I shouted last week…this is what I’m going to do about it:

Okay, so I’ve actually shouted at people three times in three weeks.  The third time felt particularly bad, it wasn’t the five people I shouted at that were really to blame but instead a combination of factors – building up to a point of frustration.  This week I was struck down with norovirus for about 48 hours, this time spent feeling sorry for myself (interspersed with weird illness dreams) has given me some time to reflect on what was (by shouting), I would consider at least, uncharacteristic behaviour for me.

Thus, I’m going to (or already have):

  • Spending some time with friends and family to recharge.
  • Going to spend less time trying to analyse Brexit – oddly this has been inspired by watching the last series of Peaky Blinders.  The focus on Oswald Mosley really just reinforced, to me, the class war that Britain has faced and the failure of politics to balance the agenda (I’m not supporting Fascism here – rather that we haven’t come very far in the best part of a 100 years of Liberal/Tory/Labour governments).  Voter apathy is of course not a solution to this but when I see the horrendous part money plays in American politics (for example, with socialists in the Democrat party fighting between themselves for campaign funding) and the influence of shadowy figures in the UK the solution seems to be to ‘go back into my shell’.  Huge kudos to extinction rebellion (and others like them) for standing up for what they believe in.
  • I’ve printed a copy of my favourite piece of the Strengthscope models for my primary place of work – to try and make good choices daily.
  • Saying ‘thank you’ on Twitter.  I’ve been listening to the Trolled podcast and, now that we have extra characters, I’m keen to say thank you more often.  I’m also going to say thank you to useful people on LinkedIn more often.  Feel free to tell me to shut up if this sounds like noise on the platforms.
  • I’m engaging and liking more comedy/light-hearted stuff on Twitter.  I appreciate that some people will not follow me because of this but I’m trying to not be so focused on learning-related topics on there.
  • I’ve returned to playing my Nintendo Switch after about a year of it collecting dust as I opted for more PC gaming.  The Switch is a joy and if you haven’t got one you really should 🙂

Okay, personal post over – back to learning/education related malarkey soon!

Thank you if you’ve read this far 😉

The old L&D measures are not just wrong: they should now be seen as negatives

Following on from my post about ‘greening L&D’ I’ve just listened to the recent L&D podcast from David James (with guest Kevin Yates).

I’ve heard Kevin speak before and it is difficult to disagree with his focus on metrics.  Indeed I fear I’ve even scared some recruiters off in the past when talking about what the organisational goals/metrics are when being interviewed by the learning department, when they would rather talk about preconceived ideas about what the best ‘learning solution’ may be.

Kevin mentions the business/organisational problem with the traditionally captured L&D metrics – like smiley sheet feedback and attendance numbers – i.e. that they are not business/organisation measures but L&D management measures.  However, I would take this further and say many of these measures are now active negatives in a world where we need to ‘green’ our ways of working.  I would argue we have to take the Learning Reducer mindset to be brutal with our activity – not just for the money spent on the activity but anything involving travel (face-to-face training, instructional design meetings, etc), printing, digital tool use (electricity), etc in terms of their contribution to our organisations’ carbon footprint.

I’m happy to support training if it actively builds networks in the company, increases confidence (especially considering the mounting mental health crisis) and other measures which may not be directly company related metrics (i.e. not hard ROI or ‘bottom line’) BUT the expectations need to be clear and measurable up front.  Indeed Kevin does mentions that for difficult things like putting metrics to tricky areas like behaviour change – ‘metrication’ (if I use that phrase) – we should still aim to do it (when appropriate).

How green is your L&D? Where is the climate concern from people development professionals?

Between extinction rebellion, Greta Thunberg and the growing political consensus it is clear 2019 may finally be the year where climate change is taken seriously.  I posted briefly about this in April but its been telling of late how little (if at all) this topic has permeated into L&D professional conversations.

In some ways L&D have led the way in corporate environmentalism – the shift towards eLearning and virtual classrooms have performed considerable savings in travel time and CO2.  Often due to budget pressure L&D has found new ways to support learning and performance.  However, we continue to see job posts advertised where location is the primary factor – rather than recognising the true power of global collaboration technologies.  VUCA and other challenges to L&D/organisational strategies are talked about but sustainability is talked about in a business sense, not in the sense of making your work more sustainable.  In a quick Google search, the top results relating to ‘green’ or ‘sustainable’ L&D are nothing to do with the environment or climate crisis at all.  For example, the topic article returned for ‘sustainable L&D’ is a typical L&D article, namely that it considers the chance of survival for L&D in terms of proving worth to the boardroom, rather than anything to do with contributing to how sustainable the organisation is environmentally.

Learning (in and outside of the workplace) is an essential aspect of the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) as both an enabler and as specific parts of goals, such as “Quality Education”.  However, the learning and development field seems silent on the topic and continues to pass this issue on to others within the organisation.  The time has come for far more of a focus?

MyAnalytics in Microsoft365: first impressions

Jumping on the data bandwagon (where ‘analytics’ seems to be the new ‘big’) Microsoft’s offering – MyAnalytics – was made available to me in my organisation this week (having previously been part of the ‘Delve’ branding).  Here’s Microsoft’s own introduction:

This data basically shows what you’ve been up to in Office365 – such as time spent in meetings, how much time you’ve spent in Outlook when you should be in “quiet” time (i.e. when you should be at home with your feet up), etc.

Aggregated, this data would be pretty powerful.  For the individual, at least for me, it seems to just reinforce what you probably already know – how quick you reply to emails, how much you work on those “quiet days” and who your “top collaborators” are.  At an aggregate level this covers some ground where research has been done in the past – for example the collaborators data is effectively network analysis and could well highlight other things that are happening in your organisation, for example the hidden influencers who are top collaborators but perhaps not in positions of traditional organisational power in the hierarchy/matrix.  Unfortunately this isn’t possible, albeit for understandable reasons:

Data privacy

None of a user’s personal information is shared with their co-workers or managers.

MyAnalytics adheres to compliance regulations, such as the GDPR.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/workplace-analytics/myanalytics/overview/mya-for-admins

I used something similar a while back at the desktop level that highlighted time spent in active applications – at the time it was nearly all Firefox and Outlook but also highlighted how much time I actually used Articulate Storyline and other things.  The Microsoft solution seems quite good in going beyond the desktop to the use of the services across devices.  However, for those with international roles the concept of working hours is, of course, very tricky.  Yes, you might ‘normally’ work 9-5 in Europe but those 7am calls with Australia would, from an Analytics perspective, count towards working outside your hours and cutting into “quiet times”.

For those really struggling with focus at work and allowing email to run their time, however, the data sets, suggestions and goal setting tools are likely to at least offer some help.  Nice list of what is included here.  Ultimately this can be useful for personal reflection, for example in agreeing outcomes as part of team behaviour change in improving work life balance.

10 years of Twitter

I recently received my “10th #twitterversary” email from Twitter and it made me reflect on my use of the platform.

I’ve never been a big tweeter, tending to use it share at events and also retweet/like things that I would later blog about from those same events.  Otherwise my use has been fairly limited.

Going back through my old tweets, tweet number one was:

That tweet is pretty indicative of my focus at the time – working with the Blackboard LMS/VLE and supporting users with/via free tech (like Screenr was).  In my early tweets, as with Screenr, there are a notable volume of dead-links – basically showing how Twitter is indicative of the web’s tendency for large amounts of redundant data.  The Blackboard focus includes plenty of early tweets from ongoing events such as #LondonBUG as well as historic date stamped hashtags like #BbTLC11.

More recently I have tried to shift from the work-only focus with an update to my profile (to include other interests like dog, football and gaming) to show more of my ‘personal’ side.  I’ve also written about being sucked into politics and tweeting about that – which obviously was not the intention ten years ago when tweeting new Blackboard resources!  Yet politics ‘sells’, considering my last tweet got 75 likes more than any other I think.