Tag Archives: learning pool

The Twitter guide, updated!

One of the more popular things I have written is the guide to using Twitter in the public sector, published by my good friends at Learning Pool.

It was first produce a couple of years ago and was due an update, which has finally happened!

You can download the new version from the Learning Pool website – all for free, of course.

It would be good to get some feedback on the guide, and to hear what might be good to add to the next revision.

Don’t forget the Kind of Digital one page guides to various social media tools, which might be of use too!

The Learning Pool Community Day – 14 September

I’ll be joining my good friends at Learning Pool on the 14th September in celebrating their Community Day – where the UK’s biggest public sector online learning community will be coming to life.

The packed agenda features plenty of reasons to sign up for a place, if you haven’t already.

Keynote presentations from Dr Andrew Learner of iESE and Dean Shoesmith, President of the PPMA are followed by interactive seminars on topics as diverse as engaging people with e-learning, measuring return on investment and making the best use of emerging technology (I’m helping out with that one).

The day will be rounded off with the Learning Pool Customer of the Year Awards, which are always good fun – and I’m sure the party will carry on afterwards too.

Five more reasons to attend:

  1. Cement relationships
  2. Get ideas for your own practical initiatives
  3. Hear about best practice and benchmark with your peers
  4. Receive free expert guidance and useful tips
  5. Take away strategies you can implement immediately

So, with just a handful of places left, sign up now!

Modern Councillor Webinar, 21 April 2011

With the elections on May 5 just around the corner for both English and Scottish councils, Dave and I’ll will be holding a free webinar to showcase Learning Pool’s relaunched Modern Councillor service. Modern Councillor is the online learning and support destination for councillors, people considering standing for election, or indeed anyone with a passion for local democracy.

The service has been designed with both new and more experienced elected members in mind. A subscription to Modern Councillor provides elected members with full access to a growing course catalogue for a fraction of the cost of classroom based training.

So what’s new and improved with Modern Councillor?

  • Brand new e-learning modules
  • A unique online community where councillors can connect, share and learn
  • Guides and resources on local democracy
  • Blogs and stories sections keeping you informed of the latest democracy developments

What modules are included?

Learning Pool have created Modern Councillor with help from experts in local government. This means all 14 of our e-learning modules, from Introduction to Local Government to Technology and Change, reflect the latest challenges and transformations facing councillors today. See the full list of modules.

Who does the community involve?

Alongside a suite of e-learning modules, Modern Councillor will now include an online community bringing together councillors, prospective councillors, co-opted members, local government officers, activists, and residents so that they can connect, share and learn together.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, April 21, 2011 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM BST.

With increasing budget cuts and the May elections just around the corner this is going to be an extremely popular event so register now for your free place.

Civil sector learning event: Exeter, 8th April

Learning Pool, in collaboration with Cosmic, are running an event in Exeter on 8th April to talk about how civil sector organisations can meet their training needs in this age of austerity.

Paul McElvaney will be showcasing My Learning Pool – the ludicrously cost-effective new service from Learning Pool that delivers over twenty high quality learning modules for a bargain £25 per year – a price that goes down with bulk purchases.

Julie Harris from Cosmic -the ethical IT company – will be giving details of a brand new service from Cosmic for VCO’s and Social Enterprises.

Find out more details and book your free place here.

Learning Pool talks Social Care e-learning in Manchester and London

Learning Pool Social Care briefingsIn the run-up to Wednesday’s publication of the health and social care bill David Cameron is discussing his plans to overhaul public services, including the NHS, today.

You can voice your thoughts on Cameron’s plans with other social care professionals by grabbing one of the few places remaining at our free expert-led Social Care briefings taking place in Manchester on 19 January 2011 and London on 20 January 2011.

>> Manchester Social Care Briefing, 19 January - Reserve here

>> London Social Care Briefing , 20 January – Reserve here

With the move towards refreshed Common Induction Standards planned for 10 June 2011 and against the background of ever changing public sector climate, you will learn from industry speakers and see how e-learning can achieve care provision whilst delivering significant efficiency savings.

For the Common Induction Standards, less than five months remain of transition window for social care practitioners to move from the old standards to the new before the old standards are removed.

From the Social Care Institute of Excellence (SCIE), will be Colin Paton who will introduce their work in the area of e-learning with the London delegates and share the results of research SCIE ran with Ipsos MORI into the e-readiness of the social care sector.

Warwickshire County Council’s Carol Judge, an expert on Safeguarding Adults and DoLS, will be discussing the changes that are on the horizon in these areas and also her experience in using e-learning as a way to reach out to GP’s.

Shedding light on social care in the 21st century will be Ophira’s Lyn Meaden. Lyn will be looking at the massive challenges ahead in adult care, from partnership working to efficiencies and how Learning Pool Social Care can help you tackle some of these.

Representing the third sector will be Alzheimer’s Society who will share their experience of the Dementia e-learning module that they worked on in partnership with SCIE. Wrapping up with the event will be an open table discussion when delegates will have the opportunity to ask speakers further about their areas of expertise and network with other delegates.

If you cannot attend Manchester or London, you can request the speakers’ presentations from the briefings here.

Plus, you can visit www.learningpool.com/socialcare to create a free account with your .gov.uk or .nhs.uk email address.  For a demo of  Learning Pool Social Care please email hello@learningpool.com

Guide to Facebook Pages for Government Organisations

My partner in crime at Learning Pool, Breda Doherty, has written an awesome guide to using Facebook pages. She introduces it below – do have a read and then download the guide!

Facebook is now used as an everyday means of communication and information source for most people, well if you agree that over 500Million active users worldwide is a fair summary of most people… The fact that the Social Networking site has continued to grow and develop since its launch in 2004 shows that it’s not likely to join lapsed Social Networking sites in the sky such as Bebo or My-Space who simply haven’t been able to compete with Facebook’s constant innovative ways to keep people talking on their platform. Whilst friends use Facebook’s Personal Profiles; bands, businesses and those with a cause to promote often use Facebook Pages to market themselves to its millions of users.

What is a Facebook Page?

A Facebook Page is a public profile that enables groups like this to share their organisation with Facebook users. It is similar in layout and functionality to a personal Facebook profile but Facebook Pages have been created with the intention that it will be used for brand promotion and discussion between those with something to sell or promote and those Facebook users interested in showing their support of these.

Facebook Users show their support for Facebook Pages through Liking their page and adding the pages they like to their own personal Facebook profile, which in turn will be seen by friends who visit their profiles

The reason all these groups  use Facebook pages is because  it’s free, easy to use and offers the opportunity to connect with large numbers of people. If Facebook didn’t work, people would simply stop using it.

Facebook Pages and Government Organisations

Government Organisations are slowly seeing the benefits offered by Facebook Pages with effective use of this seen in the page maintained by Coventry City Council. However many are still unsure of how it can fit in with their wider communication strategies and are fearful that those staff assigned to maintain their Facebook Pages will take advantage of this and spend the time chatting to friends rather than the community members the organisation is eager to engage with. There is also the same fear which many Government Organisations have about Twitter in that with one status up-date on Facebook or one Tweet on Twitter the organisation will be called into irrefutable dispute!

Facebook: A Quick Guide for People in and Around Government

To try and rely some of the worries mentioned above and which we’ve heard about first-hand through our Learning Community, Learning Pool decided to create Facebook: A Quick Guide for People In and Around Government.  The guide provides a quick overview of how to set-up a Facebook Page, useful things to bear in mind as a Government Organisation when doing so and to highlight some of the legitimate ways in which Facebook, despite being labelled as a Social Networking site can be effectively used as an engagement site between Government Organisations and the public they are finding it increasingly difficult to connect with.

The Facebook Guide complements the Twitter Guide for Government written by Dave earlier this year and also looks at how the two can be used in conjunction. Download our Facebook Guide for free here.

Change for the better

It’s pretty obvious that local government, like all areas of public service, is facing a challenging time.

Most of Learning Pool’s customers work within Organisational Development, or Learning and Development roles, and when budgets get cut, it’s often training that suffers.

However, as I pointed out in a talk at our ‘Hit the North’ event a couple of weeks ago in Sheffield, this could be a really good opportunity for folk working in these roles.

After all, during times of change, getting staff on board is a really tricky thing, and L&D people often have access to channels and tools that are already trusted by, and engaged with, by a lot of staff.

This is especially true of Learning Pool customers who have our learning management system – the DLE – which provides web 2.0 functionality including blogs, wikis, forums, live chats and all sorts of other interactive goodness.

Here’s my slides, which cover a whole load of ground. Not sure what happened to the font…

As an extra help, we’ve produced a free e-book to point out some of the ways that collaborative, social and learning technology can help organisations in the midst of significant change.

You can download it, and access a bunch of other cool resources, by clicking on the graphic below.

Change for the Better

Learning Pool content jam

Learning Pool is running a ‘content jam‘ event in December in Birmingham, on Tuesday the 7th, at Fazeley Studios.

It’s a new type of event for us, and one I had a bit of a role in putting together. What I wanted to do was to take the idea of the ‘hack day’ and make it relevant for Learning Pool customers.

So, on the day, a bunch of Learning and Development folk from across local government will get together with some LP folk, and put together a brand new course, which will be finished on the day.

Some people will be writing the text for the course, others sourcing and taking photos, others producing video and interactive content.

Afterwards, the finished course will be put into the Learning Pool catalogue and made available to all our customers to access and remix for their own use.

The subject of the course is also being determined by the community, with a discussion on the lively Learning Pool forums to decide what to cover.

So if you are interested in taking part, or if you are in Birmingham anyway and fancy popping in, do either register or get in touch.

It should be a great day, and a good example of collaborative working across local government!

Saving lots of lolly with Learning Pool

Quickly grabbing some connectivity at a friend’s house, so I thought I would share this post – originally published on the Learning Pool blog – outlining just how much money the public sector has saved by working with us to deliver their training and collaboration online.

Enjoy!


Two hundred local authorities in England and Wales have made substantial savings of £36million in their HR budgets over the last three years by using an open source platform to track and monitor delivery of their internal training programmes.

Councils have saved between £46,000 and £100,000 every year by using the Dynamic Learning Environment from Learning Pool. This service was launched in September 2007 and has been bought by small, medium and large public sector organisations. Developed on Moodle, the open source Learning Management System allows organisations to deliver and manage all kinds of learning resources and to track usage while demonstrating return on investment from training spend.

Mary McKenna, Learning Pool describes how using open source software helped:
“Open source software allowed us to create a managed learning platform that we launched on a disruptive pricing model. We set out to save councils money, and we did.”

Learners benefit from built in Web2.0 features such as wikispodcastsdiscussion forums and pollswhich can be switched on as required to provide a learning experience that goes beyond the classroom or, in the case of e-learning, the solitary computer.

The business case for open source

Stories of councils paying exorbitant fees for managing their learning prompted Learning Pool to develop this system for the public service.  Prior to 2007 councils were paying anything from £40,000 for a one year LMS contract without any support or maintenance, right up to £600,000 for the platform plus another £600,000 to implement, as experienced by a large county council in the North of England.  By comparison, the average cost of a Learning Pool DLE is £4,000 per year including set up, configuration and initial training.

Collaboratively created

Moodle was the obvious choice for the technology to underpin the DLE. Created by the open source community, this technology has quickly become the world’s favourite LMS and is deployed in thousands of organisations worldwide, including the Open University. On the first day of the launch over 50 Learning Pool customers signed up to be guinea pigs, thereby demonstrating the clear need for an affordable solution.

Their feedback, critique and requirements shaped the first launch of the platform and has continued to inform its development ever since.

Since those early days not only have no customers cancelled their contracts, over 150 more have signed up and we’ve continued to develop and enhance the platform with new updates to functionality and features, many suggested by customers themselves.

Learning Pool’s Paul McElvaney says:
“We consider ourselves to be an open source success story and we’re really proud of  what we’ve achieved. The DLE we have built gives our customers flexibility and functionality. It’s completely customisable and can be configured to meet the needs of each individual organisation in the public service.”

We work hard so you don’t have to

In today’s environment of efficiency and budget cuts a Learning Pool DLE gives time pressed HR and IT managers the ability to create management information reports to quantify progress against objectives and demonstrate ROI.

And, because the platform is hosted by Learning Pool, there are no tricky firewall or security issues to contend with and no need to worry about rolling out upgrades or software extensions – this is all taken care of centrally by Learning Pool. Feedback from Learning and Development managers who are using the system is positive.

“We’ve realised just how powerful and flexible the DLE can be, compared to our limited LMS experience of just administering learning accounts. The DLE, together with the new version of the authoring tool, will add another dimension to our e-Learning modules.”
Steve Day, Rotherham MBC

“My aim is to change the mindset of staff and managers. Those who think at all about [our DLE] probably think ‘What does it do?’I want to change that to ‘This is what I need to do in my service – how can I get [our DLE] to facilitate this?’ This would be a major step forward to using the DLE as an integral part of the business, something I believe has enormous potential.”
Simon Green, Blaenau Gwent CBC

About Learning Pool

Learning Pool is the only online learning community dedicated exclusively to the public sector. From councils to central government, we provide e-learning courses, a managed learning platform and community-led social learning solutions designed to help public sector organisational change, improve service delivery and build capacity – all with increasing efficiency.

With less than 50 employees Learning Pool is a small, agile and fast paced organisation that bears little resemblance to the Local Government Improvement and Development project where it began. Independent and grown up for four years, we kept the good stuff – the total focus on the public sector, the commitment to collaborative working, not reinventing the wheel and the name and improved the rest – not least our software and customer service.

For further information on Learning Pool’s Dynamic Learning Environment, including costs, please email hello@learningpool.com or call 0207 101 9383.