Learning Pool cop an elearning hotseat

On Wednesday 20th January, Paul McElvaney, Director of Learning Pool and Alison Stott, Project Manager at Essex Strategic HR will be hosting an online hotseat on the commissioning of Open, Distance and E-learning. This will be taking place in the Leadership Development Community of Practice, using the IDeA’s CoP platform. You need to register with the platform and join the community before you can get involved.

The way this will work is that a special forum has been set up inside the CoP in which questions can be left ahead of, and during, the day of the hotseat. Paul and Alison will then answer as many questions as they can before the end of the day. It’s like a day long asynchronous online Q&A session.

Subjects you might want to ask about include:

  • How to promote collaboration and sharing between organisations
  • How to save money and make efficiencies by working differently
  • When to consider commissioning e-learning and what criteria should be considered?

So go ahead and sign up with the community and start posting your questions! Alternatively leave a question in a comment to this post, or email it in to hello@learningpool.com and we’ll make sure it gets posted.

You can also get involved in the discussion using Twitter – just use and keep an eye on the tag #copel.

C’llr.10 conference – 4 February 2010

The c’llr.10 event is the first ever major national conference specifically for councillors. Organised by the Local Government Information Unit, producers of Cllr Magazine, in conjunction with Ingenium Strategic Events, Cllr 10 will be held at The Emirates Stadium, London N5 on 4th February 2010.

Learning Pool are among the supporters of the event, as we have two great offerings for local politicians – one around the support we can provide helping them get to grips with the opportunities provided by online tools for communication and collaboration. The other is with our Modern Councillor package of elearning – providing all the training a councillor needs in a format where they can do it whenever it suits them. Learning online has a huge number of advantages for councillors, both in terms of flexibility of access, cost effectiveness, the sheer range of learning available, and of course the fact that it can be completed without needing to leave the house!

Here’s a bit more information about the event:

The conference will provide a unique opportunity to hear at first hand some of the most influential voices in and about local government, and to engage in debate on what is important to local communities. The wide variety of workshops will help you to develop your practical skills as a Councillor and your understanding of what key policy challenges, such as the ageing population or environmental change, will mean for your ward and what you as a Councillor can do to give a lead. During the day there will also be opportunities to network with colleagues from all over the country to share your experiences and ideas. In addition to Councillors, the conference will also be very useful for council officers and others who support or work closely with elected members.

I’m on the agenda to speak to those attending, and I am keen that I keep the content as relevant as possible. My talk is titled “Leadership 2.0: why local authorities need to be learning organisations”. What I will be talking about is that despite all the talk of the online revolution and the growth of social networking, the interesting bit remains the implications of the technology rather than the technology itself. The session will explore the opportunities for improvement and efficiency that the new culture of openness and sharing brings – and how councillors can make sure their councils make the most of them.

Should be fun, then!

There are a bunch of other great sessions on the agenda. For readers of this blog, I suspect “Making social networking work for you”, which features Ingrid Koehler amongst others, will be the most interesting.

Well done to LGIU and partners for arranging a great looking conference.

You can book your place using this link.

Learning Pool Breakfast events

Learning Pool

Learning Pool‘s breakfast meetings are great opportunities for local authorities to get together over a croissant and a cup of tea and hear some great stories about how real change can be achieved in councils with the right blend of technology and people-focused stuff.

Two such events are currently scheduled: firstly in at Brighton and Hove Council on 25 November from 9.30-12.30. Speakers include Tracey Hughes from Brighton and Hove council and Christine Shakespeare from Basildon Council – as well as yours truly.

Second is Barnsley on 1 December, again between 9.30 and 12.30. Speakers for this event include Paula Siswick from Kirklees Council and Ian Ligget from Bury MBC. Oh, and me again.

Visit our events page to find out more and book your place!

Delivering online learning

I’ve had my attention brought to the Thirty Day Challenge, a free month long online course on internet direct marketing. Now, it’s not a subject I am particularly interested in, but I am interested in how the information is disseminated on the course. It seems to be mainly through flat HTML pages for each day of the course which¬† are chock full of video content, a supporting blog and a forum for participants to have a natter.

This seems a fairly simple way of doing things, I guess people pick up each day’s content through RSS or email, follow the video and text content, then try and put it into action. You might get people coming in halfway through, say, which might mess things up – and how would you present the content after the initial course has finished? Traditional blog reverse-chronological would mean that people hit the last section first.

Maybe one way of using a blog would be to run the course on a regular basis, signing up people to specific start dates and password protecting posts, so those with a password for a section can access it. Maybe this is just complicating things though…

The alternative would be to set something up in a system like Moodle, which is an open source virtual learning environment, which lets you set up proper courses for people to follow. This way you get to properly structure each segment of the courses, and can ensure people properly progress through each stage. I have been having a little play with Moodle recently, and while it clearly has some great features, it seems to be to be rivaling Drupal in the ‘bitch to set up’ stakes, and the end results do look a little, well, dated.

Another way of doing things would be to make the learning synchronous and make everyone be there at the same time for a Webex style session, sharing the screen with those taking part. There are obvious problems here for fixing a time people can make, and it also turns it into a much more formal affair.

Does anyone else have any ideas on how online courses could be presented, split into sections delivered on a daily or weekly basis?