Modern learning leader programme reflctive practice

This was an “in the moment” reflective blog. Read more about the workshop here. Please note, I didn’t re-read this, just published raw thoughts!

It’s after lunch and Sukh Pabial is giving us quit tim to reflect, which I’m making noises in with my typing.

Sukh has provided this flip chart to help us think about our thoughts, ask these questions, if they arre relevant, then then decide if there is an action from that thought.

What I have experinced in the workshop so far this morning is actually the list of som of those words. An environment, with other professionals, that is interesting, helpful, challenging, supportive an more.

Before lunch we needed to think about what we wanted for the rest of the day. So many of us are so indoctrinated into the school classroom modality of sitting and listening to the expert, or being told which activity to do, that we expect that. Whilst I didn’t expect that approach from Sukh, I know him too well for that, it did leave me at a loss for what I epected from the programme. What is the tangible thing I want.

What struck me was how much I’m enjoying the challenging and supportive conversations we are all having. Me helping someone else is helping me. Sukh reflecting back my language allows me to expriment with something else. Me dominating the conversation allows me to get what I need, as it does when someone else does.

So, reflection. Time. That’s what I have experienced and that’s what I want more of.

History of the virtual classroom

As part of another project, I thought I’d document the history of the virtual classroom.

It’s not as easy a job as you might think, because the virtual classroom is often known as online learning, which then gets you thinking about the whole learning programme, including University degree’s and MOOCs and the more traditional distance learning.

History of distance learning


From a Forbes article: “Distance learning began in 1892 when the University of Chicago created the first college-level distance learning program. Expanding from this initial use of the U.S. Postal Service for course correspondence, distance education moved towards live radio shows in 1921 and then televised broadcasts in 1963.”

Further technology development of online education

From a Peterson’s article: “In 1960 there was a system of linked computer terminals where students could access course materials as well as listen to recorded lectures. This would evolve into PLATO (Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations). At its height, PLATO operated on thousands of terminals across the globe. More interestingly, PLATO would be used to create many of the concepts of social networking that we know today: message boards, chat rooms and screen sharing.”

CALCampus started in 1982 in New Hampshire in the US using Commodore computers to provide instruction to individual learners through the use of computers. In 1994 e-mail and then the internet developed and meant that CALCampus could bring it’s offerings together in one website.

Teaching online isn’t revolutionary

This research paper from CALCampus founder Margaret Gorts Morabito states “…the birth and development of online distance education which occurred during the 1980s. Educators, researchers and the public should be aware of the significant events dealing with online distance education that were happening in this important and formative decade. In 1997, there are claims on the Internet from educations organisations of their revolutionary new ways of teaching online; yet, from an historical perspective, these revolutionary new methods are really duplicating what was already developed and implemented online over a decade ago. Online distance education is a natural outgrowth of distance education and correspondence education…”

On Wikipedia there is an article about web conferencing the development of virtual classroom software.

Virtual classroom development infographic

This is the first infographic I’ve made, courtesy of a free account and template from Pik To Chart.


Inside L&D MOOC – plans for supporting managers

I’ve participated in the Inside L&D: What Your Managers Really Need MOOC course by Good Practice and HT2 Labs.

The very last activity in the Massive Open Online Course is to reflect on the programme and how to support managers. This is relevant to those on the course as well as those just interested in good L&D research and how to apply it.



The linear programme looked at the excellent research commissioned by Good Practice to understand more about how manager’s learn and deal with the challenges in their work – in order for Good Practice to better support them with their products.

This, and other research that the company have done, has been really useful to understand more about the challenges that manager’s self-report, how they like to learn (or deal with those challenges) and how they like to use online resources.

One interesting piece of information I tweeted:


Below is my comment from within the MOOC about the lack of social network use by managers within organisations:



Another curated resource was some research about senior management successfully transition into their roles. I wrote a reflective blog on that here.

All of the information from Good Practice research and the other curated resources are useful to make me think more about managers, the broader learning population, and what they need or what from L&D.

There is a strong theme that emerges from this course that we should ask more questions of our learners in order to understand them and what support they need to do their job well.

Supporting managers

I don’t directly support managers in my role with Lightbulb Moment, however many of my clients do – directly or indirectly. This research and the discussion points in this programme have reinforced my belief that we need this kind of broad information to use as a starting point to focus more specifically on the groups and contexts within the organisations we work.

This will allow us to find out about their specific challenges and the help they need to succeed for the bottom line of whatever the organisation does and the people involved with it – be that their staff or clients of some description.

This has to be some kind of further research with staff when a learning need is presented, as well as supplying information in the ways that people want to learn – that is harnessing the technology that is already successful in a company as well as implementing something new where appropriate and doing it really well.

Finally, that point about the technology that people are using well — it could be a mobile communication tool like Slack or WhatsApp, an enterprise tool like Yammer, or five minutes in the kitchen with someone that leads to a development or coaching conversation. They are all highlighted in this research as important and the blend of them mustn’t be forgotten.

Learning Live 2014 – links to last year

Learning Live is starting to rev it’s engine ahead of it’s September conference in London. Hosted by the Learning Performance Institute, it’s a great conference to attend that’s a little more intimate and, for some, conversational than the Learning Skills Group conferences. I’m sure I shall blog and tweet nearer the time, including the things that are currently in the pipeline about what I shall be doing there.

In the mean time, here’s a look back at my 2013 blogs from the first time I attended Learning Live:

Follow or post more by using the Twitter hashtag #LearningLive and perhaps I shall see you there?