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 Nina Lord shortlisted in the Learning Leader of the Year category.

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

This is the age of anxiety and L&D is not exempt. Our learners are distracted, information is instantaneous and people are on the go. The anxiety in the world of learning and development is in needing to create highly effective learning for a distracted audience who are impatient and overwhelmed. That’s a fair ask.

Like newspapers and journalism in a technological age, learning and development has to fight for the space. To do that, we really need to combine adult learning principles with the neuroscience of learning. We need to grab and catch our learner’s attention, appeal to their emotions and their passions, shove it in to small spaces and keep the momentum going to space it out for retention.

In doing that, we need to ensure that the education does not become disconnected. That in those small powerful snippets, we maintain coherence so that our learners can join the dots and truly learn.

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

Cathy Moore is my all-time favourite. Her methodology and scenario based learning ethos allows the effective, powerful learning we need. From the outset, her methodology ensures that the clients (and the SME!) are engaged and on-board. As they collaborate in the scoping, they have ownership and therefore buy-in from the outset. My experience is that they also gain trust in a world they know little/nothing of.

Cathy is the guru of scenario based learning and my team utilise scenarios into their instructional design throughout the majority of our resources. By using scenario based learning in the health care sector, we have the opportunity to imitate real life situations whether clinical or non-clinical. This empowers the learner to recall when they are actually in that situation. It triggers a memory of the learning and when you can apply situations rather than click, click, click, there’s some promise to behaviour change.

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

Everyone is saying it but really the introduction of emerging technology into L&D is exciting. Not that there is any one technology that is the most exciting innovation. Yes, I can say AR or VR but it’s dependent on its use and the need. In health care education any technological innovations that save time and assist save lives is crucial. The most exciting innovations are those that combine technology and pedagogy.

The aim is to connect with learners. Methods that use an individual’s needs and can be guided by their instruction rather than ours is important. When technology is used to enhance the relationship, a deeper connection builds between teacher and student. Chatbots is one example, as is spaced learning.

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

Again, I think the rethink of adult learning principles combined with the neuroscience of learning and design thinking, is the game changer. Behavioural Insights is it. It uses evidence-based knowledge and research from fields such as psychology, economics, sociology, and neuroscience. We already touch on this by applying its principles for redesigning mandatory training for NSW Health. Using these principles, we are aiming to move from mandatory and tick-the-box type of training to the learning experiences that are practical, attractive and impactful. The type of learning that can make a difference.

The move from designing for individuals to social learning and designing learning ecosystems is another game changer. Learning more and more becomes a social and collaborative experience and using social networks can facilitate this process.
In complex organisations and environments, considering all important elements of a learning ecosystem in design can lead to the most effective learning experiences.

These include but are not limited to people, content, technology, culture, and strategy, existing both within and outside of an organisation.

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

Well the classroom and the lecture theatre will be gone but we will still meet people in courses/studies. I think it will be an advanced and pedagogically sound version of social media. Connecting each other, learning from each other, relevant, just-in-time, individualised and a holistic combination of systems. If you sit (and yes I am over 40) Facebook and adult learning principles side by side, there’s a fair bit of alignment. I look at my Facebook when I want to, I direct it, its independent of others around me, I make the decisions on what I see and don’t see. I manage it. It’s what we need and what we are heading towards in L&D.
In the near future, we won’t design a course only, but a complex set of elements that can affect organisational learning as a dynamic and live system. Emerging xAPI, provides an interesting tool that can help with integrating tracks of all aspects of learning in one place.

What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

When I left school, I imagined myself in a corporate suit. That’s what power people did. So I started a degree in Marketing and Communications, failing miserably at the economics side of it. I dropped out.

What I didn’t know and I would tell my 21 year old self, was that my perfect occupation did not yet exist. Every umbrella occupation has niche areas in it that no one considers. All you need is for a great leader to come along and show you your own potential. I’m lucky enough to have had two of them that have led me to be who I am today: passionate about my job and all the better for the mistakes and career trials I’ve had on the way. It’s a pathway and everything you learn along the way helps. The essence (to sound clichéd) is happiness. At 21, we feel that there is so much to prove. You learn later that you may sweep the streets or sit at the top of a sky scraper office, it doesn’t matter, as long as you’re happy.

We all just need that push.

About Nina:

An experienced Director with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Leading a virtual team of over 60 staff developing state wide learning. Skilled in team work, team empowerment, E-Learning, Strategic Planning, Learning Analytics, Organizational Development, and Educational Technology.

Strong professional with multiple degrees and qualifications including from The Australian National University and AIM Grad Dip in Government Management.

Connect with Nina on LinkedIn