3 Characteristics of High Impact Learning Departments: Laura Overton Interview
March 18, 2015
[Steve Rayson] I really like data, whilst I am interested in someone’s views I am particularly interested in evidence and insights based on data. Thus I was excited this week to catch up with Laura Overton. Laura is the MD at Towards Maturity and runs one of the largest corporate learning data collection projects.
My Take: Laura boils departmental success down to 3 key factors based on research and analysis across a number of L&D professionals. What’s important to note, at least for me, is that these three points are not new. They should not be earth-shattering revelations for anyone. I think what is really disturbing is that we have to keep saying it (particularly point #3) and that we need the research to back it up.
From Will Thalheimer…
More and more training departments are considering the use of the Net Promoter Score as a question–or the central question–on their smile sheets.
This is one of the stupidest ideas yet for smile sheets, but I understand the impetus–traditional smile sheets provide poor information. In this blog post I am going to try and put a finely-honed dagger through the heart of this idea.
My take: something done poorly is best not done at all…and that sums up most of my feeling on the use of smiley sheets as the sole measure of “training success”. I recall my days as a MCSE / MCT for a major corporate training provider here in Canada. Microsoft Curriculum demanded a feedback form after every class. We were even supposed to send them to MS Canada, but apparently even they didn’t bother looking at them in detail. However, woe betide any MCT who didn’t score highly. As for me? I was less concerned about the numerical scores. I used to tell my students, “a 5 or 6 out of 7 with some comments about what you feel needs improvement is of much more value to me than a 7 out of 7 with no comments at all.”
As time has gone on, I have fallen further away from Kirkpatrick’s model (Dan Pontefract’s comments on it notwithstanding) and I prefer to use other methods for evaluation. Will is very interested in “mythbusting” in the L&D space and this post is another example of some of the practices that persist in L&D – to our collective detriment.
Here is an article from Debbie Landers who is the General Manager, Kenexa & Smarter Workforce at IBM that you should find very interesting as we are seeing an influx of Millenials coming into the workforce. According to the numbers Millenials will make up 50% of the workforce by 2020 so getting a grounded understanding of who they are is definitely important.
A new study by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, Myths, exaggerations and uncomfortable truths, has busted numerous myths typically associated with Millennials at the workplace.
My take: While there are a few questionable assumptions in this article (Digital Natives, Generational Learners, etc.) I feel it important that we have sufficient empathy for the diverse nature of our learner community. Needs, wants, motivations, and goals, will be different for all.
Share your thoughts on the myths busted in the study. Did the study go too far? Or not far enough?
Weapon Of Mass Instruction: Artist Creates A Tank That Delivers Free Books
Raul Lemesoff, an eccentric artist in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has created a bizarre tank-like ‘Weapon Of Mass Instruction’ (Arma de Instruccion Masiva) that he intends to use to battle ignorance and spread knowledge.
Lemesoff converted a 1979 Ford Falcon into a bizarre tank-like vehicle complete with a swiveling turret, a non-functioning gun, and space to store about 900 books – inside and outside of the vehicle.
My take: While I could have proposed other visuals than the current “armament” (a pen, perhaps??) I absolutely love this concept. It’s in the same vein as the Tiny Libraries that crop up in small, distributed communities. It’s unfortunate that the “fun police” or the “totally makes sense police” will find some way to stifle efforts such as this one. Here’s my question to you: what could you do to create a WMI experience within your organization? How unique and through-provoking could you get? with your efforts?
This came to my attention via Jane Hart through my Twitter feed.
I admit, I’m conflicted.
One one hand I get what he is saying, in that if you’re charging people to attend and event, it doesn’t necessarily align with asking speakers to donate their time when participants are paying for the privilege.
On the other hand, not all of us are so fortunate that we can demand speaking fees if asked to participate. In some cases, us “common folk” may welcome the exposure associated with such requests and – if they make sense – we may well jump at the chance.
What are your thoughts?
I’ve been depressed.
Telling you this will blow my chances of running for president, but what the hell: I have been clinically depressed for the last two years. It’s a form of going crazy. I lost interest in my work, stopped blogging and taking photos. I became a near-hermit.
I want to share my experiences with you so that if the black dog visits you or one of your friends, you’ll recognize it for what it is and take appropriate action.
My take: As a depression sufferer, I urge you to speak out. If you need an ear, you call me…message me…Twitter, FB, LinkedIn, Skype, whatever.. I promise that I’ll listen.
Depression took a crippling toll on my life until I finally acknowledged it and sought treatment. Since then, I have slowly regained control of my life.
It’s an empowering thing when one of the most respected people in your network comes forth with something like this. Jay Cross just took another step up the ladder of esteem in my book.
I promised that I would share part of the journey to my talk in Australia in June. I do this because it will help me make more sense of what I am trying to accomplish and it will also let me share the prep that goes into making a TED-style talk; something totally new for me.
As a side note, I was very happy to learn that Harold Jarche will also be speaking on the Workplace Learning track, as will Joyce Seitzinger. It will be nice to see Harold again, and I look forward to meeting Joyce.
There’s a pretty good raft of resources available to tell you how to prep for a TED-style talk, to say nothing of having a lot of TED talks to watch and follow. The thing is, you need to dig deeper into the structure of the talk to get a better sense of how they work. I’m here to tell ya: its more complicated than it looks. Read the rest of this entry
We have this tendency in higher education to throw babies out with bath water. It derives from dualistic thinking. Either something is right or wrong, it’s in or out, up or down. As mature thinkers, we disavow these dichotomous perspectives, but then find their simplicity hard to resist. They make complicated things easy.
Any number of us have had our doubts about learning styles. The instruments that detect, name, and classify these various approaches to learning just seemed too straightforward. How can there by only two or even four styles? And how can every learner fit neatly into one of those boxes? We also worried about how students responded to them. “I’m a visual learner,” one told me, “I don’t do textbooks.” A certain learning style then excuses one from other learning modalities?
My take: This is a detached and well-reasoned discussion on the polarizing issue of Learning Styles. What I like is that it goes beyond the purported lack of scientific rigour and speaks of the impact on learners themselves, e.g. “I’m a visual learner”. If nothing else, this article should be required reading on both sides of the ongoing debate.
A little under two years ago, Mark Bennett was forced to mark his sixtieth birthday by gathering his employees together and telling them that the company was on the verge of running out of money. He was, as usual, working every hour he could to ensure its survival. For six weeks he had met with three or four potential partners a day, and impressed upon them how iSchool could transform education, and perhaps healthcare and agriculture too, across vast swathes of the world.
My take: I knew of Mark Bennett’s work by reputation and I was in awe of his efforts to improve education in Africa. We complain a lot about our networks and our tools, but his challenge make our concerns look petty by comparison. The world of education has lost a pioneer and a visionary.