With the recent announcement of the finalists of the 2019 Learning Awards, we continue this new series of L&D QuestionTime in which we hear from this years finalists.

Today we hear from Dr Hannah Gore shortlisted in the Learning Professional of The Year category.

In your opinion what is the biggest anxiety within the world of learning and development at the moment?

Engagement. This is always our biggest concern, no matter what platform we build, tools we provide, learning we design, the biggest anxiety is whether or not learners will engage. It’s the age old problem as one size does not fit all, and will continue to be at the core of our decision and design making for many years to come.

Who or what is informing your thinking around L&D?

My thinking comes from a range of sources, from reading academic and professional literature and engaging in the discussion about L&D, but also reading wider into field such as psychology (to understand motivation and engagement further), observing people’s behaviours online, reviewing how the media engages followers in social media etc. to obtain a more holistic overview. My expansive reading needed for the research I conduct for my doctorate also informed and shaped much of my thinking which I utilise in my present role.

What is the most exciting innovation on the horizon for learning?

In my previous role I was reviewing the use of smart home devices and how they could access learning, these would be beneficial not just in the home but for offices too. If courses were converted into audio files then you could ask your smart home device to play them instead of music whilst cooking, quiz questions could be inserted with voice recognition so it is active instead of passive learning and utilising time that wouldn’t have been previously used for learning.

What “game changers” would you like to see and why?

With L&D there needs to be a top down as we as a bottom up change. For some companies L&D is seen as transactional instead of transformational, not only for the company but for the staff too. Managers may not be fully aware of the L&D offerings available, and for L&D to be embraced managers need training and given a toolkit to advocate the portfolio of learning available and to understand the benefits and opportunities that arise from developing their staff. Usually courses or training give a title or a brief description, rarely do they list course objectives and learning outcomes, this is crucial for selecting the right course.

In my company I’ve implemented flipped classroom training, whereby staff undertake an online course, create a portfolio through activities which is checked by their manager to a rubric, and then they can advance to the workshop where they practice and refine their portfolio in a face-to-face setting. This is a much more dynamic approach to workshops than the standard presentations as it requires active participation by all learners. Upon completion of a series of programmes of online courses and flipped classrooms our learners then obtain micro-qualifications in the form of nano-degrees and micro-masters

What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2030?

Hopefully the world of L&D will be more interactive. I don’t mean by the platforms and apps that we use but in the engagement with design. For example the flipped classrooms, skills assessment tools prior to course selection, use of micro-qualifications, seeing the L&D department more as a fantastic opportunity than an add-on nice-to-have department. That all takes time to implement and develop, but by 2030 it is feasible.

What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

Absolutely nothing. Which might sound a bit bananas, but if I gave myself insight to my understanding in later life I may shortcut the learning journey to get there and the outcome wouldn’t have been the same .

About Dr Hannah Gore:

Talent Development Manager, EMEA Business School
Solera Holdings Inc.

After 13 years at The Open University, Hannah was asked to join Solera’s EMEA division to oversee the development and launch of their internal Business School, to train staff in 44 European Countries, with further expansion plans as part of the company’s 2020 vision.

Hannah joined The Open University in 2005, and developed a range of projects with students and academics, largely in on the theme of improving online communication methods within the web presence of The Open University, which utilised a range of emerging tools, platforms, and techniques to leverage student engagement.

In her last position at The Open University Hannah worked on several projects regarding the impact of social media on student engagement. With the developing movement towards social learning and its use of hosting on third party platforms, Hannah’s portfolio subsequently expanded to Senior Producer: MOOCs at The Open University. It was within this role coupled with the culmination of her experience across the domain that led to Hannah influencing and leading the development of aspects of The Open University’s free online learning platforms, OpenLearn and FutureLearn, with additional syndication arrangements to third party platforms.

Hannah has worked in both the public and private sections, and has graduated with five qualifications, including an MBA and an MSc, from The Open University. As an advocate of lifelong learning, Hannah was recently awarded her fifth qualification, a doctorate on the ‘Engagement of Informal Learners Undertaking Open Online Courses and the Impact of Design’, providing the academic field with the largest single source of MOOC engagement data to date.

In her professional career outside The Open University, Hannah also undertakes freelance consultancy in the field of social media with learning design and its impact on a range of industry sectors, and serves as an Online Executive Panel Member at McKinsey giving views on emerging technologies and the impact of social changes across the industry.

Connect with Hannah on LinkedIn