This week we hear the views and opinions of Kate Carney of Stitch Learning.

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

Differentiation for learning providers – what it could be and how to do it. I think providers are anxious about how to compete against each other and raise their game as no-one is really stepping up and doing something different, so ultimately the learners aren’t getting the experiences and learning they could. Someone needs to make a brave step and start doing something differently to get noticed if they want to grow and attract and retain learners and employers for the long-term.

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

My network and my experiences with our clients. We as very fortunate to get a range of experiences with several different types of clients and work on both the strategy and operational side of organisations so we see how the two interrelate, or how they often don’t’ correlate in many ways. This combined with my whole hearted belief that understanding the whole learner journey gives you benefits you’d never have thought of. I guess I’m a bit headstrong in that way!

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

Genuine blended learning – creating learner experiences, learning online, utilising new technology, flexible content and immediate learner feedback that shapes their next step. I think this is a big ask and we see providers making small steps in each area but it’s going to take someone brave to take this on as a whole. Be I’m confident someone will and I want to be a part of it!

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

I’d love to see a provider genuinely throw the ball out of the court when it comes to putting the learner first. I’d like to see learner programmes designed whole-heartedly around the learner and what they need, how they learn and technology they can use. In the Apprenticeship world I want to see the framework structure of a qualification come last in order of priority and instead the learner shape it from the start then the framework where relevant mapped over the top.

What do you think the world of L&D will look like by 2020?

Hopefully we’ll be embracing the game changer approach I just referenced, or at least this as a principal. Learning will be much more ‘learner led’ in content, style, technology, responsiveness and overall approach. 2020 isn’t far away but I think the shift has started.

What advice would you give your 21 year old self?

To be honest I’d say keep doing what you’re doing across work and learning but learn trust you’re instinct and have confidence with it. I was always a bit of a geek at school and university but I had a level head on my shoulders and knew that it’d pay off. Which I like to think it has. I think it’s taken me an extra 10years to finally say I can trust my instinct about people and projects and now know what will work and what won’t and it doesn’t fail me…. Not yet! But if I had my time again, I’d do an Apprenticeship not a degree. I 100% believe in their potential and what they can deliver when you have the right attitude, experiences and a good provider and employer behind you.

About Kate Carney

Kate Carney is the Chief Pattern Maker of STITCH Learning. The STITCH Learning Team are Learner Journey specialists, working with private training providers, colleges and organisations on their learner attraction, engagement and retention.

Kate has a background in all aspects of Marketing, Innovation and Customer Experience, Kate has worked for global blue chip organisations including BMW, E.ON and large training providers including JHP Group (now LearnDirect) and various recruitment businesses.

Kate has been part of the FE sector since 2011, working with national and regional organisations across the UK to improve their Learner Journey and learner marketing activity. Kate has a passion for helping providers to deliver the best experience possible for learners on programme across Traineeships, Apprenticeships or professional programmes.

Connect with Kate on Twitter @Chief_STITCH