Posts Tagged ‘learning pool’

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 – Ben Page on Social Networking

April 26, 2009

ben-pageBen Page, MD of Ipsos MORI and one of the 50 most influential people in local government according to the Local Government Chronicle,  will be speaking at the Public Sector Learning Conference on Wednesday 20th May.

Ben’s keynote speech will critique today’s 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.

The interactive Public Sector Learning Conference – Fresh ideas for tomorrow’s people, is taking place at the Hilton London Kensington, 20th May and will benefit smart organisations who want to find out how to use new media to create efficiencies and service improvements.

Other key speakers include:

• Charles Jennings, former Head of Learning for Thomson Reuters, who will discuss how to develop a robust technology- enabled learning & development strategy

• Donald Clark, board member of UFI LearnDirect, who 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

• Major Roy Evans, British Army, who will be speaking on how he has developed and delivered mobile e-learning activities for active frontline personnel

• Henry Stewart, Happy Computers, who will be providing top advice on ‘How to turn learners on’ and keep them engaged.

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.

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

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.


Steal my daddy’s cue

April 9, 2009

rod-stewart… and make a living out of playing pool.

I met up with a friend and former colleague on Saturday.

Sat in the sunshine, had a few beers, caught up on the news, put the world to rights and got the full story on his amusing, but often obscure tweets.

So the conversation moved on to work and he asked if Learning Pool is the real name of the company I am working for.

Well, yes, but what an odd question.

He explained, “It’s just that you did all that stuff with and now it’s learning pool – just wondered if they were connected in any way , you know cue – pool – snooker?”

I’d never thought of that before.

Andy H

George Bernard Shaw explains Learning Pool

March 3, 2009

girl-and-apple-bought“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple.

But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”

George Bernard Shaw

And that, my friends, is the Learning Pool philosophy in a nutshell!


Tempting Fate?

December 10, 2008

balancing-peopleWe’re like little children in the office today.  The excitement is building, alliances are being created and faux enemies being made.  What, you may ask, is all the fuss about?

Well, we’re all getting together for a day of team building on Friday at the brilliantly named Lusty Beg, and we can’t wait.

The wellies are being hunted down, thermals sourced and waterproofs put to one side (being in Ireland, they’re to hand most days).  We know who are team mates are and we’re busy honing our competitive streaks as we speak (put those cigarettes down, Ben Jones!).  My team is going to win (oh yes we are).

So the plan is that we’ll learn about each other in a way that can’t quite happen in the office.  How will Sam cope when his team loses?  How will Maeve react when she doesn’t get what she wants?  How will Andy feel when his team’s canoe capsizes?  (They’re all on a different team, you understand).

Being in team Learning Pool isn’t a 9 to 5.  Many of us clock up the air miles together (and train miles, John) on our trips to see customers so we have often seen each other when we’re quiet, stressed or just plain missing our beds.  Ben, for example, likes his lunch and Mary likes her mobile phone reception. 

So what will Friday bring?  Traversing ravines with rope ladders we’ve just created?  Getting 6 team members across the freezing lough with only 1 canoe and 1 paddle between us?  The anticipation is high.

But whatever happens, it will be a good day.  It’s an investment in us, as a team.  It will be a chance to let things out and form new ideas about our colleagues; a time to develop our trust in each other. 

And, at the end of the day, when everyone’s finished congratulating the winning team (ahem), we can raise a little toast to the Learning Pool customers without whom none of it would be possible.


Mind the gap

December 5, 2008

mind-the-gapL&D managers will have heard the interesting training news this week with the announcement, in the Queen’s speech, of the right to request time off for training to be given to British workers.  Employees can use this right to develop their capacity and skills, not just for their current day job but also for their future career development too.

But another, equally interesting announcement was also made this week. 

In a report published two days before the Queen (such manners!) the Chartered Management Institute says that the use of the internet is heavily policed in the workplace and a technology ‘generation gap’ is holding the UK back.  

On the one hand highly enthusiastic under 35’s are citing professional development and research as key reasons for wanting to use the internet at work while, on the other, suspicious employers say that the internet is a time waster.  Such employers actively monitor (cyber snoop) the surfing habits of their employees and block access to ‘inappropriate’ sites, while some even impose internet curfews.

The data, published in association with Ordnance Survey, also reveals different usage patterns according to age group.  For example, 67 per cent of those under 25 have ‘read a forum’ in the past 3 months, compared to just 51 per cent of those aged over 30.  Two-thirds (69 per cent) of those aged 25 or under have watched videos online (work or otherwise), compared to 54 per cent of individuals aged 30 plus.  With evidence also suggesting respondents want to use business networking sites (6 per cent for both managers and students), the implication is that employers must change their attitude towards technology, or risk alienating their future managers and leaders.

So, with this in mind, who is most likely to use their new right to request training?  Cynics may say that it’s unlikely to be those older, longer serving employees who do not embrace the internet, let alone Web 2.0 technology, and that perhaps it’s this group of managers who need training the most.

However, all is not doom and gloom.  The CMI’s report was published in the wake of wider research showing how ‘new media’ learning is growing in popularity.  A report called ‘Learning at Work: evolution or revolution‘ revealed that 51 per cent of directors now say they use online videos to develop new skills (up from 21 per cent 12 months ago) and one-third (34 per cent) also use social networking sites to boost their knowledge, compared to just 12 per cent, last year.

Part of the answer?  A social networking community you can take part in at your desk.  A discussion forum where you ask questions from your peers in similar organisations and get answers that help you do your job better.  A collaborative community where you share you work and they share theirs and re-purposing is the name of the game.

 Wonder where you’d find an organisation like that?


Making an impact in the South West of England

November 24, 2008

superhero-on-couchOur very own nugget of Welsh gold, Ben Jones, went on tour last week.  Whilst his trip did not necessarily create the same hype and expectation as the new Guns N’Roses album he did, nevertheless, manage to make quite an impact on his 3 day tour of duty.  And hopefully lived up to expectations a bit more than the offerings of Axl and friends in the process.

Ben spent time with a number of Learning Pool customers to help them install and get started with their DLE’s.  Swansea, Carmarthenshire, South Somerset, North Devon and Devon were all on the itinerary and everybody was pleased to see our blonde Customer Service hero in the flesh. 

Data management and information security seem to be the hot topics of conversation at the moment and the South West customers Ben visited were no exception.

But it seems the biggest impact Ben made was on the journey from seeing Carin in South Somerset to visiting Ann and Claire in North Devon.  This cross country journey saw the end of a poor grouse that got in the way of Ben on a mission in his hired black Vauxhall Vectra.  After a quick stop to assess the damage Ben hopped back in his car and headed on his way, anxious not to keep Ann and Claire waiting.  And thankfully he didn’t collar any pheasants or rabbits on the way so game pie was not on the menu.

So what were the highs and lows of the road trip (apart from seeing our lovely customers)? 

The highs, according to Ben, were the Bacon, red onion and brie toastie with salad and a lovely dressing from Belfast Airport on Monday, the Surf and Turf at the White Hart Hotel in Exeter on Wednesday  and the Cottage pie with homemade chips (a la Delia Smith) on his return home on Thursday.  The lows?  A decidedly ropey burger from a somewhere near Canton on Tuesday.

No prizes for guessing what keeps our super hero going….


And the winner is…

November 14, 2008


This week has been one of highs and lows on the pat on the back front.

We were thrilled to be recognised as the best new start up business in Northern Ireland by winning the regional heat of the prestigious Seedcorn competition for best emerging international company.   

 But then we were saddened to hear that GMPA walked away empty handed from the Association of Police Authority’s inaugural Excellence Awards at the ceremony in Gateshead on Wednesday.   The e-learning induction that GMPA has created for its new members (using the LP AT5) is excellent and received a lot of interest and praise from other police authorities in the run up to the glitzy awards ceremony.  But, alas, it wasn’t to be. 

Why do we do it?  Why put ourselves up to be knocked down?  I suppose we enter awards because we want others to know what we do and what we’ve achieved but also, and this is the scary bit, we want to benchmark ourselves against our peers to see how good we are.  That’s quite brave, when you think about it. 

It’s human nature to want to do well at something, especially something that you passionately care about.  We want people to know how we’ve changed our world and, hopefully, fingers crossed, they’ll agree.  So that makes it doubly disappointing when others just don’t get why you’re the best and therefore deserving of the winner’s honour. 

It seems there are awards for everything these days and, of course, some competitions are more worthy than others.  Step up to the mark, The Council Worker of the Year Award and The Best Council to Work for Award.  Which Chief Executive wouldn’t want to be part of that? 

But you win some, you lose some.  As your teacher always used to say at school “It’s the taking part that counts.”  Yep.  Right.  OK.  

We know that team Learning Pool (and this includes our subscribers) is fab, with or without awards, so well done one and all.  It’s good to put ourselves up there to be critiqued – many wouldn’t want to. 


Commuting to work

October 14, 2008

Jimmy KimmelAny of you who know me well will know that I’m a big fan of US television chat show host and comedian Jimmy Kimmel.

I knew that Jimmy had done some crazy commuting this time last year as he spent a week dashing between LA and New York, guest hosting in the evening for Live with Regis and Kelly and then rushing back to LA to film his own late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live!

But it was only when I was browsing Wikipedia the other night that I found that this week long commute had taken Jimmy into the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest distance travelled in a single working week. A staggering total of 22,406 miles. WOW!

Now compare this mammoth commute to that of Learning Pool’s very own John Roughley. Those of you who know John won’t be surprised to hear that he has been carefully recording the number of miles he has travelled visiting our dear Learning Pool customers since joining the Learning Pool team in October 2007 (happy anniversary John!).   I believe John has travelled some 16,500 miles on English public transport in the last year.  There’s dedication for you.

Bear with me as there is a serious point to be made in here somewhere amongst this light entertainment.

Many of you are quite rightly attempting to reduce your carbon footprint by cutting the number of miles spent commuting to work and one of the ways to do this is through introduction of new ways of working programmes.

Check out our fabulous flexible working e-learning module and video resource created with LB Bexley and Project Nomad. It contains bags of useful ideas and information and will help you deal with some of the challenges involved.

Now, back to those train timetables, John ….


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


It’s only rock’n’roll

September 19, 2008

Minus JackSome of you know me. I am often heard shouting about all things e-learning here at Kirklees Council but when I am not doing that I spend most of my time looking after my son’s band (managing is a far too grand a term).  


I would never have guessed that in my mid 40’s I would be a roadie, booking agent, promoter and all round taxi.  But the highs are worth all the time and stress, not to mention the money. 


This group of 16 year olds have already been featured on Radio 1’s Annie Mac show and opened for Ash.


Because of my connections with the band I have now drifted into setting up gigs for under 18 bands in my local area which again is a challenge but very rewarding. Believe me, getting groups of teenagers to turn up at the right place, at the right time, with the right equipment is a project management task to rival any I have had at work.


 What does any of this have to do with Learning Pool? Well, it’s all about making connections and sharing.


None of the work I do with the bands would be possible without Web 2.0 and social networks like MySpace. MySpace allows me to find young bands (and for them to find me), find venues, find events etc.


When it comes to promoting events the council are not too keen on people pasting posters around the town but with MySpace I can circulate posters to groups of people who,  in turn, can put them on their pages or send them out. I can help new bands who aren’t so sure of how to get gigs, find rehearsal space or whatever because, if I don’t have the answer, someone in my circle of friends will.


And that’s also what I love about the Learning Pool ethos. If you have a question then it’s likely that someone out there has an answer and, usually, you get more than one answer. We are all in similar areas of work with very similar goals so it make sense to pool that knowlege.


As I said, it’s all about making connections and sharing.


Oh, and if your interested (or have connections in relevant areas) then my son’s band is called Minus Jack and can be found at


Chris Allan
Kirklees Council 


Is RSS really so simple?

September 17, 2008

RSSI often find myself talking to people about technology and increasingly it feels like people don’t have a clue what I’m talking about! I’m trying hard not to take this personally and instead, I’m blaming the technology for this phenomenon. Put simply… there’s just too much of it!

In order to right this wrong I thought I’d give my own (unique and possibly inaccurate) take on what some of the technology out there is and how it can be used. I’ll start with an easy one… RSS.

Except it’s not so easy given that the technology is one that doesn’t even have an agreed name! I’ve heard it called Real Simple Syndication, Rich Site Summary and even Remote Site Syndication but the upshot of it is that RSS is a format for delivering regularly changing web content. Many news-related sites, weblogs and other online publishers syndicate their content as an RSS Feed to whoever wants it.

The key thing for me with RSS is that it is ‘opt in’ technology so that you can decide what content you would like to see, rather than relying on marketing departments blanket bombing you with what they want you to know. You pick and choose.

With RSS you can decide that you want the latest news from the BBC, plus the stock market quotations for your top 10 stocks (maybe not a great idea these days!) pushed to your desktop on an hourly, weekly or daily basis. That means that when you want to ‘top up’ on information, you just go to your desktop, email client or web browser and its all there.

So far RSS sounds a bit geeky and I have to confess that for a long time I struggled to see the point of it but these days I use iGoogle and have all sorts of RSS feeds that I’ve chosen ‘feeding’ me every day. This means that rather than browsing 10 or so sites every day, I get the top information from each and sift through it in seconds.

At Learning Pool we’re excited about RSS. With our brand new website you can subscribe to an RSS feed for our latest news as well as our latest blog.  This means that you can stay current on what is happening at Learning Pool and make the very best use out of your subscription.

So how would I use RSS if I were working in a council? 

Well, I would use it to add value to my communications. Let’s face it the hardest thing is getting eyeballs online so anything that reminds those eyeballs that you are still there has got to help. If it were me I’d have RSS feeds on the corporate intranet (I’d also talk to IT about pushing these onto people’s web browsers without them knowing!). I’d also have RSS feeds coming into my Learning Pool DLE to ‘liven’ it up a bit and then I’d run competitions where people can only know the answer if they’ve seen the feed.

Once I’ve got people using it, I’d be communicating everything I was doing about new courses, new e-learning, workshops and mentoring to my users and watching my usage go through the roof!

Want to know more?   Check out wikipedia and What is RSS? and, of course, our own FAQ’s.

Next entry on demystifying technology will be on WIKIs – but only if you comment on this one… so get typing!


Thank goodness we’re still here!

September 10, 2008

black holeWorking at Learning Pool I never thought I would be sat writing an article that mentioned particle physics, but two days are never the same so here goes …


Well, we all survived the switch on of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN today, despite the scaremongering that the world would end and a black hole would open in the earth. Although the long tunnel coming out of Birmingham New Street station could almost be classed as a black hole, sort of.


I’m not able to explain the full details of the research that CERN is carrying out, but I’m sure that it will be ground breaking.


We do have to thank them for the invention of the World Wide Web By Tim Berners-Lee back in 1989. The way we use the web has changed radically over the years, to the point that it’s hard to imagine life without it.


So here we are in 2008 and there’s much talk about Web 2.0 or Web 2 technologies. So what exactly does that mean?


I found this explanation from Wikipedia useful, “Web 2.0 is a living term describing changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the web.”


For the elearning community there are some challenges ahead to make the best use of these. Engaging learners and allowing collaboration are just two ways of making use Web 2 technologies.


If you are subscribing to the Learning Pool DLE you already have these tools at your disposal, at no extra cost. So you can make use of the forums, wikis, blogs and other functionality in your DLE.


If you need more help contact you account manager or ring our customer support desk on  0845 174 1101 or email


Now, where did I put those super conducting magnets?