Simplifying L&D with the use of technology


These are the live blog notes from the HRD 2013 conference session on simplifying L&D with efficient use of technology.

Thomas Bryant, L&D director at Colt Technologies was first up talking about how Colt uses technology to deliver learning to 5,000 employees across 23 countries.

Design and development
Virtual L&D team and engagement tools are Microsoft Link and Webex. They were in the business and we made sure we used them to their full potential.

How much learning do you build in-house? We brought lo-fi elearning development in house and used Adobe Captivate. It was easier than we thought it would be. The more you do in house the less you have to worry about maintenance and updates from external suppliers.

Make sure you use the tech you have. We had virtual training labs as a part of our network. We used video and Captivate overlays to deliver training which the engineers thought was good. Videocasting was very useful and saved a lot of money in classroom training. Also became on-demand training.

Decide when to use internal versus external services. For example, we brought in external Prince 2 training. Use external services to design more complex learning.


  • Elearning – tackle resistance by creating a wow factor with the content. Get people used to it by using it prior to going to a classroom. Include webinars with launch of elearning  to ensure more engagement. For  webinars we use Webex
  • For videoconferencing we use Tandberg. Was already in use so we had to figure out how we could use it. Used it well for behavioural training – ethical management, for example.
  • Training Labs – remote access to do hands on exercises
  • LMS – use Kallidus. Make sure your systems integrate.
  • Video/podcasting – pick something that has a smaller audience or low impact and have a go and see what response you get. Keep pushing the boundaries.

Evaluation and feedback
We used Knowledge Advisors and their Metrics That Matter tool to capture data – angled us to measure all five Kirkpatrick levels. Key to get staff to use the tool so the data gets captured.

Niall Gavin, head of HR and learning technologies at First Group.

Niall Moves 2.5 billion passengers a year. It is an organisation going through a lot of change. It has dispersed staff in UK. Many not using tech or having access it.  Niall feels the classroom is the original social learning.

Started with no budget and no resources and built up from there helping by supporting the business where it was needed. Commissioning project management training for IT teams, for example.

He inherited a simulation training system. Used simulation training to an org where most people did not use a computer. So looked at tool to see how they could make a difference. Used it for asset management system – to deliver short amount of training for colleagues around the country. He is now engaging other parts of the business and train up subject matter experts.

Virtual classrooms  Stared looking at these because I looked at these as a part of my perusal learning journey. Better to beg for forgiveness than to ask permission. Encoraged team to attend webinars, try out Twitter. Used Lotus Notes SameTime as webinar platform as already had it in the business. We developed some content around smaller projects.

It was a solution looking for a problem – we hadn’t asked the business. Not everyone had access so went to Webex platform, which was already being used by the US part of the business.

Now working with L&D and HR to deliver Web EX sessions to those who want and need it.


  • Combine use and users
  • Walk the talk
  • Perservere
  • Model the possible.

The future is about being bold and pulling all the technologies together.

Read our profile on Niall Gavin.


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