Technology’s effect on Northumberland County Council’s learning

February 4, 2013 by Lisa McGonigle

In this guest blog, Northumberland County Council’s Learning & Organisational Development Manager Paul Brooks describes the shift in the way that people approach learning and how social media can support this.

Northumberland County Council's Learning & OD Manager Paul BrooksThe new millennium was ushered in by a dramatic technological revolution.  We now live in an increasingly diverse, globalised, and complex, media-saturated society.

We have no idea of what the world will look in five years, much less 20 years, yet we are charged with preparing our current and future workforce for life in that world. 

In the face of complex issues

Our employees are facing many emerging issues such as global recession; Public Sector Transformation, widening health issues and other environmental and social issues.  

The issues and problems that both managers and employees need to respond to and deal with are becoming more complex, answers and solutions to these problems are required much faster, and accessed in real time.

In response we are seeing a shift in the way people approach learning and communications within organisations. It is a shift that stems, from the world in which we work becoming faster and more complex. 

The rise of learning portals

In response many organisations have begun to recognise that having a portal for learning, reference, support and communication provides great benefits.

Not only does it bring huge cost savings over traditional training methods but it also improves relations across work units and helps develop employee confidence.

Rolling in the direction of travel

In Northumberland County Council we are wanting to adapt our organisational development approaches and ‘roll’ in the direction of travel rather than ‘stand still’ and be flattened by the steam roller of progress as it trundles in to the future.. 

An example of this and one of the biggest learning points of last year was the effectiveness, and future potential, of social media to support organisational activities and develop audiences.

Social media could light the way

To prepare for activity around the torch relay, NCC started promotion of #NlandTorch a month before the event among employees including a web-page explaining how to use it and encouraging friends, families and people of Northumberland to help ‘tweet the torch through Northumberland’. 

During the period of the relay 2,024 #NlandTorch tweets were seen by 487,616 people on Twitter, 3.6 million times.That corporate exposure to social media provided an excellent platform from which to expand our e-learning provision and launch ‘Blogs’ and other ‘Discussion Forums’ to help engage the workforce in meaningful conversation, debate and learning.

Bringing about a cultural change

With such challenges and opportunities upon us, we have refreshed our Organisational Development and E-learning strategies aimed at bringing about a cultural change and to ensure we have appropriate ‘fit for purpose’ learning and development going forward. 

Want to connect with like-minded folk?

Make connections with learning and development professionals like Paul on the free Learning Pool community here.

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