Thinking, Design, How we got here

Something I’m aware of in the L&D space is we’re not great at openly sharing about our practice. Some do it really well. They share their thinking, their practice, their results, and they do it as part of their being. Many, though, aren’t comfortable with it.

There’s something about being open on social media which people present barriers for. I hope that through my blogging and open sharing I help others see that often it’s accepted by others and there is often very little ill consequence to prevent me from continuing. 

If you’ve been aware over recent weeks, I launched Modern Learning Leader programme. Links are all over the place on this site, so you know, it’s a thing I’m doing. I wanted to share how we got here and why it’s been designed the way it has.

I first started thinking about this thing about 5 years ago, and started talking about it with Phil Willcox and Perry Timms. We jointly agreed there’s no real provision for the development of L&D knowledge and practice for L&D leaders. Sure there’s CIPD quals and other industry badges you can get, but what about the leader who wants to gain better and deeper awareness of what’s available?

We came up with a thing and life intervened so we didn’t take it further. I revisited it January 2016 and tried to make a go of it again. This time I took a revised model to some national L&D providers. One, DPG, were supportive of it, and sadly it didn’t go anywhere.

Then we get to two months back and I arrived at the idea for the programme as it looks now. I’m going at it myself in terms of marketing and comms, and the general rollout and making it happen. 5 people have booked on the programme so far. Doesn’t sound a lot does it? But, those 5 have validated for me this programme has legs, is valuable, and is worth following through regardless if it gets any more bookings or not.

I’m not thinking this programme will bring me riches. It’s about doing something I’ve been clear is needed and seeing how it can happen. An experiment. A controlled experiment, too. I’m not over-committing in any way. I’m mindful of my time commitments I can put to it and how that needs to flux.

The design of the programme is very much with a meta-learning process in mind. As people go through the programme and the content, they experience the content as is intended. They will experience what a programme looks and feels like when you take into account the human condition, adult learning, instructional design, user experience, and social learning technologies. It is of itself a case study as people go through the programme.

In a couple of weeks, we start the webinar series over 5 consecutive weeks. Those webinars will aim to provide a baseline understanding and awareness of each topic. I’ve asked people who know these topics well, people who are leaders themselves in the field, and getting them to be designers of the programme too. Meta.

The Slack channel will be the webinar presenters, plus the leaders, and a space to explore topics together, further, deeper, with each other. No one will have any higher status than anyone else as we’re all there to participate in the learning process.

By the time we get to September, what I’m banking on is that we’ll all be primed and ready for proper exploration and thinking for how what we’ve learned to date enables us to be better L&D leaders.

I haven’t yet designed the two day workshop. I know, shocking, right? For now, I don’t need a complete solution. The intention of the two days is to allow open space for exploration and learning as it needs to happen. That’s as much as I need to plan for now. Over the coming weeks as the webinars start to happen, I’ll get to designing the two day workshop in line with how people tell me it needs to work for them. Co-creation in action, I think.

I’m not calling out models of learning design that I’ve included because that’s not how I’m approaching it. Modern learning solutions aren’t designed with models in mind. They’re designed by understanding user needs and providing a solution that meets that need. This is one solution and approach I’ve decided on. It’s not the only way. There are other approaches and others experienced L&D leaders who will argue the merits (or not) or my running a programme in this way.

So, there we have it. An overall structure and design which has enough in it for now that it can entice and sell tickets. I’ll continue to share my learnings and insights as the programme unfolds.

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