CIPD L&D Show May 2016

I attended the second day of this year’s CIPD L&D Exhibition. There didn’t appear to be too much new on the exhibition floor and there remained a strong showing from CIPD qualification training providers, somewhat surprisingly considering the availability of the experience assessment and the rise of apprenticeships.

Included below are some rough notes from the free learning sessions I attended. [My comments in square brackets]

Management and Leadership Development: what does the future look like?

The presenter argued that MLD is all about return on investment and performance improvement. How you will measure impact should be essential part of your scoping and considerations [obviously, although it is probably a fair assumption that people have historically had lots of away days, and the like, with no real reasoning – I also suspect he was using RoI in a loose sense].

Recommended that bespoke is best as you can tailor to your needs and requirements.

Example of an IT company that used the presenter for the delivery of full sessions. These were recorded and then delivered to other audiences in 2 hour chunks due to large numbers being trained. [There were quite a few mentions for ‘bitesize’ solutions – interestingly this was later described as 2 hour chunks, not what most people would could call ‘bitesize’].

Connecting people key, including Skype and ongoing networks after events. Managers want bitesize and the opportunity to talk to each other.

Negative numbers from TM Embracing Change were mention, L&D is failing to meet challenge of seeing productivity increase. Treat management seriously and have people move toward chartered management and ongoing development if that is focus of their role to help.

If looking at providers need detailed review, including asking to speak to other clients. Too many bad purchasing decisions in this space.

Would you say people are still using tools you introduce in interventions? Need reinforcement [not least to tackle forgetting curve].

5 identified options: can be appropriate to do in-house. [He ran through these different blends and approaches they have used with clients inc. Level 5/7 ILM].

Would say 5% of people on leadership programs are really leaders, rather than managers. ILM7 can drive change.

Slide on recommended programme [largely aligned with what we’re trying to do with talent framework].

Remember is about fun and energy, metabolic management about creating higher energy levels. Open air can have big impact.

Embedding a Growth Mindset – Raising courage for maximum performance

[Presenters’ company focuses on helping people develop a “courageous growth mindset” – I’ve won a personal free session with them so will be able to comment more in a few weeks].

The UK has major issues with engagement and job satisfaction – 24% in CIPD survey looking to move on from current employer.

Priorities coming from the (lack of) satisfaction include well-being programmes, cracking management development issues, etc.

Pennsylvania researchers developed the GRIT score based on Duckworth 12 item questionnaire. When tested with students at Penn the GRIT outweighed pure academic scores as indicator of performance.

So what we can do to up GRIT scores?

[Their solution is a reflective activity and workshop. They ran through part of this development piece with the group attending the session].

[Some of the points from the session:]

  • You can’t be too conformist to achieve this
  • Mind tactics page – things that block you from behaving the way you would [would you say you hold yourself back? Would consider I am fairly self reflective and aware. However would agree that subconsciously complacent]
  • [I liked the point that you need to think about how you act when engaged and what that means and looks like]
  • Don’t pigeon yourself. Celebrate your successes. [Their] iAM tool develops who you are at heart.
  • Have free events where you can experience it further. 4 a year.

Adding Business Value: proving the impact of L&D through evaluation

Proving value through evaluation (

Need to be thinking of business value [obviously].

Need to stand up for ourselves [i.e. L&D] with evidence, unlikely anyone else will.

Yet innovation in learning not being matched with innovation in evaluation, LMS often adds to problem.

[Ran through a list of things from 1954] Same year as Kirkpatrick. How many other industries still using something from 50s? Not into kicking Kirkpatrick, as some presenters do, but there are clearly issues. [I’d agree but most industries build upon existing historic theories and to be fair Kirkpatrick is not in the same form, or at least expectations of use are not, as in 50s]

Really about behaviors and evaluation.

Evaluation thinkers have built upon KP or used alternatives [my point above], they make use of forecasting and other items from other fields.

One major issue with KP is that it is summative.

Instead decide what want and be strategic (four things can really look at):


[Fine but I would have thought most people realise they need to roll Kirkpatrick up to beyond a ‘course’ or ‘session’ to show real evaluation]

Decide target / what measure to say achieved / by when [yes, I like this as a simplification – effectively though is just saying L&D need SMART targets?].

Where appropriate, weigh input values (i.e. how much your element is impacting an organizational KPI) compared to other things. There are not too many valuables – banking, and other industries don’t claim that. They make forecasts, etc. so why can’t L&D?

Competencies [presenter’s] favorite area [from the above four quadrant wheel] to target as quick and easy with clearer returns.

Kirkpatrick can be simple and easy solution. Not likely what should actually be doing though.

Focus via points of value. Don’t rate in traditional ways, instead focus on specifics – instead of just asking if someone liked a session ask for measure of the presenter’s presentation skills and where could improve. Forget reaction, focus on intention.

Shifting focus:


Evaluation revolution book coming soon.

A practical framework for modern technology-based (L&D)

[Might have been my tiredness but this one felt a little all over the place with minimal reward]

Core skills for learning and Development – the ICS Learn Learner Support Model.

Response to changing shape of business, including technology, needs to include various factors, including creating self directed learners.

Generation Y/C analysis [not all of which id agree with – not specific to young people]. [Baisc argument was that] children can use technology and are using it at schools, with implications for workplace.

There will be a more fluid workplace, including career matching and a skills marketplace.

Need empowered culture, including feedback.

DNA of what goes in to be effective:


Learner support model for technology-enhanced-learning requires systems/tools and content but only works if all underpinned by support. [Anyone really not expect this to be part of it? Fair point though that tech alone isn’t enough – albeit one we’ve surely moved beyond having to make].

Example given of company where everyone holds responsibility for learning and development, yet L&D department is one person, you don’t have to have huge L&D staff or costs if doing well.

Effective online combines tech etc with capture/connect/communicate [i.e. social learning?].

Transferring L&D key skills:


25th May running live stream on Facebook, their first. Live Q&A on online learning experiences. 12pm on their Facebook page.

Virtual Employee Management: achieving business success using digital resources

Tribal historically focused on apprenticeships. Have taken apprenticeship ‘standards’ logic and tracking into a different focus of tracking operating standards and tracking objectives (e-track tool) – inc for remote staff. [Basically point of presentation was showing how their tool helps] Manage learning programmes overtime via tech, using portfolio and MIS.

Talked through approach: First map job role to competencies.

Example shown on e-track tool. [Basically a competency database with self assessment/certification – with attachments of evidence, etc]

What found was very granular models, so did additional piece focused on tasks. Simplify standards into tasks, if can perform then competent. Showed this mapped to standards but employee themselves sees as more practical as task based.

Different options for tracking, including self-certification versus supervisory roles doing it. Feedback throughout.

All based on fine level details for reporting to regulators that people can do jobs.

Showed some of interface for reporting, for example, managers being able to see progress. [quite nice interface, colours, etc]

Can develop a Learning and Development plan off back of it [effectively here you are taking a roles > competencies > learning approach but, of course, many orgs are at different stages in terms of their maturity in those three areas].

Communities functionality within the tools to have discussions, can pick up eLearning and other content from here – all ticking off competencies in background [effectively performing LMS functionality but in a competencies-first world?]

Interactive data and charts looked quite good, can drill down live within the browser. Can bring in information from other sources, such as payroll, to evaluate worth.

[Basically argue that providing the tracking needed in many industries, clients including nuclear and oil & gas, technology] easing their way.

Bringing the Appraisal Conversation to Life to Tackle Underperformance

Michael West NHS appraisal research – good appraisal correlates to mortality rates in hospital.

How make people love them? Needs to be whole organisation, not just managers – people need to own their performance. Manager only manages it.

Engage everyone, [their favourite approach is forum theatre, went on to demo this with couple of actors. Audience acting as director, stopping action and making recommendations, etc.]

[Quite a nice approach to showing the way to have the conversation].

Apprenticeships, the real future for L&D?

Somewhat under the radar in the UK, well in England at least, we seem to be facing a fundamental decision point for what workplace learning means.

The government’s apprenticeship levy is threatening to create, from my current perspective at least, what looks like a three-tier system:

  1. small organisations who will take on apprentices over other training as they dont have to pay into the levy so its ‘free money’ reducing the need for their own L&D
  2. medium to large employers who see the levy as a substantial cost and feel they need to ‘claim back’ as much of the money as possible via shifting their learning focus to apprenticeships.
  3. large employers who can live with the cost of the levy and will continue as they were.

Overall though it seems the main feeling is one of confusion.  The slow feed of clarification from the government means that forward planning is tricky and at the recent 70/20/10 event I spoke to a number of people who felt apprenticeships were fast becoming their number one issue, without any real discussion in the L&D press.  The issue perhaps being that if an organisation shifts to the ‘claim back’ or ‘free money’ mentality they will be impacting on a number of traditional disciplines including finance, L&D, recruitment and more.  Perhaps the problem is that, as no single discipline ‘owns’ this issue,  apprenticeships remain somewhat out-of-scope for many (at least in their own perceptions of their role).

There is, of course, a very recent precedent for government policy increasing the so called ‘cost of business’.  That so many organisations are being accused of cut backs to benefits to pay for the living wage, raises the suspicion that L&D budgets face a similar cull in the face of such a training related ‘tax’.  The CBI have already warned that successful learning initiatives will suffer in the face of the levy.

With a target of 3 million apprenticeships over the next few years we are talking about comparable numbers to higher education entryMeanwhile, 2014-2024 figures suggest just 1.8 million new jobs – with degree apprenticeships one solution – implying that apprenticeships will need to be used for promotion.

There are some fundamental issues for workplace learning is how apprenticeships can align with wider trends.  Modern apprenticeships will need to focus on bringing in certifying skills from a range of experience, exposure and education.  This will almost certainly have to include some formalisation of the informal, blurring the lines therein (such as staff using tools such as Lynda’s learning paths).

Event notes – 70:20:10 The Evidence Behind the Numbers

I recently attended this half day event, organised by the Corporate eLearning Consortium, based around a few sessions with Charles Jennings and Laura Overton.

The day combined research findings, case studies and other material from Toward Maturity’s research related to 70:20:10 and Charles Jennings’ new 100% performance book (including his new roles for learning/performance professionals).

For anyone familiar with the 70:20:10 concept (if you’re not you obviously can just Google that or go here) there was probably not too much new in the day.  However, there were a few nice takeaways for those who feel they still need to progress the recognition of informal learning (the ‘70’ and ‘20’) in their organizations.  I have listed some of these below (numbered) with my reflections indendented:

  1. The latest research provides data to bust a number of the remaining ‘myths’ related to L&D.
    • As most people who understand the framework already know, the focus has got to be on getting the correct balance of formal and informal learning to drive performance in your organisation. It is not that everyone should be aiming for 90% informal.
  2. Formal learning needs to be reborn.
    • Coming to L&D from HE I often have a bit of trouble with the view of ‘formal’ learning in workplace environments.  To me it is about combining different elements in an online environment; the event and other conferences/webinars tend to presume that the ’10’ is a face-to-face course or virtual classroom.  As Charles Jennings pointed out, the key thing really is ensuring the formal relates to, and is embedded, with workplace practice.
  3. The actual 70/20/10 numbers were originally from managers’ development research.
    • I think this is a point that often does not come through – these numbers will make more sense for an audience like managers.  In other environments the ratios vary.
  4. Branding can be important.  Put things across in a manageable way to change cultures.
    • Examples mentioned included Citi’s move from ‘courses’ to ‘campaigns’.  Danone’s ‘1 learning a day’ and EoN’s ‘learning anywhere anytime’.  One named blocker for evolution was L&D teams who see their job as ‘courses’.  Personally I have, again, never really understood that – perhaps it is a historic thing that a ‘topic’ needed to be covered in an event.  However, we surely now recognised that learning about a topic and/or driving behavioural change will happen over time and an on-going internet resource to support that makes sense.  It was mentioned that an LMS can be seen as a ‘course vending machine’ in too many organisations – again I would argue that might make sense within your organization’s information architecture.
  5. Don’t be satisfied with the old mindset – focus instead on performance and your impact.
    • Evaluation is always such a challenge for support staff who, realistically, work in a machine of many parts. L&D are no different but I liked the concepts outlined around mindset.
  6. Get your principles in place – what you will do as ‘learning’ team, what people can expect from you and what staff can expect of the organization.
    • This is a fair point in my opinion.  A challenge with the merging of supporting roles and shifting professional boundaries undoubtedly makes things less clear – L&D professionals are no longer attached to a classroom (if they ever were), information professionals no longer locked in a library (again often that’s a misnomer but its one that has become pervasive), business development professionals work beyond the tradeshow/cold call, recruitment no longer just do the milk-round circuits, etc.  There is a need to be clear on responsibilities and transparent on skillsets that can be leveraged for organizational objectives.
    • I really like the metaphor of becoming the “oil in the engine, not a spanner in the works” – probably something to throw at anyone who is seen as a blocker (not just L&D) through a lack of innovation around policy, procedure, etc.
  7. Continue to challenge ourselves about how we can support people day-to-day in the flow of work.
    • There was a lot of discussion around making people more self-conscious and reflective.  Ask questions of your star staff such as “if you have a problem how do you solve it” to avoid the challenge of reverting to learning/courses. Again, I would say instructional design has evolved to think about the topics and behaviours needed, the end state desired and then how to get there. A lot of these arguments really come back to getting proper performance consulting in place.