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Chip Away at Learning

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A lot of different things have made me think over the last couple of weeks:

  • The #SocialHRmcr 'unconference' that I attended
  • Clearing out my office (and kids bedrooms)
  • A change to my exercise regime


On the face of it, they appear to have nothing in common, but they do: It's all about 'chipping away'. 

I think the clearing out my office situation is obvious enough. Spending an hour or so a day is slowly but surely turning the family dumping ground back into a serious business environment. Fitting in 20-30 minutes exercise each day is (just at the moment) easier than attending long fitness sessions. Social learning is about learning whilst you work, not instead of work.

That's always been the problem with traditional L&D: people see it as an additional task to fit into their already busy day. People often drop out of day-long workshops because 'something' has happened at work and they can't spare the time. Getting people to commit to long-term programmes is hard as who knows what their situation will be 6 months from now? e-learning (and all its glorious variations) gives increased flexibility, yet a) it isn't appropriate for every topic and b) not everyone wants to learn in their 'free' time.

This of course was one of the guiding principles of Power Hour - training sessions that are short enough NOT to disrupt the day, but offering 'protected' time in which to learn. But these days, learning is much more subtle than that. 

As someone who runs their own business, I used to worry that I don't invest enough in my own development. Since attending the #SocialHRmcr gig, I realise that I invest plenty. Sure, I may only attend 4-6 'formal' learning events each year, but I learn in many other ways including:

  • Reading books/articles to research new topic areas for the training that I design
  • Speaking to other trainers and taking a genuine interest in what they do, and their areas of specialism
  • Taking half an hour at the start of every day to 'do' social media, which ALWAYS leads me to at least one useful website, blog, video, article or infographic
  • Writing occasional blogs myself (a great way of reflecting on your learning)


Because this learning isn't planned, documented or measured, it's easy to dismiss it and not appreciate its value. However, when I look back at how my own knowledge and skills have developed over the last 8 years it's clear that it really does all add up. Unfortunately, many organisations have still to recognise this. Social media sites are blocked; People aren't allowed 'personal development' time; employees aren't encouraged to share information across sites or departments (or heaven forbid with other organisations!); any development activity has to be justified as being relevant to the current role and signed triplicate. I could go on, but my point is this: Open your eyes to the wealth of learning opportunities that are around you, however small they seem to be. 

Mosquito quote

PS - Remember that if you choose to make Power Hour bite-size training sessions part of your learning strategy, we are currently donating £5 for every set of materials sold to fund a young person to do voluntary work in Tanzania. Why not visit our shop  and see what may be useful?

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