Rewiring Corporate Learning #5: Jumping into technology

Continuing his series on rewiring corporate learning, Nigel Paine, former chief learning officer at the BBC, looks at technology.

No organisation on this planet can avoid technology and over 70% of the workforce use some form of technology (usually computers) for their jobs. When I worked for the BBC, a power cut in one building that wiped out all the desktop computers simply stopped work. Most staff, unable to do their jobs, simply went home.

Yet leveraging that technology infrastructure is hard to do; really hard to do. In the world of corporate IT, learning comes a long way down the pecking order and most learning systems are bolt-ons of the main enterprise system. So you need a bit of help to get what you want from that infrastructure.

Here are some helpful tips.

  1. See corporate IT as your ally and involved their staff in your IT discussions.
  2. Always start small and pilot, proof of impact usually works better than big demands in the absence of data.
  3. Lots can be done outside the corporate firewall now.
  4. Find tools that can be used cheaply and prove the need for scaling.
  5. Always have technology projects on the go. Keep alive the need for more effective implementations.
  6. Go with the trends across the entire company: staff often know what technology works and what they want. Try to meet some aspects of their agenda.
  7. Nothing is out of bounds even if it means starting again or revising large amounts of resources.
  8. Be your own scouts. Always keep an eye open for what is out there. Always discuss and share perceptions, but don’t get caught up in the latest shiny toy syndrome. Have a bigger strategy in place than ‘that looks interesting’!
  9. Large scale implementation should be handled by the IT team: it is not your job, your job is proof of concept.
  10. Build a learning technology architecture that defines what goes where. Have one standard and avoid duplication where at all possible. Or at least have that as an aspiration.

Next in the series: Rewiring Corporate Learning 6: See the big picture

Previous articles in the series

  1. Rewiring corporate learning #1: understand where you need to go
  2. Rewiring corporate learning #2: how to decide where to begin
  3. Rewiring corporate learning #3: Focus on impact
  4. Rewiring corporate learning #4: Do data

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