At the CIPD we have a passion for learning, it is after all at the heart of our Profession Map. We are delighted to support and promote Learning at Work Week again this year. 2022s theme is 'learning uncovered' and three sub themes that are titled ‘uncover learning potential’, ‘uncover hidden powers’ and ‘uncover new dimensions’. What will you uncover with this years learning at work theme?
Learning is about active engagement; it is what we do when we want to make sense of our world. It may involve the development of skills, knowledge, awareness, values, beliefs and ideas as well having to let go of previous insights to our world. Effective learning involves reflection and supports change. It is a creative activity that goes beyond attending a training course (although of course this can be effective in itself).
This year we have taken the three themes and are sharing our thoughts in a series of blogs we will be putting on Twitter and Linkedin. CIPDs own learning and OD team who support the development needs of our 350 employees have also put on a series of events that follow the themes.
We would love to hear your insights by using the hashtags #CIPD #LAWW2022 #Learning Uncovered.
Being avid supporters of learning at work week means we embrace and work hard to role model learning ourselves.
Explore what we did for Learning at Work Week in 2022
It surely cannot be a year since we shared our outputs from 2021s event!
This year's theme is one that really captured my imagination. I work alongside an incredible team of people who have pulled off an enormous successful piece of work over the last 18 months. We, along with other colleagues across the institute, have launched a learning experience platform that the CIPDs almost 160,000 members can use to access a range of member benefits, including our Essential Insights learning programmes (which is a core membership offering). We have a rhythm of releasing 4 new Essential Insights every 3 months. In the main most of these link direct to our profession map that sets out the standards for people professionals to champion better work and working lives.
This has been no mean feat. We have worked with a range of subject matter experts, some of whom took a leap of faith with us, because we started creating our products before the platform was secured, often painting a picture of our vision with the paint still wet and working out processes as we went along.
The technology shaped elements of our offering naturally, but we were clear, we wanted to push boundaries, exploring what great self-serve asynchronous online learning could look like.
In the ‘before times’ we may have created one new course every 6 months or so, during 2020 and 2021 we created over 40 new products varying from 90 minutes to 70 hours in length. It has been full on! However, looking at the resources our members and subscribers can access we can see the results of our hard work. And early feedback is good, usage varies across the products as expected, and the numbers have exceeded planned launch expectations. We have also looked at a range of ways of measuring beyond access and completion and starting to see the results of these come through.
We cannot rest on our laurels, there is much we still want to do, we embraced a minimal viable product approach – something that was not comfortable for everyone, but we have a review cycle planned. We are working out what parts of the profession map we are tackling next. We are looking for examples of ‘what happened next’ after our members and subscribers completed their learning so we can see the impact and transfer of learning.
For LAWW this year the CIPD Learning team are again collaborating with our internal learning and OD colleagues again whose work supports the 350 CIPD employees based in the UK, Ireland, Dubai and Singapore. There is an exciting agenda internally that links each of this year's learning uncovered themes.
As we go through the programme will also be taking a moment to reflect on our experience over the last 18 months. We have had team members unearthing their hidden powers, we have embraced new dimensions in our work, we have demonstrated that even with our combined vast experience in learning, there is much still to learn, every day really is a learning day!
I have curated a series of blogs to share with the wider L&D community this year, getting some of the CIPD Learning Team members to make their connection with the learning at work week topics with the aim of inspiring others to consider uncovering new dimensions, hidden powers and really unearth learning potential
David Hayden Learning Content Manager CIPD
First up, Giorgia…
Recently, I flew abroad with my 4-year-old daughter. She is too young to remember the last time she was on a plane (pre-pandemic). She was mesmerised and excited by absolutely everything, even what most travellers find tedious and annoying. She also didn’t know what things like ‘going through security’ mean and she asked me what the cigarette sign on the plane meant. When I explained that and what the image was, she asked me what a cigarette is!
All of this made me think about how much we assume about others’ knowledge and perspective when designing learning content and how do we find the balance. We can’t assume people know but also, we don’t want to assume they know nothing. The more we can find out about our perspective learners, the better although it’s a challenge with a product that can be purchased by anyone on a learning platform. It also made me wish there was an easy way to hold on to that sense of wonder and excitement as we get older! This is something else we can strive to create when designing learning while, as learners, it would be a great mindset to have in approaching new experiences.
And now, Steve…
My daughter recently burned her hand quite badly resulting in a trip to A&E late one evening and back again the following day for a change of dressings and assessment. On that second visit she was treated by student paramedic under the watchful eye of a senior nurse. My daughter was in pain, nervous and at times distressed and while comforting her I was watching the expert way the medical team dealt with it. Not just the compassion for a child, you’d expect that, but how they were conscious and mindful of what they were doing without making it obvious. There were the subtle ways they would hide her hand from view when the dressing came off so she wouldn’t see the blistering, removing the gruesome bandages and equipment out of sight, the way the rhythm and tone of the conversation flowed and changed to distract her depending on whether what they were doing might hurt, the deliberate use of ‘codes’ to describe doing things to her hand which could sound terrifying in any context and especially as a patient already in pain. Everything they did was thought through, right down to the division of work so one was always busy in her eye-line, away from her hand and holding conversation while the other carried out the treatments, switching roles as the need arose.
Reflecting afterwards on how reassuring their care was and how effective it was in easing her worry was a reminder for me of the importance of not letting our own familiarity, confidence and comfort with a situation prevent us from seeing it through the eyes of those who do not have that same experience, or whose situation may bring a different perspective or emotional load to an event than that we bring ourselves.
Giorgia Gamba-Quilliam and Steve George Learning Content Managers CIPD
I asked my colleague Sofia to share her thoughts on this years theme, these are her words…
This year’s Learning at Work Week theme is “Learning Uncovered”, which focuses on the importance of being lifelong learners, and how we can share our hidden talents that we’ve developed both at work and in life with others.
My commitment to lifelong learning began during the pandemic. When the first lockdown was announced and we suddenly had to give up all our social interactions, like most people I found myself with more free time than I’d ever had before. And at first, I’ll admit the prospect was quite exciting: I’d been so used to the hectic London rhythms that no longer having to commute in the packed Northern Line at peak time, squeezed under some stranger’s armpit, sounded like a dream.
However, the reality of it kicked in quickly and it soon became evident that the “three weeks to flatten the curve” were most likely to turn into three months, or more. So, once I’d baked all the banana bread and binge-watched every Netflix show, I asked myself: what now?
It was then that I remembered I had been wanting to become a qualified Mental Health First Aider but, funnily enough, I had been putting it off due to a lack of time. So I went on the hunt for a course and, shortly after, I was filling up my otherwise empty lockdown weekends with coursework. As someone who dreads deadlines and assignments (who doesn’t?), I was surprised to find that I enjoyed the process of learning this time around. Mental health is a subject I’ve always been very passionate about, and it had become even more prevalent during the pandemic; not only was I gaining all this knowledge and a whole new perspective on the topic, but it also made me discover a renewed passion for Learning.
A few months and a couple of lockdowns later, I found myself signing up for another qualification, this time to become a meditation teacher, which had been another unexplored passion of mine for a long time. Like the previous course, I went into this with a completely open mind; in fact, I didn’t even know whether I wanted to pursue a career teaching meditation and mindfulness in the first place. Instead, I was aiming to learn more about the practice and to connect with people who share the same passion, and so I did.
Since then, with the lockdown behind us, it seems we’ve gone back to the frantic pre-pandemic life. However, the one thing that has stayed with me is my commitment to never stop making time to learn, regardless of how busy life gets - whether it be finding out more about investments and crypto or learning a new language (currently studying Korean so wish me luck!), I’ve since taken up more opportunities for self-development.
So when I think about what “Learning Uncovered” means, I think about all the skills I’ve gained over the past two years or, if we want to go even further, throughout my lifetime. And, although I may not always be able to concretely apply them to my role, they have helped shape me into who I am today.
We all have certain talents we often keep hidden at work, because we don’t think they would be relevant or important enough. However, sharing our knowledge can be a powerful tool, as it allows us to connect with others and create communities where learning becomes a joint experience rather than something we keep to ourselves.
The skills and knowledge we accumulate throughout our life make us who we are as individuals, and it becomes a power in itself. So my invite to you today is to think about what you can bring to the table (and this is not the time to be humble, you don’t have to hit those high notes like Mariah Carey to claim you have a talent). What is a power that you’ve been keeping hidden, and how can you share it with others?
Sofia Oumlaz Learning Co-ordinator CIPD.
Where it all began
Back in 2013 I hired a bouncy castle. Upon collection the owner said, we could do with someone like your husband to help with deliveries and collections. At the time money was tight, I was working part-time and the kids were young so an extra income was welcomed. For two years my husband was working 7am-10pm Saturday and Sunday as well as a full time job and at the end of each shift would hand the daily takings over to someone else for a tiny wage in return.
One evening we decided we could do a business alike this ourselves. I had the business skills and my husband had experience from working within the industry plus a van from his carpentry work.
Finding my way
So, I joined an inflatable association with an active community to explore what it takes to start a business and best practice. I wanted to build a solid foundation for our business that would be credible. We researched the local competition. The market in our area was pretty saturated but as a parent and knowing what I wanted and needed from a local business providing me with a service for special occasions I was determined to building in operations so that our business would be customer focused, reliable, efficient, safe and friendly. We agreed on affordable but doable prices, bought our first small inflatable and the domain name Cheam Bouncy Castles was purchased and the business was born early 2015.
I bought a cheap SIM, used an old phone, a friend showed me how to design my own website using a free blog on WordPress, that took a lot of long nights designing and I didn’t have a website host, I never even knew what a host was, so I taught myself how to map my website to my domain name… a whole another world, let me tell you!
Some of the things I had to learn quickly
- Rules around inflatables and their safety
- Designing disclaimers, terms and conditions and FAQ’s
- Embedding our values as a business into our booking and delivery processes
- Building a brand
- Public liability insurance
- Safety inspections, where, who and how
- Building a website
- Social media
- Risk assessments/safety
- And many more….I just blank it all out now ha!
To make the business viable and to buy more equipment my husband continued working 7 days and I ran the business solely for a year with two young children in tow and yep, they had to travel around in a van all weekend. I am pretty sure 20% of the profit in the first year was spent on bribes of ice cream and treats.
I started sharing and reaching out to local Facebook community networks and free sites such as Yell and talking to local parents. And then enquiries started coming in slowly. I was so nervous!
Everyone loves a bouncy castle, no matter how young or old, they bring out the youngster in us.
With life being so fast paced, taken over by devices and technology, it’s so lovely to see the simplest things in life bring hours of endless fun, smiles and laughter.
What I learnt
We both learnt skills and behaviours from each other, my husband’s customer service skills are second to none and I am better at being firm about what is achievable. I once didn’t want to let a customer down that I ended up doing her gardening and pruning her rose bush… yep, this is why Dan has now taken over the business customer facing role and I now manage the back end.
‘I ended up doing her gardening and pruning her rose bush’
We tried our hand at fancy dress hire, soft play for under 5’s, adult castles to grow our appeal to a wider audience. I purchased a Kandy cart to cater for special parties, weddings and anniversaries and started doing party sweet bags and we continue to look for the next steps… maybe hot tubs maybe a children’s entertainer, who knows?
We all have hidden talents, we all have transferable skills we can apply to lots of other talents we just don’t always realise it. I sometimes forget that I was a big part of starting this business up and without the skills and knowledge I have gained over my career and life as a parent have been so valuable to the success of our business. If I can do it, you can too.
Starting a business – FutureLearn – FREE
Vision and opportunity https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/starting-a-business-1
People and networks https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/starting-a-business-2
Customers and competitors www.futurelearn.com/courses/starting-a-business-3
Business processes https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/starting-a-business-4
Managing finances https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/starting-a-business-5
Funding your business https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/starting-a-business-6
Thank you for sharing, Michelle Battista, Learning Community and Content Curator
I am often asked what skills and knowledge do you need to have to work in learning? In this final blog I share the insights from a few of my colleagues working across CIPD Learning. I challenged them to come up with ten statements about themselves and a short closing ‘so what’ sentence about themselves as a person, a human, a learning professional. Here are their replies along with my own.
I am a daughter
I am a sister
I am an auntie
I am left handed
I lack self confidence
I am an extrovert
I strength train
I have diagnosed OCD
I am a creative
I learn in a visual/practical way
What’s challenged me is lacking in self-confidence. I don’t always feel like my voice/concerns matter and I find it difficult to speak up sometimes because of that.
I am a son
I am Brother
I am a nephew
I am a Londoner
I am a minority
I am a content producer
I am a windows user
I am a creative
I am a trainer
I am trying to become a reader
A challenge I face is getting started with new things. I have a lot of ambitions, but I am very pessimistic on the outcome of trying what’s new, which makes me put them off. A goal of mine is to build confidence and not care what others may think.
I am an expat
I am a millennial
I am child free
I am a gamer
I am a work from anywhere supporter
I am an atheist
I am a new people manager
I am an introvert
I am an aunt
I am a traveller
I have embraced my flows and strengths, and the new ways of working have helped me become the learning professional I wanted to be.
I am ME!
I am loyal
I am a wife and mother
I have lived and worked in 4 countries
I am learning every day and won’t stop
I am relearning to play the guitar
I am an amateur gardener
I love to sing
I volunteer with the local church and conduct sessions at Little church for the little ones
I have trouble with thinking and indicating left and right
I am good with directions though and have a good memory
All this makes me the ME I started with, my own brand of an individual professional and personal self, that learns and unlearns to relearn based on the situation and context.
I am a husband
I am father
I am a grandfather
I am a northerner
I am disabled
I am a learning professional
I am a mac user
I am a runner
I have trouble reading words that are unfamiliar
I have trouble with grammar
All of this makes me my own brand of learning professional
All of this offers insights into learning in depth
There is no one perfect ‘mould’ for anyone working in L&D, or any other profession for that matter. At CIPD Learning we are working hard to uncover our hidden superpowers to commission, create and curate great resources for our members, subscribers and others who interact with our content. Learning at Work Week has helped us as a team uncover more about ourselves, share some of our hidden powers with each other, find new dimensions and uncover potential.
What would your list be to uncover learning?
Thank you for reading
Sharon Fernandes, Mark Wilson, Barbara Bonanno, Sophie George and Michael Nyame from the CIPD Learning team
Explore what we did for Learning at Work Week in 2021
Being that weirdo…
Got to be honest, for me there is nothing more liberating than being that 'lost in your own world' weirdo, laughing to them self in public whilst the world looks on. I can only blame my behaviour on my love of podcasts.
Podcasts enable me to easily engage with things I enjoy. Be it comedy, travel writers or environmental issues there is a podcast for everything. They are free and easy to access. I use the Google Podcasts App to automatically download the podcasts so I do not miss a single one.
They only take up ‘dead time’ as well, when running, doing DIY, housework, commuting, shopping. Those times where your brain does not need to think, and you can let it soak up the things you love hearing about.
Not sure where to start? A great place is the BBC Radio 4 Extra Podcast Radio Show. Nope, I am not going to be that review spoiler. Instead, I am going to let leave it to your own curiosity to check it out...
PS: Don't worry about being that weirdo either... There is an easily recognisable silent community of us out there... We are the ones quietly and knowingly smiling to ourselves as we watch you laughing to yourself.
Mark Wilson a learning community and content curator at the CIPD
Some people have a love-hate relationship with social media. Critics say platforms like Twitter and Facebook have polarised opinion and are divisive. However, community groups exist and thrive across a range of platforms. Professional groups meet on twitter and share their insights and learning. Pinterest provides a space for people to collaborate on a range of interests, crafts and hobbies.
For me, it's all about user choice, each user has the choice to engage or not with posts. In real life we make choices about who we interact with and when, the same rule can apply on social media.
I use Twitter to engage with learning groups, and Facebook to stay in touch with my running club and book running sessions with them. I use Instagram for sharing pictures with people in my network who are interested. However, I may go two or three weeks without posting a picture. I connect with people whose pictures I am keen to see. I also use running and fitness apps to help me connect with other runners and with an aim of maintaining (and improving!) my level of fitness whilst remaining injury free.
It is up to you to control how you interact, when you interact and what your purpose and intent for each interaction is. It can expose you to a wonderful world of learning!
David Hayden is a digital portfolio manager at the CIPD
LXP, LMS, VLC, VLE, MOOCs: What do all the acronyms mean and how can we make the most of these platforms which have been made for learning?
In this digital age, learning has moved online and with it, there are multiple platforms competing for our time and attention. Our learning format is evolving from conventional classroom style courses, supported with books, to flexible learning that is just enough, just in time and just for me. So which platforms can help us to make learning instant and personalised, available on handheld devices and adapted for accessibility needs?
Many organisations have Learning Management Systems (LMS) designed for tracking learning and keeping a convenient record for compliance. Yet this formal and sometimes stuffy approach risks discounting the majority of learning we do. Learning Experience Platforms (LXP) are more learner centric, and customer driven. The benefit of LXPs is that they are built using data analytics and AI to improve the learner’s experience the more they engage with the tool, helping us to learn faster and more effectively.
There are also Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) which categorise thousands of free courses. These can support learner curiosity and just like Lewis Carroll’s Alice, you may find yourself down the rabbit hole of all the interesting courses that are available.
Finally, the virtual learning communities made from Virtual Learning Campus (VLC) or Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) help learners to connect and encourage sharing habits which are key to embedding our learning. They can be used to influence and guide groups of learners and build a connection through learning.
Charlie Wesson is part of the CIPD L&OD team
What is our perception of AI?
Firstly - why are we even talking about it? AI is this a thing of the future, right? With some internet-esque intangibility? Well, you could be wrong.
We’ve been dreaming about AI for years – at least since the 80’s movie classics like Star Wars and Terminator, and (slightly) more recently with The Matrix and I Robot. So why do we still think it’s so far into the future? Why aren't we embracing it? Are we worried about it replacing us? Or is it something else?
I saw a comedian recently who said: 'I’m not scared about robots taking over – they can’t even tick the webpage box which says “I’m not a robot”'. We all laughed – but it’s true, AI is here but it’s something we control – and it's more common than we may think... Consider Spotify, Netflix, Alexa, Siri… The list goes on… It's being used in HR & L&D, healthcare, marketing and even some of our IT teams are using chatbots for tech support. So if the tech is there – why aren’t we embracing it? Surely it’s something we should be excited about? Just think how it could support L&OD – intelligent LXPs, adaptive learning, capacity and capability planning, intelligent data analysis, even curating and creating learning content... what's not to like about that?
So, what's my point?
Even if AI replaced our admin, content curation and learning design, it can’t replace the human curiosity which drives problem solving, the nuances of human connection or our human desire to learn and strive for excellence. This is a tool like any other – it's our curiosity and ability to learn to use it which will make it successful.
Chris Baldwin is in the CIPD L&OD Team
How do I focus on me? How do I make learning a habit?
- Block time in your daily routine for you, some online calendars will automatically book time in for learning or focus time.
- Take time to exercise, be it a walk, jog, run, swim, cycle ride, the focus on another activity helps with focus on you.
- Take up reflection through mind-mapping, sketch-noting, journal writing or dictating to the voice recorder on your smart phone.
- If you already have some great examples on how you focus on yourself, you could share these with others. You could add them on social media with the hashtags #CIPD #LAWW2021 #FocusOnMe.