This is my seventh or eighth year (either way, I’m getting on) attending the CIPD’s annual event focused on learning and development. I call it that because this is the artist formerly known as HRD which has now been reborn as the Learning & Development Show. And it seems the title change is about more than just a facelift. For a while now the CIPD has been taking positive steps as far as its L&D interests are concerned. And as someone who orbits in and around planet learning, it’s really encouraging to see.
I was lucky enough to meet Gill White, Capability and Career Development Director at the CIPD, recently who talked about exciting plans for learning and development based on her impressive experience. She really has been there and done it where L&D is concerned and it’s great that someone who knows the profession so well is shaping the institute’s approach to learning and development as a core part of its business. Andy Lancaster, who I have met only briefly in real life, but whose reputation and tweets speak volumes, has been appointed as the CIPD’s lead for L&D. Again, his experience of being at the coal face can’t help but bring a more up to date and realistic understanding of the challenges faced by learning professionals today.
It’s also great to see the launch of its new Digital Learning Design programme, developed and delivered by none other than Clive Shepherd and endorsed by the eLearning Network. As a member of the eLN, it’s hugely encouraging to see the network getting involved in more formal routes for development that actually start to reflect the way digital learning is used in organisations. A criticism levelled at the eLN is that ‘elearning’ is old hat, but our view is that elearning actually refers to more than click next courseware. This new programme from the CIPD focuses on instructional design techniques and explores different outputs across text, audio, animation and video plus a range of technologies from HTML5 to authoring tools and Flash. This should prepare people for creating a wide variety of ‘elearning’ resources rather than just courses – a good thing in my book.
So why does any of this matter? Well, the CIPD has a huge membership and real sway across the business community. And there aren’t many organisations in our industry in a position to be invited on to the BBC Breakfast sofa to comment on hot topics and current affairs. Its research is robust and what it publishes is generally taken pretty seriously. If they now have a greater focus and understanding of learning and development then surely this can only serve to help our cause?
This week’s Learning & Development Show has a strong conference line-up that focuses principally on case study led sessions. The exhibition looks set to be busy (tube strike permitting!) and there are more learning technology providers in attendance than in previous years which mirrors the changing shape of workplace learning.
CEO Peter Cheese has outlined a vision for the CIPD to ‘champion better work and better working lives’. L&D has the potential to contribute so much to this vision, whether it’s around nurturing talent, leadership development, bridging skills gaps, harnessing technology or increasing employee engagement. What’s so positive is the CIPD has recognised this potential and in working towards its own vision, seems to be taking the time and making the effort to understand learning and development as a profession and as a discipline. In turn, this understanding can inform its research, qualifications (see Sukh Pabial’s excellent blog on the need for more formal career development within L&D) and support for the profession.
I personally get a bit frustrated that the national news in this country focuses so much on education but hardly ever on workplace learning (beyond apprenticeships). The reality is that L&D makes a huge difference across the board, from our biggest and most important organisations, down to teeny tiny start-ups and if the CIPD can better champion that going forwards, I’m all in and can’t wait to see it in action at the event this week.
I’ll be tweeting via #cipdLDshow so will see you online if not in person.
Disclaimer: I’m not tweeting in an official capacity, nor do I work for the CIPD in any way. These are merely my observations that have been formed over several months and distilled whilst thinking about attending the event this week.