Social learning

Written by
Changeboard Team

01 Sep 2014

01 Sep 2014 • by Changeboard Team

Providing education & support

Our L&D department is purely outward facing, designed for our Macmillan professionals and for people affected by cancer. We do not deliver L&D to our own staff, that is the responsibility of the HR department.

Macmillan Cancer Support provides education and support that enables professionals to stay at the leading edge of their specialism in order to improve quality of service to people affected by cancer. Macmillan has funded over 4000 health and social care professionals, but they’re employed by their own NHS trusts. The employer provides statutory L&D training for our professionals, while our L&D remit is to add value. Our e-programmes, courses and resources are developed to meet identified needs of our professionals and of people affected by cancer.
Online facilitation

Employers are increasingly reluctant to release staff for any L&D activities because of staff cuts. As a result, e-learning is more and more being seen as the answer for employers, often because it is seen as a cheaper, less time consuming option.

This brings its own challenges because, unless the learner is given time out to concentrate on the e-learning, their experience will be unsatisfactory and unsuccessful.

I believe that technology can provide part of the solution so developing an L&D Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) or Learn Zone with a flexible range of online resources is important. However, it’s also important to experiment with different delivery methods particularly exploring ways of supporting or facilitating the learner using various technologies and social learning mechanisms. We have found participation in our e-learning courses goes through the roof when an online facilitator supports the learners.

Growth of social learning

The growth of video content is increasing, as is the use of gamification, using a rewards/ challenges based approach allowing the learner to collect badges, points or rewards for their contributions and participation. However, one of the biggest emerging technologies is the impact of mobile and tablet devices, meaning the learner will not necessarily be sitting at their desk while learning.

Social networking gives the learner control of their learning and allows them to share their learning with others. They also have the chance to rate their experiences and give instant feedback to the provider.

One of the most significant changes is the move towards learning systems such as Curatr, that allow the learner to become the curator of their own learning, again giving control to the learner. There is so much content out there already, instead of developing more, we need to look at ways of enabling and inspiring our learners to discover existing content and to engage with it by sharing it with others and adding commentaries.

The World of Learning event

Hear Lesley speak at ‘The World of Learning Conference & Exhibition’ which takes place on 2 and 3 October at The NEC, Birmingham.

To register, go to:, Twitter at #WOL12 &

About the event:

Showcasing the latest in everything from learning technology and mobile applications to experiential learning and coaching techniques from over 120 exhibitors, the event provides an overview of what’s new in L&D alongside a full educational programme.
At the heart of the event is the World of Learning Conference, featuring a top line-up of L&D experts from a variety of organisations including Tesco, Dixons, Barclaycard, Fujitsu, npower and Macmillan Cancer Support. Speakers will share their own experiences and knowledge on what it takes to deliver an effective L&D strategy with an audience of senior L&D professionals.

Caroline Waters OBE, director of People and Policy at BT delivers the opening address, entitled ‘How will L&D have to adapt to the changing workforce’ exploring how BT has had to adapt its L&D strategy in line with advances in technology to maintain a flexible approach. 

Steve Wheeler, associate professor of Learning Technologies at the University of Plymouth, looks ahead at emerging learning technologies in ‘Learning innovation with tomorrow’s technology tools’. Sue Miller, Metro and Corporate L&D manager at Hilton Worldwide, opens the second day of the conference with a focus on driving ROI with the presentation ‘How Hilton Worldwide developed into a learning organisation to drive performance and profitability’.

Alongside the conference, the free-to-attend exhibition features a wealth of interactive workshops, one-to-one consultations, over 30 seminars and new and exciting features including The Technology Test Drive where visitors can sample cutting edge workplace learning technologies for themselves.