Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Top 100 Tools For Learning


I came across this recently on the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies. As a trainer who is always looking for new tools support learning content there is some real 'gold dust' in here.

Between January and March 2008 the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT) invited learning professionals to share their Top 10 Tools for Learning – both for their own personal learning/productivity as well as for creating learning for others.
155 learning professionals contributed their Top 10 Tools. You can find the links to their individual Top 10 favourite Tools lists at

In total over 460 different tools were named, but from these Top 10 Tools lists we compiled a list of the Top 100 Tools for Learning Spring 2008. 109 Tools were mentioned 3 or more times, and an additional 34 tools were mentioned twice. The list appears on pages 3-10 of this document and also online at www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/top100.html

An Analysis of the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2008 list appears online at

The tool links in these two lists take you to pages at the Centre’s website where you can find further information about each tool:
· cost and availability information
· a summary of the tool
· the aggregated comments of the contributors who named this tool as one of their favourites.

We then categorised the Top 100 Tools list by type of tool – to create A Core Toolset for
Learning 2008. This appears on pages 11-13 of this document and online at

Hope you all find this useful!!!

Friday, 25 April 2008

TV and Movie Clips - A Plethora of Learning Opportunities

Every time I watch 'The Apprentice' on TV it just hits me the programme is a really rich environment for learning. Working in a professional services organisation we do invest time developing people into leadership roles. The above clip is a great example of shall we say a slight lack of emotional intelligence in Rory's leadership style.

I also like the use of clips from movies and have seen Toy Story used to great effect. The bit where Buzz Lightyear arrives on the seen and has total belief that he can fly....love it!

Would be interested to know what other everyday media people use as part of their learning interventions?

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Blended learning....what is it...really...?

Over the past couple of years I have put in a solid core training framework for my organisation. Now is the time to take it forward to another level......by putting in place a blended approach to learning.

I thought it would be interested to ask my linked in network what blended learning meant to them. An interesting set of responses - check out some examples:

"Blended development is the mixing and mashing of different software/web) development frameworks. I can't imagine it otherwise than being or becoming a mess actually."

Brendan Duffy provides a perhaps more business focused view:

"I notice that more of my clients in Europe expect all major learning programs to be 'blended' driven by cost, travel, workload, organisational and flexibilty issues; in highly distributed and virtual organisations it is increasinlgly difficult to get all of the people in the same room at the same time"

This is something I can certainly associate with even with learning programs that are just in the UK!

Another linked in contract provides another valuable view:

"Because adults do not learn best using all the same style, blended learning is able to pull the "best of the best" for a particular topic and deliver it to the learners in a way that has greater impact than if just one delivery method (e.g. self study or videos) were used. It typically involves a more robust learning model, such as: show me, teach me, let me try, and test me."

And finally.....a simple definition from a long lost linked in colleague:

"Tell Me I Forget, Show Me I remember, Involve Me I Understand"

Well, for me the blended bit certainly means providing a variety of channels for people to learn. These don't all have to be training channels such as eLearning or Classroom courses. For me picking up on the 'Involve me I understand' view is creating your own learning experiences through on the job work or stretch assignments.

Would love to hear more of your views....

Sunday, 20 April 2008

My favourite 360 Feedback Tool for Leadership

I have used a number of 360 feedback tools over the years to support various L&D activity. There are many types and each with their own merits.

One of my favourites is The Extraordinary Leader tool. It is based on the book by Zenger and Folkman

With most leadership models some clever people think up a model and then set about testing it. They can do extensive research to show that their model really does spell out the right set of leadership traits and characteristics. However two clever guys - Zenger and Folkman (http://www.zfco.com/exeleaderwork.html) studied organisations that are really sucessful in terms of revenue, profit, staff turnover - you name it. They then interviewed the leader's in these successful organisations and looked to see what they had in common - in fact they found 16 things that they all had in common. So this isn't a theory it is based on actual and very successful leaders.

The 360 tool (just part of a suite of tools) is fantastic for using with senior leaders. They get a real hard message on how good a leader they really are compared to the very best in the world. Not only that but they also get a great set of guidance and feedback on what to do next.

I've used it a couple of times now and have found it one of the most useful 360 tool around...

Owning your own personal development

A key challenge for any fast paced organisation is creating an environment where employees really do own their own personal development. The question is how do you do this? For me, there are a number of critical areas:

  • An environment where 'just standing still' is simply not good enough. Your current skills and knowledge may equip you to cope with the demands of your job today......in fact you may get away with it for a couple of months.......but beyond that - forget it!
  • An environment where everyone from top down are visibily participating in learning related activities whether this is coaching, training, stretch asignments etc.
  • An environment that treats learning as one of the critical factors in being successful in the business. This is as important as client relationship, financial management, marketing or anything else that is perhaps traditionally easier to associate directly to the bottom line.
So....it's about the environment that we create around us at work then, is it? Well, yes but remembering that an organisation is a collection of individuals. Of course HR can facilitate the process and you can introduce key measures to influence employee behaviour. But at the end of the day it's all about priorities and motivation.....for each individual.

For me, success would mean that everyone is thinking about their own development - where do they want to grow, what key skills and experiences do they want to gain? The organisation is providing ample opportunitity to help people achieve these things. It's supply and demand!