Learning Technologies Summer Forum 2016

LT logoWell somehow I blinked at the start of February this year, and time has already flown by to June. Which of course means it’s time for the annual Learning Technologies Summer Forum. Our commitment to sharing the best of all the action from both the conference and this exhibition remains as strong as ever. The backchannel will encompass all four tracks of the conference, the new research roundtables, the best of the show and a chance to dig into some details with our speakers in a series of Google Hangouts.

How the backchannel works

Many of you know the drill by now and indeed, help make the Learning Technologies backchannel what it is with your participation and enthusiasm. But just in case you are tuning in for the first time, here’s everything you need to know about how it works. Each session at the conference has an individual hashtag that will be used in addition to the main #LTSF16 hashtag. So if you’re following using TweetChat or a similar application, you can search on the specific sessions to keep your focus on a particular topic. Below is a list of these hashtags and which of our tweeters is covering those sessions. The idea is that you can use this to filter the stream of tweets and hone in on any areas of interest during the event. Note, the keynote won’t have an individual hashtag. For the full conference programme, click here.

Meet the team

Before each session I’ll be announcing which of our social team will be tweeting from which session so you can make sure you’re following the topics of most interest to you. The team for this year’s event is:

Kate Graham – @kategraham23
Alistair Cockroft – @acockroft
Michelle Parry-Slater – @MiPS1608
Ady Howes – @adyhowes
Kim George – @kimsgeorge
Ken Croft – @ken_s_croft

Keynote: Wirearchy: The connected future of work and learning

This year’s keynote has a lot to live up to after Deborah Frances-White took last year’s event by storm. But Jon Husband promises not to disappoint. After a decade consulting on organisational design and effectiveness, Husband coined the word ‘wirearchy’ in 1999, exploring the implications of how networked environments impact on the way we interact, work and learn. At the summer forum, he will examine how organisational models present obstacles to the philosophy and practice of modern L&D. Please remember, there isn’t be an individual hashtag for this session, just tune in via #LTSF16.

Session 1: 11.15 – 12.15

* #T1S1 – Adaptive Learning, Donald Clark (Covered by Ken Croft)
* #T2S1 – Scaffolded social learning in action, Julian Stodd (Covered by Alistair Cockroft )
* #T3S1 – How to take leadership development to the next level, Nigel Paine (Covered by Ady Howes)
* #T4S1 – Moving beyond ‘click next’ mandatory training, Sharon Claffey-Kaliouby (Covered by Michelle Parry-Slater)
* #RR1 – The shift to digital learning, David Perring (Covered by Kim George)

Lunchtime session: 12.15 – 13.30

* #RR2 – Moving beyond 70:20:10, David Wilson

What L&D strategies really work and drive an actionable agenda for L&D and successful outcomes for the business? The 70:20:10 model continues to increase in popularity, but is it really a good strategy for learning? Does it drive the right behaviours in L&D, or help it perform more effectively? How does any L&D model help influence the business better and deliver greater business outcomes? With reference to the latest research from Fosway Group’s strategic research partnership with Learning Technologies, this analyst roundtable session with David Wilson will discuss what 70:20:10 really means for the business, and ways of getting beyond 70:20:10 and alternative learning strategies.

Session 2: 13.30 – 14.30

* #T1S2 – Make it memorable – Tools from a memory scientist, Dr. Julia Shaw (Covered by Alistair Cockroft and Ady Howes)
* #T2S2 – Creating mobile video interviews that work, Julie Wedgwood and Gemma Critchley (Covered by Ken Croft)
* #T3S2 – Your career as an L&D professional, Ant Pugh, Sharon Claffey-Kaliouby and Mike Booth (Covered by Michelle Parry-Slater)
* #T4S2 – Creating game-based learning simulations for teams, Ken Thompson (Covered by Kim George)
* RR3 – Next gen learning systems, Adrian Jones (Covered by Kate Graham)

Session 3: 15.00 – 16.00

* #T1S3 – Design thinking for learning, Sally Spinks (Covered by Alistair Cockroft, Michelle Parry-Slater and Kim George )
* #T2S3 – Demonstrating value – what to do and what to avoid, Laura Overton (Covered by Ady Howes)
* #T3S3 – Getting real with blended learning, Clive Shepherd (Covered by Ken Croft)
* #T4S3 – Transforming workplace learning with lean thinking, Mark Berthelemy (Covered by Kate Graham)

I’ll also be using Periscope throughout the day to share a flavour of the event and what’s happening, as it’s happening. Stay tuned to Twitter on the day for details of the Google Hangouts including Don Taylor interviewing keynote speaker Jon Husband.

On behalf of Don, Mark and the team, we look forward to seeing you in the stream next Tuesday and as always, let me know if you have any suggestions or feedback on how we can bring you the best in learning via the backchannel.



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HR Tech World Spring: Links and resources

HR Tech World LondonUnfortunately, a random bout of tonsilitis has kept me away from the energy, excitement and insight at this week’s HR Tech World Spring in London. Gutted doesn’t cover it. But from my sick bed I am going to do my best David Kelly imitation (it’s the sincerest form of flattery, right?) and try to curate as many useful links and resources as I can that relate to the event. Hopefully you’ll find it useful and if you have anything else to add then just let me know. Thanks to everyone tweeting from the event and keeping me (and thousands of others around the world) up to date with all the latest. Particular hat tips to David Green, Andy Spence, Mervyn Dinnen, Emma Barrow and Christop Vanden Eede.

Official sites and research

The guys at HRN who are behind this event do a great job of involving the blogging community directly on their own site. Don’t miss all the different contributors and the wide range of insight you can find here on the HRN blog.

Copies of key presentations from last year’s Paris event and London (coming soon) can be found on the HR Tech World Congress SlideShare and also downloaded directly here.

Another heads up is to have a look at the HRN YouTube channel which has tons of archive interviews and footage, which will no doubt be updated with new content from London very shortly.

Fosway Group (full disclosure, this is the organisation I work for) partners with HRN to deliver targeted research on the Critical Realities of HR in Europe. All the reports are freely available to download here on the Fosway website.

Links from the live feed

Keynote: Simon Sinek website
Simon Sinek’s TED talk
Peter Hinssen: The network always wins (not his talk from this event but useful nonetheless)
Cornerstone’s live Storify style blog
Zipconomy live blog: HR Tech World overview (in Dutch)
Zipconomy live blog: Simon Sinek (in Dutch)
Zipconomy live blog: Peter Hinssen (in Dutch)
Zipconomy live blog: HR disruptors (in Dutch)
Zipconomy live blog: Josh Bersin (in Dutch)
Zipconomy live blog: Jason Averbrook (in Dutch)
Zipconomy live blog: Dirk Stoltenberg (in Dutch)
Instant chemistry: Inspiring leaders get it on with disruptive tech
Free ebook: Internal Social Networks The Smart Way
Drowning in tools
Cartoons from HR Tech World by Virpi Oinonen
Network of teams
5 videos that tackle or highlight unconscious bias

Post-event reflections and write-ups

Top 5 takeaways from HR Tech World
HR technology: Don’t start with payroll
Rolls-Royce Cloud HR project will pay for itself in two years
5 trends from HR Tech World Spring (in French)
Five things we learned at HR Tech World
HR Tech World round-up
10 key takeaways from HR Tech Spring

HR Tech World Spring – Coffee Break Cut
Review: HR Tech World
HR Tech World addresses the gender balance in tech
HR is dead…long live HR!
HR Tech World’s disruptHR: The ones to watch
Five themes from HR Tech World London
Digital reinvents recruitment….for the third time!

Related reading

HR Zone event preview
10 things to see at HR Tech World London
Countdown to HR Tech World
5 top tips for getting the most out of HR Tech World London
5 ways HR and recruiting could buck the trend
Why talent management needs to change
The quantified workplace: Technology vs trust
Digital HR
IBM CHRO study
Battling bias with data
Why day one is important

I’m sure there’s other links and resources I might have missed, plus there’ll be more to add once people reflect and share their thoughts via their own blogs etc. Keep checking back for more useful content and do let me know if you have a resource to share here.

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Employee of the year – a blessing or a curse?

This post was triggered by a conversation with someone who works for a large corporate organisation (that shall remain nameless of course). This person doesn’t really know what I do for a living and is unaware that I spend a good portion of my time reading and writing about topics like employee engagement, and talent recruitment and retention.

Employee-of-the-YearShe was recounting the story of her company’s ‘Employee of the Year’ award. This seemingly prestigious accolade has recently been bestowed upon a member of their sales team. From what I can tell, she works reasonably hard and isn’t undeserving of the honour per se. But giving her this honour has kicked off all sorts of unrest and ill feeling across the organisation. To even be eligible for this prize, one must first have been awarded ‘Employee of the Month’ – the nominations for which come from the broader staff population (note: not customers AT ALL which I thought was interesting). The management then debate amongst themselves in order to decide who ‘wins’. The winners for the year are all then put forward for the employee of the year, which again is decided via a management team powwow.

This year’s overall winner was recognised as employee of the month some time ago. But many are upset about the result because they feel she is mostly just the management’s ‘pet’ employee. And so the picture becomes clearer about why the staff aren’t happy about the situation. Add to this the fact that February’s monthly honour was given to someone who’s only been with the company for six weeks when someone else in an identical role (receptionist) has been with the company for six years and never won employee of the month, let alone employee of the year…and without descending into gossip and tittle tattle, you start to see why this whole concept is so divisive.

Gamification at work

Now, gamification in the workplace has grown at an incredible rate and is being embraced by organisations at a number of different levels to incentivise and encourage employee engagement. It doesn’t work in every context, but can add a layer of interest and excitement around potentially mundane tasks such as compliance training or even employee onboarding for example. But the idea of the employee of the month/year doesn’t fit with the concept of gamification. There’s a prize, but it’s awarded subjectively i.e. at the management team’s discretion. And there’s not much one can do to influence it. So even if someone works harder, aces their customer satisfaction goals or smashes their sales target, they have no way of improving their chances of being recognised by this scheme. (Interestingly, the ‘winner’ in this instance is in sales but is not their best performing sales person).

Instead what this scheme has managed to achieve is keep one person extremely happy, whilst simultaneously disengaging a far greater number of employees. Indeed, one staff member has already threatened to leave. I also imagine (although I don’t know this to be true) that the employee of the year must find herself feeling a little embarrassed and awkward about the whole thing, particularly if her colleagues feel she is undeserving.

So what’s the answer? Well I think it’s pretty obvious that this particular scheme ain’t working for this particular company. This doesn’t hold true for all of these types of initiative as the deciding factors and voting rights will vary. But with increasing employee engagement seen as a top measure of success for HR strategy, it shows that organisations need to get closer to their staff and understand what works and what doesn’t. If these managers were close enough to – or properly engaged with – their staff, then they would quickly see that this scheme is more detrimental than anything else. It would be better to design an incentive so that every employee who surpasses a certain performance level may be eligible to earn an award, for example.

HR Tech World LondonNext week, I’ll be attending HR Tech World Spring in London and I’m looking forward to attending sessions on trust, rewards and adoption (amongst many others). Sometimes I overlook these sessions in favour of exploring the latest technologies or products, but not this time. I’m aiming to balance out the tech talk with some of the less code driven elements of HR. I’ll be reporting back, so stay tuned in case I uncover the perfect alternative to the employee ‘disengagement’ scheme described here…

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Learning Technologies 2016: Session Details

Learning Technologies event logoFollowing on from my previous post on the Learning Technologies 2016 backchannel team, here are the nitty gritty details on who’s covering which sessions. Our dream team of contributors will be working hard to share insights and key takeaways from every single session of the conference. Remember, 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 David Kelly has to say then you can just search #T1S3. 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 #LT16UK hashtag and keep up!)

Day one: Keynote: Triggers – Creating Behaviours That Last, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith

goldsmith Dr. Marshall Goldsmith is the world authority in helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behaviour: for themselves, their people and their teams. In this interactive keynote, Marshall will begin with a discussion of how triggers in our environment can easily throw us off course and stop us from becoming the person we want to be. I’m looking forward to this as a bit of a change in direction from keynotes in recent years. Less focus on technology but should be fascinating as we all have behaviours we want to change or create!
Day one: 11.10 – 12.20

Day one: 13.50 – 15.00

Day one: 15.30 – 16.40

  • #T1S3 – A Look Ahead: The Now and the Next of Learning and Technology, David Kelly (Covered by Alistair Cockroft and Kim George)
  • #T2S3 – Getting the Blend Right for Project Management, Martina Donnelly and Sue Hawke (Covered by Dorian Dandridge and Sarah Hetherington)
  • #T3S3 – Creating a Social and Micro Learning Enterprise Culture, Emma Pace and Abel Henry (Covered by Andy Nock)
  • #T4S3 – Action Mapping – Throw Them in at the Deep End, Cathy Moore (Covered by Sam Taylor and Michelle Parry-Slater)
  • #T5S3 – Unconscious Bias and the Mind: Challenging the Way We Think About Thinking, Tesia Marshik (Covered by Julie Drybrough and Susie Finch)

Day two: Keynote: Today’s Change, Tomorrow’s Work: The Fundamental Shifts of the Future, Ben Hammersley

ben_hammersleyOpening day two of the conference, Ben Hammersley will scan the horizon of technological and societal change and ask how fit for purpose our traditional workplace models are. Technology, underpinned by the internet, is changing the way we work, live and learn. How will abundant information, ultra-connectivity and a global economy transform things? And how will our ideas of working and of learning have to shift to keep up?

Day two: 11.30 – 12.30

  • #T1S4 – The Latest in Mobile Delivery, Geoff Stead (Covered by Susie Finch)
  • #T2S4 – Leadership Development, Nigel Paine and Marc Jansen (Covered by Dorian Dandridge and Julie Drybrough)
  • #T3S4 – Marketing Learning, Shannon Tipton and Gavin Walsh (Covered by Alistair Cockroft and Sam Taylor)
  • #T4S4 – The Heart and the Head: The Vital Role of Story and Emotion in Online Learning, David Guralnick (Covered by Andy Nock and Sarah Hetherington)
  • #T5S4 – Forget the L&D Hype – What About the Learner? Dave Buglass (Covered by Kim George and Michelle Parry-Slater)

Day two: 13.50 – 15.00

Day two: 15.30 – 16.40

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. In my next post I’ll be picking out some of the highlights and rounding up some of the other great activity that’s taking place in and around this ‘Learning Glastonbury’ as I christened it the other day!

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Learning Technologies 2016: A Taster

Last year’s Learning Technologies Summer Forum hosted one of the most engaging keynote sessions I have ever seen. Deborah Frances-White delivered a superb talk on the power of play and quite literally had everyone in the room on their feet by the end of it. I’ve never seen the same level of participation in a formal keynote setting before with so many hundreds of people. It was fantastic.

Whilst not a typical keynote, the great content and insights into learning *are* typical of what an attendee can find at Learning Technologies. I was lucky enough to interview Frances-White on Periscope immediately after her session. Interestingly enough, the use of Periscope was something new I was ‘playing with’ at the time. And as she herself says, creating a safe environment where it was OK to make mistakes i.e. trial the Periscope app as a new way of sharing updates from the event, meant that I learned a lot.

So in the build-up to this year’s conference in a couple of weeks time, I thought I’d share the interview again. The quality isn’t the best as it’s saved down from Periscope, but there are still some great insights there and I think it whets the appetite for all the learning to come in a couple of weeks time at London Olympia. Frances-White is presenting again on day one of the conference on ‘Creating the Ideal Learning State’.

Don’t forget to tune into the backchannel via #LT16UK if you can’t attend in person. Otherwise I’ll see you there.


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Learning Technologies 2016: Everything you need to know

IMG_20150129_171540932Yes it’s that time of year again and the build up to Learning Technologies 2016 has begun. It just wouldn’t be January without a massive to do list and lots of late nights working, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! As chair of the backchannel for the event, I am writing a number of posts between now and the event previewing all the different activity to try and help you get the most out of it, whether you are attending in person or following from afar.

The backchannel
It all starts with the main conference hashtag #LT16UK. This is used on all conference tweets and is used by exhibitors and attendees of the Learning Technologies part of the exhibition. There is also the Learning and Skills hashtag #LAS16UK but if you’re following the conference, then tune in via #LT16UK. In order to help followers cut through the huge numbers of tweets, we use individual session hashtags as well as the one for the overall event e.g. Welcome to this session on the future of technology #LT16Uk #T1S1. The details of the hashtags for each session will be published in a later (longer!) post. In addition to tweets, there will be blog posts, LinkedIn updates and live videos from Periscope.

Meet the team
In the meantime though, here is your fantastic team of L&D folk who will all bring their unique insights and perspectives to the backchannel. Some you might know, others you won’t. Hopefully this is an opportunity to make some new connections and expand your network as well as the chance to tune into all the action.

Michelle Parry-Slater Michelle Parry-Slater – @MiPS1608

Alistair Cockroft Alistair Cockroft – @acockroft

Susie Finch Susie Finch – @susiefinch

Julie Drybrough Julie Drybrough – @fuchsia_blue

Andy Nock Andy Nock – @andynock83

Sam Taylor Sam Taylor – @samt_el

Dorian Dandridge Dorian Dandridge – @ageingworkforce

Sarah Hetherington Sarah Hetherington – @SarahLHeth

Kim George Kim George – @KimSGeorge

Also don’t forget to follow:

Don Taylor (Conference Chairman) – @DonaldHTaylor
Learning Technologies official feed – @LT16UK
Learning and Skills official feed – @LAS16UK
(And me – @kategraham23)

My next post will detail who is covering which sessions. We are also once again running Google Hangouts and the ‘Room of Reflection’ so full details of that will also be shared over the next few days. In addition to the twet

Learning Technologies 2016 Survey
I am also excited to be a part of the new Learning Technologies 2016 research in my new role. Hundreds and hundreds of learning professionals have already taken part in the pre-event survey, and there are some fascinating results.These will be shared for the first time live on 3 and 4 February at the event, with a whole programme of insight to follow throughout the year. If you haven’t taken part yet then have your say here.

More to come soon and as always, if you have any feedback or thoughts on how we can make the most of this learning opportunity, let me know.


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When I started this blog back in 2011 a wise man (Sam Burrough) gave me some great advice. He told me to write for myself and if anyone read it then that’s a bonus. More often than not though, this has not been a terribly personal blog or a window into my soul and it does tend to focus more on work related matters. But when I saw a blog from Andrew Jacobs about 7 songs, and having seen a few people post on Facebook about it, I was inspired to try and find 7 songs that are important to me.

Music has always been a huge part of my life. My mum has always sung and still hits the top Cs in her choir, her partner (Brian Noyes – shameless plug) is a composer, conductor and music teacher of some 30+ years and I grew up playing a number of instruments (some better than others). Mr G is also *obsessed* with music and we still play vinyl and even have a MiniDisc player somewhere. So in short, there’s no way I could choose a truly definitive 7 songs (no Madonna here after all) but here’s a snapshot of some music I love.

Stereophonics – A Thousand Trees

This is the first song from their first album. I am a huge fan of their earlier music, especially as a girl from a small Welsh town albeit not in the Valleys. I don’t like their more recent songs as much in all honesty, but I still love watching them live and have seen them in concert too many times to count. The lyrics are clever (as always with Kelly Jones) and it mostly reminds me of my crazy, wonderful younger sister and I bouncing around singing at the top of our voices.

Blur – End Of A Century

I’m a child of the Britpop era and was totally Team Blur (although I do like some of the early Oasis music too). In the days before Spotify I had to wait eagerly for Christmas to get my hands on the cassette of Parklife and played it until the tape broke. Hard to choose one song, especially as it’s just brilliant listened to from start to finish (something I always love in an album, when it tells a story). But this is a cracker.

Zero 7 – Destiny

Andrew had a Sia song in his post and I too first discovered her with Zero 7 when I was living abroad between university and starting life in the real world. No words needed other than it’s rather beautiful and set the scene for our first dance at our wedding.

Portishead – Roads

Maintaining the mellow vibe and a song from an album (Dummy) I can listen to back to back, this song reminds me of being a teenager spending hours with my friends in whoever’s parent’s living room we could commandeer, doing *literally* nothing. Proper f*** all as Mickey Flanagan would say. As a busy working mum now I can not even begin to imagine the hours we whiled away just chewing the fat and enjoying the music and each other’s company. What a luxury!

DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World

I had a playlist on my iPod, and now have one on Spotify called ‘Kate’s Hip Hop Education’ created by my husband. This particular tune was an early inclusion on my first ever iPod and one that is easy even for non-hip hop lovers to appreciate. It isn’t about rap, it’s the sample, it’s the beat and it’s also very chilled out. It might take more than one listen but please don’t skip it because you think you don’t like hip hop. Possibly pour a glass of wine to go with it.

Mos Def – Miss Fat Booty

Continuing the hip hop theme, possibly more of an obvious choice for those not fans of the genre. This is about the rhymes and the lyrics for me (which are pretty entertaining if you listen properly).

Jack Garrett – The Love You’re Given

I thought I should also include something current in here as tragically most of my choices are from the 90s (showing my age). This guy has come up through the brilliant BBC Introducing initiative and creates really interesting music using loops all by himself. Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean but I think the song is fantastic too.

So. Possibly a bit more of a personal post than usual but I hope you found something that tickles your ear drums.

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