Posts Tagged ‘E-learning’

Public Sector Learning Conference Agenda

April 28, 2009

Public Sector Learningcircle-of-colourful-people-boughtcmprsd
Fresh Ideas for Tomorrow’s people

Date    Wednesday 20th May
Place   Hilton London Kensington Hotel
Book now

What’s it all about?
Learning Pool’s first ever annual conference will benefit smart organisations who want to find out how to use new media to create efficiencies and service improvements.

Having a well trained and motivated workforce is the key for the future. This interactive, fun and unstuffy conference featuring speakers, interactive showcases and masterclasses exploring new media, will generate practical ideas to help make this happen.

Book now

Who should come?
Anyone who wants to know how to use new media simply and effectively to create efficiencies and service improvements.  So that’s public sector IT and L&D people.

Key Note speaker
Ben Page, MD of IPSoS MORI named ‘one of the 50 most influential people in local government’ by LGC will be talking about the social networking phenomenon and how it has evolved from being the domain of techno geeks to the fabric of society in just a few years.

Other speakers include:
 •   Charles Jennings on how to develop a robust technology-enabled learning & development strategy
•    Donald Clark on why social-networking will shape the 21st Century and where the opportunity is
•    Major Roy Evans on how he has developed and delivered mobile e-learning activities for active frontline personnel
•    Henry Stewart will be providing top advice on ‘How to turn learners on’ and keep them engaged

Book now 

What else is happening?
Conference delegates can choose to attend one of 4 master classes on:
• Writing for Electronic Media
• What’s the point of Equality & Diversity?
• Taking control of your email
• How to develop your e-learning strategy

There will also be a series of showcases run by public sector organisations on:
• Using e-learning to communicate policy
• Training lots of colleagues quickly on Government Connect
• Delivering social care e-learning
• Collaborative partnership working by Essex HR Partnership

Book now

Sounds good
We think so and we hope you do too.  For more information and to book places click here or call 0207 101 9383.

We look forward to seeing you there.



Learning Pool conference – Donald Clark’s Weapons of Mass Collaboration

April 24, 2009


 E-learning has rarely, if ever, been called a weapon of mass collaboration but if the cap fits wear it.  

Donald Clark, board member of UFI LearnDirect and blogger extraordinaire, cites Audit Commission statistics that show that local authority spending on training per annum is over £500m and two thirds of this spend is duplicated. 

Shocking statistics in today’s environment of efficiency savings and frugality. 

It seems the opportunity for collaboration is massive.

Donald is speaking at the Public Sector Learning Conference on 20th May where he will build on what he sees is the big opportunity and quick win for public sector organisations.

Donald will be outlining why he feels sharing, self-publishing, search and social-networking will shape the 21st Century and how, in the middle of the current financial difficulties, lies opportunity.

Other speakers at Public Sector Learning – Fresh ideas for tomorrow’s people include:
Ben Page, MD, Ipos MORI
Major Roy Evans, British Army
Charles Jennings, Duntroon Associates
Henry Stewart, Chief Executive, Happy Computers

For more information and to book places click here or call 0207 101 9383.

It’s still good to talk

April 20, 2009

buzby1Do you remember a BT ad from the late ‘80’s where the dad answers the phone and immediately passes the caller, his daughter, to the mum to chat to?

Well, I was one of those daughters.

Whenever I called my parents my dad would answer and say, “Hang on, I’ll get your mum…” and would only spend a few seconds on the phone with me.

But I’ve noticed that now I’m a skype user via the laptop the tables have turned – and it’s dad who spends all the time on the ‘phone’ and not mum.

In fact he has become something of a skype stalker and relishes in ‘catching’ me when I happen to be on line for any other purpose. He seems to delight in giving me an entire run down of every goal scored in the Premier League each week.

Perhaps there’s something about the use of technology that makes it more ‘manly’ for the more traditional generation to call now? Or maybe my dad’s just a mischief maker.


Shared not secret

January 16, 2009

pierce-brosnan-as-james-bondThe James Bond classic ‘The World is not Enough’ was on TV again recently. 

Now I’m not a massive fan of the three digit daredevil but I do like the sequence where Pierce Brosnan and Robbie Coltrane’s characters are on a wooden platform in the middle of the Caspian Sea.  

A helicopter with a rotating saw is swooping down and Robbie Coltrane’s Rolls Royce goes into the sea.  Oops.

That platform was originally built during the first oil rush.  Apparently oil could only be recovered when it was near to the surface and at that particular geographic point in the Caspian Sea the water is shallow, and the oil not too far below the surface.  At one time a whole town used to live out there and they even had a Mayor.

Anyway, up until not so long ago a gas bubble was venting into the atmosphere just off the structure.  Natural gas worth $250,000 a day (and that was then) or $91,250,000 a year of natural resources was being lost.  And then a company called Pennzoil was able to cap the bubble, compress the gas and pump it onshore. Hey presto – everyone wins.

That got me thinking that there is generally a huge amount a resource out there, if you just know where to look.  That’s the secret.

For those interested in e-learning in the public sector there are lots of different projects that your fellow L&D professionals are working on.  Plus lots of ideas for treatments of difficult topics, creative use of images and so on.

That’s one of the great things about being in my role as a Learning Pool technical trainer – I get to chat to people about what they’re up to and find out about some of the really interesting things going on.

So instead of keeping your own ideas, projects, questions capped, why not release them into the Learning Pool community so that everyone can win?  That would be an emission that is good for the environment, I promise you.


Tackling the crunch

January 14, 2009

tightening-beltsIt was the best of times, it was the worst of times” was how Charles Dickens opened ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ and he could easily have been talking about the e-learning industry during the current credit crunch.


All around belts are being tightened as prices rise, long established shops close and employment figures fall.  And it’s not just the private sector that is feeling the pinch.  


It’s time to batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst but the good news is, from most quarters at least, that councils appear to understand that being leaner is not the full answer.  Cutting staff is one thing but those left behind need to be more efficient and spend their time more effectively.


Having spoken to lots of local authorities over the last couple of months I am pleased to report that the majority view e-learning as a way to reduce the costs of training whilst increasing the flexibility of delivery.  Those who had already embraced e-learning are growing their portfolios and increasing its use.


Some people have said that e-learning can be a rather cold experience but I don’t think so.  My suggestion is that if you use the tools available in our DLE (Dynamic Learning Environment) and wrap them around a learning activity (be that an elearning module or a face to face event) you can actually create a much warmer, richer experience.


For example, take a traditional face to face course on Recruitment and Selection.  Here’s what you’d do:


1.      Take the policy, chop it up, make it legible, make it engaging and deliver it as an e-learning module.

2.      Add a test to prove that people have read and understood the policy before they set foot in the classroom.  This should allow you to reduce the face to face time needed as your delegates have proven they know the rules so all they need now is to practice the skills.

3.      Now put the trainer’s notes online and make them available only to people who attend the classroom event.

4.      Add a forum so attendees can discuss issues raised or get support after the event.

5.      Maybe add another e-learning module for learners to complete with some simple scenarios to work through.


And, voila!  Suddenly, what was an event has become a full learning process.


By reducing face to face time you should have also made it easier for delegates to attend that event as well as freeing up the trainer to do other work and cut down on waiting lists


Delegates can tap back into the learning at any time for a refresher (after all, you are not likely to walk out of the classroom straight into the interview room).


The DLE also improves your management and monitoring of the learning so if something should go wrong, and an industrial tribunal is called, you will have strong evidence of who did the training and how well they showed they knew the policy.


So it may well be the worst of times but in e-learning we should be looking to get stuck in and show where efficiencies can be made and where value can be added.  For those that do, this it may just well be the best of times instead.



Good resolutions

January 6, 2009

meatloafNew Year resolutions are funny things.  There’s something about the start of a new year that fills us with good intentions and ambitions. 

But there’s also something that’s a bit out of reach about them too, and therefore easy enough to dismiss by the time the decorations come down.

A quick straw poll round the office here at Pool Heights suggests that, like lots of other people, there are those amongst us who want to stop smoking, drinking, eating too much chocolate and get fitter.  And try out those retro blue and yellow roller skates around town without fear of looking uncool.

One wise soul said they don’t really believe in resolutions but would rather make a small pact with themselves to try something new this year.  That’s all.  Nothing too ‘all or nothing’ about it, just something small and achievable. 

After all, who wants to feel a failure?  That’s enough to get anyone reaching for the next bar of Dairy Milk.

Breaking things down into bite sized chunks (I’ve got chocolate on the brain here) makes things easier to digest (hmm) and much more achievable.  Just like our e-learning courses. 

It seems we all want to be a bit greener, a bit thriftier and a bit healthier.  And e-learning can help with most of this.  As Meatloaf said, two out of three aint bad.


He’s making a list…

December 2, 2008

santa-shopping-onlineChristmas is coming, we are all shopping like mad and, due to the credit crunch, trying to do it as frugally as possible.  My procurement method of choice is shopping on line.  I love it, been doing it for years and each year I do more.

The ease of logging on to Amazon or and surfing through recommended options is just marvelous. Knowing what someone likes and being able to see “ people who bought X also bought Y” makes buying the correct presents a lot easier than in previous years.

And what about the excitement of Ebay shopping?  The thrill of netting a bargain in the dying seconds of an auction is fab feeling, and losing a bid in the same way is also a bit of an adrenalin surge too.  Ebay is an Aladdin’s cave of wonders and if you are ever at a loose end try typing in any random word and you will be amazed at the strange, the bizarre and the downright dross that people are trying to sell.

Ever fancied a lie detector, a tin of Roadkill Stew or the wishbone from someone’s Christmas turkey?  No?  Well, I am sure that there is something there that you would love to find in your Christmas stocking.

With all this stuff on line, and with it being so easy to find and buy what you want, how come no one has managed to sort out a sensible delivery method?  You know, one that is prepared to deliver when you are at home. 

The majority of my purchases come via Royal Mail who does a pretty good job most of the time.  If I am not in, the depot is close enough for it still to be convenient to collect but why do they only open from 7.00am to 12.30pm?  Surely that is just wrong (or, in this day and age, not particularly customer friendly)?

Then there are the delivery companies who leave you a note saying: “We tried to deliver to you but you were obviously out earning enough to pay for these frivolous items so we have taken them back to our depot which is hidden in an industrial estate 22 miles away and you can only collect your item when you should be at work.”

When will someone come up with a system that allows you to get the stuff you want, where you want it and when it is convenient to you?

Anyone coming up with a system that:
• delivers what you need
• delivers it when you need it
• delivers it to you where you happen to be
deserves an award.

(from the awarding winning company, Learning Pool)

Feel the connection

November 12, 2008

reportersOne of my pet hates (and I have a great many) is reporters standing outside of buildings. 


Let me clarify.  You are watching the news and the newsreader announces that we can now go live to a reporter at the scene. This is quite often a person with a microphone standing outside a closed, darkened building.


You may have caught the recent news story of the Beckham’s belongings being sold on E-Bay and, if you did, you no doubt saw reporters standing outside ‘Beckingham Palace’ late in the evening.  Not only was it dark but the celebrity couple were in a different country.  What was the point?


The best I ever came across was a couple of years ago when Leeds United were having financial difficulties and I was listening to the late evening news on my car radio.  They had a reporter outside the ground who was only able to tell us that it was snowing.  Why do they do this?   What value does it add?   Remember this was on the radio – I couldn’t even see where the reporter was standing!


What exactly do the broadcasters think is going to happen?  When they have a chap outside number 10 late at night do they think that the PM might just bob his head out of the door and offer up a exclusive?  Let’s face it – it’s never going to happen.


Surely this carry-on defies all logic?   It goes against the green agenda, wastes the licence fee and is the complete opposite of e-learning (I bet you didn’t expect me to twist back to that subject). 


With e-learning the people can stay put and the essential information comes to them where they are and when they want it.  Efficient, thrifty and relevant.  That’s more like it.



Calling all e-learning authors

October 29, 2008

Laurel and HardyIn addition to my account management role within the South West and Wales I’ve also been delivering the two day Instructional Design Authoring Workshops across the country for the past eighteen months or so.

We’re delighted that Andy Houghton joined us this week, as he will take on a role which will involve delivering a lot of our workshops, and he will be a great asset to our team.

Handing over the ID workshops reins to Andy made me think about all the wonderful people I have met whilst delivering these workshops and of all enormous enthusiasm they have shown and learning they have achieved during these events.

We’ve had some great laughs along the way – including some of the hysterical ‘Laurel and Hardy’ type moments when arriving at locations and setting up.  I’m sure Lee and Yvonne from Knowsley will remember me being in fits of laughter when presented with the maps to give to delegates so they could find the toilets!

So, thanks to everyone who has ever attended a workshop with me (all 200 of you).

All I would like now, knowing all the good stuff you were authoring and planning to author, is whether you’re ready to share any of the e-learning you’ve created back into the Learning Pool catalogue?

I know there will be some great stuff out there because I’ve earwigged on your plans.  Just imagine how much everyone will benefit if you all share what you have done (however small or grand)!

If you’re not sure how to share your e-learning back into the Learning Pool catalogue follow the instructions on the LP website or contact the help desk.

So, come on all you great authors – upload it for us, or send it to us for sharing.  Let’s be having you!

RSS in plain English

September 25, 2008

rss diceWe discovered this wonderful YouTube video explaining how to get started with RSS. 

It’s just under 4 minutes long and really simply suggests what RSS is all about and how it saves you time.

Fun, easy and rapid.  Sounds a bit like Learning Pool!

See the CommonCraft’s show on RSS in plain English


Aprendizaje, or e-learning in any language

August 22, 2008

spanish e-learningAs some of you may know I am learning Spanish at the moment and Coffee Break Spanish , also known as ‘language learning with your latte’ is one of my favourite resources on the web.

My favourite feature on the site has to be the weekly 15 minute podcast which I download and put onto my MP3 player so I can then listen to it wherever and whenever I like.  I sometimes get some funny looks on my way home on the Tube when I practice out loud though.

The web site has a community forum and teacher, Mark, publishes a regular blog which is intereting.

More advanced learners should check out Notes in Spanish which, though less structured in approach, does contain conversational podcasts and videos.  You can download worksheets and join the forum as well as reading Ben’s Blog.

What strikes me about these sites is that nowhere, but nowhere, is the word ‘e-learning’ used (but more on the importance of definitions in a future blog).  Instead there’s quality content, which is fit for purpose and does exactly what it says on the tin.  I think we can learn a lot about delivering learning from these sites.


Bite sized learning, anyone?

August 20, 2008

There are many advantages to working at Learning Pool.  For me, meeting lots of different people from all parts of the country is really interesting.  

On a recent visit to Yorkshire for a Breakfast Meeting Sam and I stayed in Leeds for the night which gave us the opportunity to sample the delights of the city centre and indulge in one of my other passions – Indian food.  We found ourselves  a really good place and settled down.

This restaurant served the largest naan breads I’ve ever seen.  When we asked why they were so big we were told that they were the family size naan.  Feeling hungry after a long day travelling we thought we were man enough for one of these beauties and so tried to order one with our meal.  Our waiter had other ideas though, “They’re too big for two people,” he said.  So we had to settle for a normal size one (pictured), which was more than enough for the two of us.

So what does naan bread and Learning Pool have in common?

Well, in a word, sharing.  Learning Pool allows you to create, deploy and monitor e-learning, plus you can share your creation with other members.  Why reinvent the wheel when there may be something already created and shared back in to the catalogue?

Using our Authoring Tool you can easily make changes to a course already created and then deploy it, no fuss. Or perhaps you have created images for you course?  These can now also be shared via our brand new online image library.

It really is good to share, as Sam and I now know.  Our curries were delicious and, if you want to know the best places to eat in Leeds, give me a call!


August Sunshine

August 8, 2008


When writing blogs I usually sit down and try to think of an interesting and personal topic to talk about…But instead I thought I would try and buck the trend and sat down and attempted to think of the most boring topic, just to mix things up!

Only one topic sprung to mind, the dreaded conversation everyone hates and rolls their eyes when they hear it… have you guessed it yet? Yes, the weather!  What a topic, guaranteed to get any girl in the world to run a mile or put your granny to sleep on the sofa with a cup of tea in her hand.

I once had a dream… the dream that when someone said it was the summer, it actually was the summer. Instead we get flood-like conditions and, if we are lucky, maybe (just maybe) it will hit or possibly go past twenty degrees.  I’m guessing that’s the reason why Ireland (and most of the UK) is so green, because no matter what the season, month or day you’re promised at least a little rain, sleet or even snow.

For this reason and maybe because I’m just a little lazy, I love e-learning. There is no need to leave the office or maybe the comfort of your bed if you are armed with a laptop.  All that is needed is a few clicks and the information is in front of you.  No stress, time or effort  required for a company to hire venues, trainers, catering and other expenses. If that wasn’t enough, cutting out traveling by car, train or plane cuts down on your carbon footprint, making you and your company do something a little greener and save a lot of cash.

 So why not be lazy like me check out Learning Pool‘s site or e-mail Breda and get a free month’s guest pass.


Happy Birthday to us!

August 1, 2008


Hip, hip, hurray! We’re 2 years old on 1st August 2008 and it feels fantastic.  My, how we’ve grown in the last 2 years since Paul and Mary bought Learning Pool from IDeA.  A roller coaster ride, if ever there was one! 


In the last two years we have:

  • Re-branded and re-launched Learning Pool
  • Kept the IDeA’s original customers and added 50 more
  • Moved offices once
  • Launched 4 new services
  • Recruited 22 new team members
  • Doubled our number of customers
  • Been shortlisted for a national e-learning award
  • Been on TV
  • Had 10 customers hug us
  • Had a few wild staff nights out
  • Launched our (hotly contested) Customer of the Year award
  • Met Elvis
  • Introduced over 400 customers to each other
  • Had a Learning Pool baby (2 more on the way!)
  • Lost 4 customers and got them back
  • Had 8 Steering Group meetings
  • Met or spoken to all the LEA’s in England (hello!)
  • Worked with some fab suppliers (and a couple of not so fab ones)
  • Met about 300 councillors
  • Delivered instructional design authoring training to 168 people
  • Written lots of lovely blogs
  • Created over 40 e-learning courses
  • Revamped and re-launched our Authoring Tool
  • Eaten too many cakes at our team meetings
  • Visited over 300 councils (and counting)
  • Clocked up too many air miles
  • Spent about 600 days on our mobile phones (wow… should have bought shares in Vodafone!)

 What’s Mary’s highlight from the last 2 years?

“Launching the fabulous Learning Pool DLE and seeing it being used so widely – it brings me joy every time one of our customers finds something new they can do with it that we hadn’t thought of and I still have nightmares about the county council that had spent £1m on an LMS.”

And Paul’s?

“Being in a room full of prospective customers and having one person stand up and say that Learning Pool’s customer service was the best she had ever experienced… anywhere!  Well done Ben, thanks Christine and welcome on board Essex councils!”

All in a day’s work ….

July 21, 2008
Who said e-learning is the new rock and roll?

Who said e-learning is the new rock and roll?