Monday 24 June 2013

Recent Reflection #3 - A Challenge

What did I do?

A week ago today (Tuesday 18th June) I took part in a session at the Learning and Skills Group Summer Conference at Olympia in London. The idea was that three L&D professionals 'compete' in public to showcase our proposed learning design solution for a piece of compliance training on Data Protection. The session was coordinated by Julie Wedgwood and Chaired by Alan Bellinger.  The contenders were myself, Matt Brewer and Craig Taylor - stiff competition!  We had 10 minutes to present our idea and 5 minutes to be grilled by the audience.

Straws were drawn, Craig went first, me second and Matt third.  Alan was a firm timekeeper and it all ran to time.  The audience voted and the results were declared - and I got first mention! 'Cos I came third. Craig took second place and Matt was the well-deserved winner. By all accounts, the session was a great success, by putting up three real-world practitioners - not theoreticians or experts - to share our thinking and the realities of developing compliance training within the context of our own organisations and experience.

What did I learn?

I learned loads!
  1. Beware Don Taylor inviting you onto a 'panel discussion' - it might not be quite what you thought it was going to be!
  2. Competition - albeit friendly - and tight timelines don't half focus the mind, the attention and the effort, both in the preparation of and during sessions.
  3. Bravery will get rewarded.  Matt had timed his presentation to the second and had his slides on auto-advance, leaving himself no room for waffle.
  4. There (is/are?) more than one (way/ways?) to skin a cat (my wife and kids will hate that analogy).
  5. Make it Visual.  Both Craig and Matt had some great ideas and tools for using and enhancing graphics as part of the learning offering - either online or for printed/presented materials.  I really liked the cartooning tools and the use of Infographics as a communication medium.
  6. Keep it Real.  All three of us contextualised our learning propositions based on our organisations and our knowledge of our own audience, their tolerance for innovation and the technologies available to us.  Hence, whilst we all came up with different solutions, we also overlapped on several key concepts and ideas - Campaigns, Branding, Engaging, Visual and Sticky.
What am I going to do with this Learning?

I'm going to walk the talk. I had deliberately not shared my proposal with anyone at work, because I wanted to treat the challenge almost as a 'thought experiment', to try out some ideas that we haven't used before.  We are already running Data Protection training at my company, and I built my challenge proposition based on the work we have already done and what we still have to do. But now that it's been aired in public, I'm going to throw myself under the scrutiny of my stakeholders - the Data Protection Sponsor, Legal Expert, DP Subject Matter Expert and my own team of trainers, to see if they think it has legs.

It needs some work and the application of some of the ideas and inspiration I got from Craig and Matt, and the review and input from all of the above.  It may well not end up as I presented it at conference last Tuesday.  And that's a good thing.

And that's why I'm glad I took part.

1 comment:

  1. Great post Niall. Agree that it's not the sort of panel session I would have thought it would be, but these experiences are a superb way to brush up your presentation skills. Most people concentrate on delivery and dismiss the importance of graphic support.

    I'd be interested to see the way Matt used graphics.