As a relatively new freelance member of the Learning and Performance Institute team, I was pleased to be invited to the Learning Live Conference in London during September 2013. 

Firstly, Learning Live is now one of the industry events for the Learning and Development community, as per the link in this tweet:

The Training Zone podcast special also features this, as discussed by Kate Graham and Jon Kennard.

Conversation and COLF

I also posted this tweet the day before Learning Live, about L&D trainers moving from instruction to facilitation:

I really enjoyed the conversations with people on this subject, from all different perspectives. One thing that came out of these conversations was an increased understanding of how people are applying what they have learnt and experienced in the Certified Online Learning Facilitator qualification from the LPI – for which I am now one of the Facilitators. Whilst the qualification is about delivering learning in the online classroom and focuses on the skills needed for that, I was impressed by how many people stated that the qualification had either enhanced or completely changed their approach to their training work more generally.

“I’m COLFing everything at work now” was a common comment, about the look and feel of training materials as well as their approach being more learner centred. This gave me even more confidence in what I already knew was an important qualification and also the benefit of understanding how it positively impacts an L&D professional outside of the live online classroom too.

After an opening key note that mentioned the LPI Capability Map on the first, free, half day from LPI Chairman Donald Taylor

…we then went into the first of two sessions.
Performance Consulting

I attended Nigel Harrison’s session about moving from L&D and towards performance support. Click here for the recording, along with slides, of Nigel’s session so that you can watch it yourself.

I chose this session as I’ve been reading Nigel’s book on the subject.

Nigel has written in his book about digging down to find out about the underlying issues and using questioning skills to get there. He also advocates working out the cost to the business of the ‘problem’. Nigel really brings a lot of what I’ve been reading in the book to life and I feel much more value from his work now. He fleshes out the issues with his experiences and I got a lot more from the session than I thought I might. On longer sessions it would also be good to see Nigel covering examples that are ‘smaller’ that the average L&D worker might deal with inside of a department, rather than at the millions of pounds level.

I really liked a lot of the advice that Nigel gave to the L&D population, such as:

Whilst discussing what to do when someone in the business comes to you with a traditional training request, Nigel said:

This is a tweet showing an illustration of the process that Nigel explains in his book:

Nigel did a short demonstration of the kind of questions he would use to open up the issue as part of performance consulting and not just taking the L&D order:

Lastly, some summary advice:

Ideas, ideas, ideas…

I came in towards the end of Sam Burrough’s session about design thinking. This link is for the video, which I will also need to watch the beginning of!  I really liked the concept of Sam’s process and saw some parts of it. I liked the rephrasing of what often gets presented to L&D:

Part of Sam’s session was on needs and insights into the issue being defined, which I observed from two Brightwave staff that were happy to share:

Sam tweeted these, with a lot more detail available on design thinking:


A lot of people were able to stay for the networking dinner and drinks. A chance to unwind and enjoy catching up with or getting to know others, with a little bit of fun too, as Alan Jerram commented on the Training Zone feature (free, you just need to register).

Whilst relaxing with a drink Jane Hart, Andrew Jacobs and I discussed a few things. Firstly, Andrew flashing his gorgeous cuff-links (I do like a bit of Superman goodness)…

…and far more importantly about “moments of truth” in learning. It was something Andrew had been reflecting on for some time and I really enjoyed delving into the difference between a learning need, being taught something, the coaching conversation and that moment of realisation, when something clicks.

Andrew has since blogged about this and I look forward to more of the discussion.

Donald introduced the after dinner speaker:

The speaker was Andy Cope, who was co-written the book The Art of Being Brilliant (blog post on that coming soon!).

Andy had a few things to say that made us think and chuckle:

Although not everyone thought so!

He also talked about the “Can we fix it? Yes we can!” mantra of Bob the Builder:

I loved the calling out of doing things the same way as normal:

Andy finished with not only a round of applause and this thought:

More on day two to come soon…

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