouby, which included leading ladies in learning Lorna Matty, Mirjam Neelen and Niki Virdee. We discussed a broad range of topics: Is the issue to do with organisational design? Are there simply not enough senior roles in learning to go around? Or do women hold themselves back? Everything from ambition to leadership skills was discussed – we were delighted to be joined by some gentlemen in the room too – and the great thing about the session was its positivity and practicality. No gender bashing, no wringing of hands, but women who are simply keen to be their best selves at work. There will be a recording available soon, so this post isn’t designed to be a direct recap (although I do still plan to write up my reflections – these are still percolating!)

What happened within the session was great, but what’s started to happen since is even more exciting. We’re moving beyond paying lip service to this important issue, to some real action. There are events and podcasts being planned and a real appetite to share experiences, insights, tips, advice, books…the list is endless! I have already discovered some eye opening and educational resources since the event and really wanted to be able to do more to share these more widely.

Also, one of the recurring themes in the Learning Technologies session and in the reading and listening I have been doing, is around the benefits of networking. To anyone that knows me, this is something I advocate very strongly and do my best to support during industry events and online. So, to that end, I’ve set up a new LinkedIn group Women in Learning to keep the momentum going. You can join here (it’s open to everyone – MEN TOO – but you have to request to join because that’s how LinkedIn operates groups now). And there, thanks to the brilliant team at StoryTagger, we’ve got already got some videos with advice and tips in from women in learning on what helps them succeed. We’ll be sharing via the hashtag #WomeninLearning from today, and later this month, Sharon will feature on Learning Now TV to talk more about what’s going on. It’s all very formative but the hope is that this group provides a jumping off point for sharing ideas and creating new connections.

And with it being International Women’s Day, hopefully this is good timing to get this ball rolling. I hope to see you there and look forward to progressing the conversation across our industry.



Posted in #womeninlearning, Conferences and events | Tagged | Leave a comment

HR Mixtape 2019

I’ve posted on this blog about music before. It’s an integral part of my everyday life. I can’t workout without it, I can’t really relax without it and since we got an Alexa for Christmas which (who?!) lives in the kitchen, I can’t cook without it either. Spotify is always on the go somewhere. So, to think about music in relation to HR, as challenged by Mark Hendy, was irresistible to me. It’s been a crazy busy start to 2019 and I found this quite therapeutic. So, in no particular order…

  1. Thank u, next – Ariana Grande

I write this coming off the back of the Learning Technologies event in London and on social media, several attendees commented on L&D’s obsession with shiny new object syndrome. Whether it’s microlearning, LXPs or chatbots for learning, this song reminded me of that and the importance of seeing through the glitz and hype of new trends or technology to what really matters in terms of approach and strategy. I lost count of the times people asked me what was new in the exhibition and what they should be looking at. But I’d argue that there’s some more fundamentals that most organisations need to get right first (see next track…)

2) Shackles, Mary Mary

At Fosway, where I work, we have a bit of a saying that L&D has a ‘habit of delivery’. Years of running courses and workshops and later, creating e-learning, is a hard habit to break. And at the root of it all is an obsession with content in all its forms, whether that’s digital or face-to-face. What’s too often missing is a broader view of creating learning experiences that include purposeful practice, reflection, feedback, coaching and mentoring, – all things that help people learn which are not content focused. As per song one, it would be great to see a step away from some of the whizzy stuff to break the shackles of learning content and delivery.

3) Miss Independent, Kelly Clarkson

I was privileged last week to chair a panel session on women in L&D. Statistics show that not enough women are reaching senior roles in the profession – and whilst this might be less of an issue in broader HR terms, it’s still an important issue – both for women in the HR and L&D industry, but also as guardians of equality and diversity within organisations today, helping other professions champion women. I’m excited about the buzz that the panel and subsequent discussion has created and looking forward to continuing this conversation in a proactive way.

4) Everyday people, Arrested Development

Looking at HR more broadly, digital transformation continues across the board. Meanwhile, Brexit (sorry) and other economic forces are hugely impacting the acquisition and retention of talent in organisations. Both of which are challenges that have people at their heart. It’s easy to get distracted by technology when thinking about transformation projects, but unless you take people on that journey with you in an engaging way, and win their hearts and minds, then change – and therefore true transformation – is going to be difficult to affect. By the same token, attracting, developing and retaining the best people is going to be core to the success of most organisation’s futures. Scouting new talent might need to come from new quarters and I don’t believe talent management should be confined to any kind of ‘top 250’ any longer – ‘everyday people indeed’.

5) Let’s push things forward, The Streets

And finally, this one is self explanatory really! I hope this post doesn’t feel too negative, because I believe there’s lots of good to be had. HR and L&D could hold the key to unlocking people’s – and therefore – their organisation’s potential both now and in the future. So let’s push things forward.


Posted in HR, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Learning Technologies 2019: Backchannel and social media team

Learning Technologies 2019 is nearly upon us. A new date, a new venue…the stage is set for the greatest learning show on earth, including the continued commitment of the event to its social media coverage via a dedicated team of L&D professionals. Here’s the upfront information you need to know in order to turn on, tune in and um, learn lots…

The backchannel

As ever, the place to have eyes on is the main conference hashtag #LT19UK. This is used on all conference updates across social media. We’ll be using Twitter of course but also branching out across other channels like Instagram and embracing this year’s use of video tool Storytagger. If you haven’t checked out the conference speakers previewing their sessions then check them out via that link. This main hashtag is used by exhibitors and attendees of the Learning Technologies part of the exhibition. It’s a great way of tapping into people to meet, things to read and what to see before the event, not just during.

Our contributors will be working hard to share insights and key takeaways from every single session of the conference. We use individual session hashtags so you can hone in on the specifics of certain topics or presentations. So, if you particularly want to know what an individual speaker has to say then you can just search #T1S5 for example. All session tags are detailed below (we don’t have specific tags for the keynotes because so many people share from these that you can just follow the overall #LT19UK hashtag and keep up).

The 2019 team

Here are the people that will be capturing the action and reflecting on what they’ve heard at the conference. If you’re not already connected with these experienced L&D folk, this is a unique opportunity to make some new connections and expand your network as well as tuning into all the action.

Michelle Parry-Slater – @MiPS1608

Joan Keevill – @Designs_JoanK

Adam Harwood – @adamharwood26

Patrick Mullarkey – @mentormullarkey

Nick Welch – @primedmedia

Anthony Williams – @bullsboy

Lizzie Rhodes James – @LRJPerformance

Fiona McBride – @fionamcbride

Stephen Walsh – @stephentwalsh

Kim Edwards – @kimsedwards_

Christine Locher – @christinelocher

Gareth Harris –@eDevelopmentUK

(And me – @kategraham23)

Also, don’t forget to follow:

Don Taylor (Conference Chairman) – @DonaldHTaylor

Learning Technologies official feed – @LT19UK

Day one: Keynote: Can we be candid? Learning at the intersection of risk, change, machine and meaning – Marcia Conner

Day one: 11.15 – 12.25

#T1S1 – Emerging technologies: Dani Johnson and David Kelly (Covered by Adam Harwood and Nick Welch)

#T2S1 – Learning leadership: Nigel Paine, Rachel Hutchinson and Gayle Tong (Covered by Anthony Williams and Lizzie Rhodes James)

#T3S1 – Collaborative learning: Kate Cooper and Gemma Critchley (Covered by Fiona McBride and Stephen Walsh)

#T4S1 – Agility in learning: Graham Hill and Katherine Ward (Kim Edwards and Christine Locher)

#T5S1 – Learning evaluation: Will Thalheimer (Covered by Patrick Mullarkey and Michelle Parry-Slater)

Day one: Lunchtime sessions

#L1S1 – Crowd sourced support for your L&D issues: Nigel Paine (Covered by Michelle Parry-Slater)

 Day one: 13.55 – 15.05

#T1S2 – Virtual and augmented reality: Ryan Peterson and James Barton (Covered by Adam Harwood and Nick Welch)

#T2S2 – Learning technology landscape: David Wilson and David Perring (Covered by Kate Graham and Lizzie Rhodes James)

#T3S2 – Compliance: Louise Vamvoukaki and Sean Brown (Covered by Anthony Williams and Gareth Harris)

#T4S2 – Video for learning: Barbara Thompson and Jaco van der Worp (Covered by Kim Edwards and Christine Locher)

#T5S2 – The L&D profession: Vikki Liogier and Michelle Ockers (Covered by Fiona McBride and Patrick Mullarkey)

Day one: 15.50 – 17.00

#T1S3 – Games and learning: Karl Kapp (Covered by Patrick Mullarkey and Gareth Harris)

#T2S3 – 21st century learning: Jane Hart and Sunder Ramachandran (Covered by Lizzie Rhodes James)

#T3S3 – Learning analytics: Trish Uhl (Covered by Christine Locher and Michelle Parry-Slater)

#T4S3 – Design methodologies: Cathy Moore (Covered by Fiona McBride and Nick Welch)

#T5S3 – Learning innovation: Rob Hubbard (Covered by Adam Harwood)

Day two: The future of work: technology, myths and the importance of learning – Daniel Susskind

Day two: 11.15 – 12.25

#T1S4 – Future learning: Trish Uhl (Covered by Kate Graham)

#T2S4 – Learning culture: Laura Overton (Covered by Joan Keevill)

#T3S4 – Marketing learning: Shannon Tipton (Covered by Kim Edwards and Christine Locher)

#T4S4 – Curation: Mike Taylor (Covered by Stephen Walsh)

#T5S4 – Self-directed learning: Jane Bozarth (Covered by Fiona McBride)

Day two: Lunchtime session: 12.40 – 13.20

#L2S2 – Women in learning: Lorna Matty, Mirjam Neelen, Niki Virdee

Day two: 13.55 – 15.05

#T1S5 – Digital transformation: Euan Semple (Covered by Christine Locher)

#T2S5 – Data-fuelled learning: Hannah Gore, Lori Niles-Hoffman and Nick Coley (Covered by Fiona McBride)

#T3S5 – Business-aligned learning: Krystyna Gadd and Jason Flynn (Covered by Kim Edwards)

#T4S5 – Content design: Lucia Capobianco and Ivana Dragic-Topic (Covered by Nick Welch and Gareth Harris)

#T5S5 – Learning systems: Michael Redford, Steph Wild and Tom Dove-Wallington (Covered by Joan Keevill and Anthony Williams)

Day two: 15.50 – 17.00

#T1S6 – Artificial Intelligence: Matt Wicks and James Cook (Covered by Joan Keevill)

#T2S6 – Learning ecosystems: Ger Driesen (Covered by Stephen Walsh and Christine Locher)

#T3S6 – L&D on a budget: Andrew Jacobs and Di MacDonald (Covered by Fiona McBride)

#T4S6 – Campaign-based learning: Peta Young, Morvern Scott and Florence Dambricourt (Covered by Anthony Williams)

#T5S6 – MOOCs: Marlo Kengen, Petra Peeters and Gabriel Schaepman (Covered by Kate Graham)

For the full conference programme and to pick which sessions you’d like to tune into, click here.

There is also a programme of seminars in the exhibition which is full to bursting here.

And so, to ExCel (don’t go to Olympia, please, we won’t be there!) Learning Glastonbury awaits!

Posted in Conferences and events, Learning Technologies | Tagged | Leave a comment

Meet the new wave of learning

’ve been going to events about learning for a long time now (no I am not going to tell you how many years), so it’s always refreshing to hear new ideas and think about different ways to tackle some of the challenges facing L&D. And that’s the goal of the ‘new wave of learning’ panel session that Ed Monk and I are chairing at next week’s Learning Live.

We’ll be joined by four learning professionals, each with their own unique take on L&D and their own areas of specialism – but all blazing a trail in their respective careers: Dr. Hannah Gore, Gemma Critchley, Adam Harwood and Matt Ash.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, because this is your chance to grill them! I’m crowdsourcing questions in advance and will ask them during the session, then tweet out the responses (and probably write up a corresponding piece after the event).

LPI data tells us that two of the biggest challenges currently facing L&D is how to tackle the digital transformation of learning and how to measure the impact of learning on performance. There’s no silver bullet (sadly) but we’ll be exploring how the panellists are approaching these challenges from, perhaps, a different angle. Is it about the latest tools and technology? Is there a different mindset L&D needs to adopt today? From MOOCs, to social media for learning, to creating a digital ecosystem, to working in an Agile way – please ping me your questions for the guys either below or via @kategraham23 and I promise we’ll ask and answer them all.

You can also follow along via #newwaveoflearning and the main event hashtag #learninglive.

Posted in Conferences and events, Learning Live | Leave a comment

Learning Technologies Summer Forum Meetup

If you’re in London the night before the Learning Technologies Summer Forum on Monday 11th June 2018, I’m once again rounding up any waifs and strays to get together, talk shop and meet fellow attendees before the event. We did this the night before the January event and at least 40 L&D folk came along – some not knowing anyone, others knowing everyone – but all getting stuck into conversation over a drink. It was a great way to kick off the event.

The Bolton Pub is about 10 minutes away by cab from Olympia (where the Summer Forum is being held). I will be there from 7.30pm but if you arrive before me, get the first round in while you wait!

This is all very informal, there’s no need to register. Just head to:

The Bolton Pub

326 Earls Ct Rd, Kensington,

London SW5 9BQ

If you tweet me @kategraham23 and let me know that you’re coming, that would be great. Look forward to seeing you there.

Posted in Conferences and events, Learning Technologies | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

UNLEASH: Is disruption the new normal?

At the end of 2017, HR Tech World rebranded as UNLEASH – an exciting new look for an organisation already disrupting the polite world of HR events. Fast forward a few months and I am en route to attend UNLEASH London. When I was choosing my sessions in the build up to the event, trying to decide across more than a dozen tracks was no mean feat. But what struck me looking at the packed agenda is that disruption and transformation appear to be the new normal. Is there no more status quo in the world of work?

Jonas Kjellberg, author, investor and co-creator of Skype kicks things off with a keynote looking at disruption as a positive and actually wants to help ‘f**k up things’ for corporate organisations! Nick Holley of the CRF and Dan Simpson of Siemens then host a session on ‘Disrupt or Die’ whilst the start-up stage showcases new market entrants looking to shake things up with their new solutions and technology.

Across the board there are sessions on digital transformation. And the proliferation of sessions on AI tells us the bots are coming and work as we know it is going to change forever. Then less obviously perhaps, but still demonstrating a definite sea change, there is a whole track dedicated to wellbeing and engagement. That’s disruption in itself, as that just would not have happened just a few a years ago.

This isn’t pie in the sky stuff coming from gurus and experts either. It’s stories from the front line of organisations like Lloyds Bank, L’Oreal, Telefonica, Fujitsu and Nationwide,

And in a bid to get beyond the hype, the latest Fosway research conducted in partnership with UNLEASH will explore ‘The Truth about Digital HR, Technology and Transformation’ in David Wilson’s session on day one. We’re looking forward to sharing data from 600+ HR leaders on the realities of the change facing organisations today. You can check out the headlines here and the new series of reports will be available shortly.

I’ll be reflecting on the different sessions I attend with write ups afterwards and advise you to tune into some of the following bloggers, track chairs and speakers across the two days:

I’m keen to know your thoughts either before or after the event too; is disruption the new normal in your organisation? Or is transformation all just talk?


Posted in Conferences and events, HR Tech Europe, HR Tech World, UNLEASH | Tagged | Leave a comment

Learning Technologies 2018: The Inside Track with David Perring

On the eve of Learning Technologies, and the day that the initial headlines of the 2018 Digital Learning Realities research are shared for the first time, I talk to Fosway Group’s director of research, David Perring, veteran of too many years’ attendance to mention, and who is delivering two sessions in this year’s conference.

KG: What are you looking forward to at Learning Technologies 2018?

DP: I’m obviously looking forward to hosting two conference sessions – more on those below. And it’s always a great chance to meet up with people in my network and have the chance to talk face to face. In the exhibition, I will enjoy seeing the launch of some amazing solutions we have been privileged to preview in advance. These encompass so many new areas, including real time support which has always been a hot topic for me. Seeing compelling and innovative solutions in this space really excites me. And with the learning technology market changing at pace, we need real innovation – it’s simply not enough to offer the same old dull stuff any more!

KG: What should people be thinking about before they attend to ensure they are as prepared as possible?


  • Book meetings with people in your network who you learn from and use the show as a time to connect. One head of learning always did this brilliantly using www.agreeadate.com and letting people self-select meet-up times.
  • Know the suppliers you want to meet. Come with an agenda. Know what innovations you want to explore and check out the vendors in that space before you come so you can make the most of your time.
  • If you’re not in the main conference, check out the free seminar programme. This is extensive now, across 10 theatres and there is great value and insights to be had, so it’s well worth seeing if there is anything that’s worth checking on
  • Do try a VR headset – especially for virtual meetings. I think it will open your eyes about some simple ways to start exploring this innovation your organisation without needing a big budget.

KG: As someone who has attended the show both as a buyer and an analyst, what are your top tips for attendees to get the most out of their conversations at the event?

DP: I have a couple of top tips here. Firstly, ask other attendees what they’ve seen which is the most amazing! Sounds simple but there is usually something that stands out, so do network and strike up some conversations with attendees. Or just come and ask me at the Fosway Analyst Lounge on the day…I’d be delighted to swap insights.

Also, if you see something that really interests you, don’t pussy foot around – be unusually direct and ask the supplier how much it costs, how long it takes to implement, who are the reference customers, what support they offer and what they would do to make you a referenceable customer and what special deal they could do for you.

KG: What will you be talking about in your sessions at this year’s Learning Technologies?

I’ve got a session on the 31st Jan in the conference at 11:10 sharing some thinking about the hot topic of nudge theory and how you can think about using it for learning with some practical examples. It’s an area that most learning technology has completely ignored to date, but it’s going to become increasingly important. It should provide some great food for thought!

I’m also doing a lunch time session with David Wilson on 1st February covering the truth about Digital Learning exploring the 2018 Digital Learning Realities research that we do in partnership with the organisers of Learning Technologies. Over 1300 L&D professionals worldwide have already taken part. We’ll be exploring what tech is really working and which are just hype or wishful thinking. We have insights into L&D budgets and how skill sets are changing with the growth of digital. The research is running now and this will be the first look at what customers are doing (you can still take part in the research here).

KG: Why is it important for people to take part in the 2018 Digital Learning Realities research?

DP: It’s the only way we see through all the marketing blurb and is to hear what customers are really doing. When there is so much marketing content trying to sell the latest product or service, like microlearning or courses not resources – who can you rely on to tell you the objective truth about what’s working/what’s really being adopted and what buyers think of it?

By getting involved in our research, people start to provide more transparency and get a clearer insight into what’s really going on. It’s more than enabling you to benchmark yourself. We have always been passionate about sharing our insights through our free reports including our 9-Grids™. And our independent research enables us to provide stronger insights about suppliers and be an objective voice of the customer and market.

KG: What are your hopes for digital learning/learning technology in the year ahead?

DP: That it’s not the same old dull stuff people had to do last year and the year before that. I hope this year that organisations focus more on buying solutions that power active learning cycles, learning experiences and real performance support, than they do dumping content into people’s heads. We have seen the market be dominated by an underlying content agenda, but we know that’s not always best for learners. The tide is turning…but it might take more than a year.

You can see the initial headlines from the 2018 Digital Learning Realities research here and collect your copy from the Fosway Analyst Lounge. Learning Technologies opens in London on 31 January 2018. Full details here. And you can follow all the action via #LT18UK.

Posted in Conferences and events, Learning Technologies, Uncategorized | Leave a comment