Category Archives: Learning Pool

New councillor? Get the training you need online

With the elections of May 5 2011 now complete Member Development Officers need to look at the most efficient and cost effective way to train these newly elected councillors.

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 provided by my pals at Learning Pool.

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 catalogue of e-learning modules, at a fraction of the cost of classroom based training as well as access to our online community.

What modules are included?

All 17 of the current e-learning modules have been created alongside subject matter experts and cover areas such as Induction, Media, Community and Legislation. Specific modules include Introduction to Local Government, Your Role as a Councillor and Getting Started with Social Media. You can view a full list of the current modules available in this PDF e-learning catalogue.

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. Join the community, for free, here.

Guest Access

If you’d like Guest Access to preview the training available through Modern Councillor or any other information, please email breda@learningpool.com.

MDO Support Webinar

Join us for our free webinar on training and supporting your elected members on Thursday, 19 May, 2011 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM BST. Register here.

Introducing My Learning Pool – e-learning for everyone

Today we are delighted to launch our newest product – My Learning Pool – which is one of the most exciting things we have ever done!

My Learning Pool is a suite of online learning resources which can be bought and used by anybody.

Here’s a slidedeck that explains things a bit more – if you can’t see it, here’s a PDF version (opens in new window).

Whether you are some who is about to have a change in career, or a volunteer with a local community group, or the person in charge of an organisation – My Learning Pool provides all the training you need, when you need it, where you need it.

What’s more, all this lovely learning is available at a price that is jaw-droppingly good value – exactly what the civic sector, for example, needs right now.

No more giving up a whole day to travel to attend a training session, or spending hundreds of pounds getting the basic knowledge you need to be able to contribute to your full potential.

There are over 20 courses available in My Learning Pool at launch, and we will be adding to them all the time. They cover vital topics for individuals, such as:

  • using social media
  • finding a new job
  • presentation skills
  • personal health and safety

For those looking for a cost effective solution to providing training for your organisation, My Learning Pool also fits the bill, with modules on subjects like:

  • procurement
  • customer service
  • technology and change
  • managing stress
  • data protection

So if your organisation needs to get all its volunteers trained in say customer service, or heath and safety, My Learning Pool can ensure you do so in a cost effective manner.

So, how much does My Learning Pool cost? For a year’s access to all the courses, the price is a mere £25 per person.

Yup. Twenty-five quid.

As we add more courses through the year, you get those as part of your subscription, too.

You can buy it for yourself right now, by visiting the web site and signing up with your credit card.

If you want to bulk buy for your organisation, there are discounts available – check them out.

For anyone looking to brush up some of their skills, or for organisations that need the peace of mind that their people are getting the vital training they need, My Learning Pool fits the bill.

For more information, email hello@mylearningpool.com or follow us on Twitter @mylearningpool.

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

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.

Come work at Learning Pool!

I’ve had a great time since joining the team at Learning Pool. It’s a forward thinking company with lots of ideas, jokes and abuse bouncing around the whole time.

If you’re looking for a new job, why not consider taking a look at some of our current vacancies? They are all based in Derry, in Northern Ireland – the UK’s capital of culture in 2013!

All the links above are to PDFs with the details. If you fancy applying, bear in mind Mary’s helpful hints for people going for jobs at LP.

My main one piece of advice: it helps to love what you do when you work here.

Personal learning and technology

I blogged over on the Learning Pool site about the personalisation of learning and development in public sector (indeed, any) organisations, and the role of technology in it.

Thought DavePress readers might also be interested.

One of the interesting developments of web technology has been the increasing focus on individual, personal choices. Don’t like what’s on TV? Choose something for yourself to watch on YouTube. Nothing of interest in the newspaper? Use Google to find a blog that covers the issues you’re into. And so on.

Now this issue of personal choice isn’t limited to our personal tastes in media consumption. It applies to everything. Increasingly, it’s applying to learning and development – and that could have significant implications for workforce learning.

Read the rest of it here.

Free webinar on social care training and e-learning

A short commercial break, if you’ll excuse me. Learning Pool are rather proud of our new social care e-learning offering, and if you, or a colleague, would like to know more, we’re running a free webinar.

All the details are below:

Delivering efficiencies on your social care training has never been as important.

This free webinar will help you create a more efficient and effective way of delivering training via e-learning.

Learning Pool Social Care is a suite of e-learning designed around the delivery of the Care Pathway with the added capability of tailoring content to your audience.

In a climate where cuts in every sector is inevitable, we can demonstrate savings of up to 80% to your current training budget.  Let us show you how we can do it.

Those who sign up before 1st August 2010 can get an early bird discount of £10,000 on their subscription.  Ask us today.

Title: Need to make savings on your social care training?

Date: Thursday 22nd July 2010

Time: 2.00pm – 2.30pm GMT

To reserve your Webinar seat click here or email amanda@learningpool.com or call 0207 101 9383.