Resources not courses

Photo Credit: Noel C. Hankamer via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Noel C. Hankamer via Compfight cc

I’m speaking at the Charity Learning Consortium Conference right now about how to be innovative on a minimal budget. A core part of how I suggest we develop L&D is about peer to peer sharing. In that vein, please find below links to the resources, people and concepts which have influenced my thinking and practise. It’s not a definitive list and isn’t a recipe for innovation; these are some of the things which have influenced my thinking and continue to challenge me in the way I work.

One of the most common questions I get asked is how to source nil/neutral cost images. For some people they think that finding and using images will be the end to their presentation and elearning problems. They won’t but they can make your work more interesting and engaging. I stress to people the need to respect copyright and am regularly taken aback by the lack of understanding of Creative Commons licensing by people in the L&D space.

A while back I started a shared resource for photos online as I was struggling to keep track of all the dozens of sources available. This link is to a Google document which is shareable and editable by all. These links are no guarantee of shared use so please check the rules on each site listed. I also find people rarely take time to edit or improve their images. As a result, I suggest using Pixlr Express. This is a simple photo editing tool which works brilliantly on laptops, PCs and Chromebooks.

If you want something more templated, then Placeit might be for you. It’s a free product mockup site, great for showing screenshots. Another extensive template site is Photofunia. This has many photo editing templates which are diverse and add a point of interest.

My last recommendation for images is Design Comics. This site has a range of free comic characters and scenes you can use to develop cartoon strips. They require attribution but are a different graphic style to what you may have used before.

Since I started using the Kindle app on my tablet I’ve been reading loads more – so much that I rarely buy a physical book any more. I’ve also included in this post some of my favourites to think differently about your L&D function.

First up is Informal Learning at Work. If you’ve not started thinking about informal approaches in your work, Paul Matthews‘ book is a great starting place. There are a range of examples and ways to work that you may want to consider. It’s packed full of real world ideas and is an easy read. A more challenging read for many is Dangerous Ideas by Alf Rehn. This is simply the best book I’ve read on creativity and innovative thinking and how you need to change your practice. It’s a more difficult read only because Alf challenges your conditioned thinking about what makes creativity work. You have no excuse not to read this; It will change your thinking.

For a more academic look at innovation, then Rodgers’ Diffusion of Innovation is a great place to start. It will explain why innovations are perceived as risky, why it can take years to bring about change and how reinvention happens. Rodgers book is regularly updated and worth the effort that you will need to put into it. A different view of innovations is in Disrupting Class. There is a lot of debate over Clayton Christensen’s first book, the Innovators Dilemma which seems to be polarising opinion every time I search for comments online. This book is focused on the education sector and is interesting to reflect in terms of workplace education. There are a number of key insights, especially in how innovation is limited.

I enjoyed Motivation by Dan Pink but more so when I was able to consider it in tandem with this brilliant work by Robert Cialdini – Influence. In this book, we learn more about how we’re influenced and sold to. From a L&D perspective, this is an essential read, if only to improve our understanding of marketing of our services and function.  Lastly, I’ve added a recent publication, The Learning Challenge**. This is Nigel Paine’s latest book is a good summary of some of the key trends happening in the learning industry right now. It’s a very easy read and is a book I think I’ll be going back to regularly in the near future.

Finally, I’ve put together some essential videos that have shaped my thinking. When I was thinking about redesigning my L&D offer I recalled seeing Charles Jennings speaking at an event in London. I’d noted down 70:20:10 and the video is a great introduction to the concept if you’ve not encountered it previously.

The next video I recommend is a TED talk by Charles Leadbeater . In Education innovation in the slums he discusses sustaining and disruptive innovation and reinvention. He also proposes formal and informal settings and this came to be the nub from how  I created my offer. A core part of my offer is using digital support and in Visitors and Residents David White concisely explains why our ideas of generation x and y may be irrelevant and we should focus more on the digital literacy and ‘residence’ of the people we work with.

I can’t refer to videos without including 2 of my favourite speakers and thinkers on learning. First up is Steve Wheeler with Open Learning, Opportunity or Threat. This was at Learning Technologies in 2013 and is a forthright and honest explanation of how we need to adapt to meet the expectations of people wanting to learn from open opportunities. Lastly is Jane Hart from the same event with a practical session about 12 Steps To Successful Social Learning at Work.

So, that’s my list of resources not courses, the influencers and shapers of my thinking. What else would you recommend that people read, use, view? Let me know in the comments.


**Full disclosure
As a contributor, I received a copy of the book to review, but received no other incentive.

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