The L&D and Community kaleidoscope

I’m concerned about you my fellow L&Der. I see that you’re listening to things being said out there. I see that you’re interested in what others in the profession are talking about. And there’s plenty of things being talked about of interest. Some of it by internal practitioners, some of it by e-learning specialists, some of it by technology specialists, some of it by external practitioners. And they’re all saying and talking about different and interesting things.

There’s a whole blogging community who are dedicated to promoting their word. Some use social channels to spread their brand, their work, and their good name. For them, social media is a powerful mechanism for a gainful living. For others, social channels allow their voice to be heard, they spread a message, they build a following. And for others social channels are a way of hearing what’s being said out there. There’s a different way of thinking that they want to be exposed to because they recognise things need to be better but don’t know where to start.

When I came across the #connectinghr community, I was captured by the lack of interest in any agenda people may have had. It was (and remains) about bringing professionals together from all walks of HR (and beyond) who want to be able to share knowledge and talk about their work in meaningful spaces. I enjoyed what this released for me, and realised I needed more as an L&D professional. The idea of L&D Connect was born and with the help of others, a community rallied around and we pushed for more to happen as an L&D community. #ldconnect and #ldblogs was created as a result.

I’ve enjoyed that the people who have attended the two unconference sessions have come from all walks of L&D professional – all those mentioned above, and more besides. We come together and respect each other as professionals. Everything else is left at the door. Why does it matter, and who does it matter to? All we expect is that people get involved in the conversation when they’re ready. There’s opportunity for people to take part in the conversations that matter to them, and there’s no pressure to talk if you don’t want to. The social channels help amplify what’s being said in the room to those outside who want to be part of the conversation but can’t attend.

It’s all quite organic and fluid. It’s the most inclusive environment I’ve ever encountered. It’s the most engaged I’ve ever been with a group of other people. It’s focused on people dynamics and trusting people to lead where the conversation takes them.

This is at the heart of L&D. L&D is less about us as professionals and more about the people we’re working with. Communities like L&D Connect help us to see that trusting people dynamics trumps models and theories every time. Yes we may need to guide the conversation to happen in a certain way, but L&D isn’t about that input, it’s about the outcome. That outcome is paramount to a good learning event. That outcome is whatever the person involved decides. We can’t drive that. We can’t make it happen. We can have the discussion to help figure out the goal, and hopefully facilitate the journey to getting there, but that’s not in our control as much as we may want it to be.

Things like social learning, informal learning, e-learning, mobile learning, face to face learning, are all things we need to remain mindful of and aware of. I don’t pretend to know about a lot of these things. Partly because some of them don’t interest me, and partly because I’m trying to strengthen skills I already have. My cognitive load is already quite full. So what I’m aiming to do is lean on this network and listen to what they have to say.

They help me to understand more, and for that I’m grateful. It makes me a better L&Der, and it means I’m better at understanding what spectrum of knowledge I could and should be drawing on.

Does this sound like it works? It does. That’s all I can say. There’s plenty of talk about how social technologies are helping us to create and become part of communities that serve a greater good. I’m all for that, and it jives with my philosophy of life. We all have the ability, capability and capacity for doing good in our lives by helping others. If I can move to help others, I am fulfilled. This is my purpose.

So we come back to L&D Connect. We’re arranging to meet on Tuesday 23rd April. It’d be great to see you there. You can book your ticket here.

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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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