Freelance Susie Finch
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TrainingZone interviews: Kyla Lacey-Davidson

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20th Jan 2014
Freelance Susie Finch
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Kyla Lacey-Davidson, digital & online learning officer at the Stroke Association and the winner of a special Charity Learning Award, talks about the usefulness of Twitter, how social media has evolved organically at the Stoke Association, and her desire to avoid the training ghetto...

Has social media been useful in terms of L&D? And has social media been personally useful in terms of the work that you do?

Social media is a tool that we are still exploring within learning and development. We share links to courses and resources through our internal micro-blogging feed and our discussion forums, and we actively encourage our people to do the same. We also champion social learning in our discussions with colleagues across the business, as well as making sure that we talk about it in our corporate induction where we guide our new starters through all of the learning opportunities available to them at the Stroke Association.

In terms of social media for my own work, it has proved invaluable. I would completely agree with Jane Hart’s top 100 learning tools – Twitter has fed so much of my learning for the last few years as my career in learning and development has developed. It has enabled me to search for and discover all types of learning resources posted by the people who now form such a big part of my personal learning network. In fact, I think that I might have found the Charity Learning Consortium through Twitter.

What are your thoughts on social learning?

It’s interesting to see the term ‘social learning’ become almost a buzzword over the last few years. It sometimes feels like it’s perceived to be a new trend. Really, social learning happens pretty naturally without any involvement from learning and development. I suppose the shift is a renewed recognition of how effective social learning is, and how we can support, shape and facilitate some of that learning - as well as provide our learners with the tools and skills to pursue social learning through some of the social networks that are now available to us online.

We have definitely seen an increased appetite for internal social networks with tweets, walls, forums and blogs appearing on our intranet by request. We also have a growing group of people playing with using Yammer to share updates and ideas which has occurred incredibly naturally, independently of both our L&D and internal comms teams.

As a result of our focus on social learning, we have begun to host webinars which bring together groups of people to discuss an issue which is currently affecting them in their shared roles. In these webinars, we follow a loose agenda with some key questions, to support those individuals to problem solve as a group, learning from and building upon each other’s experiences. These have had a great response from the people who have attended so far and so we are looking to extend this type of facilitated peer support to other key groups working across our charity.

What value do you place on collaboration?

Collaboration is vital for the continued success of any learning and development team. Working in isolation from the business you are there to support will result in delivering ineffective and irrelevant learning solutions, out of synch with the business needs. By embedding learning as a key consideration in any major piece of work means that we are there from the beginning to collaborate with the relevant colleagues on ensuring that any learning solution is delivered in time, to the right people, and in a format which suits that audience.

We also work to keep open lines of communication with each area of the business. We go out to our teams periodically to find out about their challenges, and what learning solutions might remove or reduce those challenges. As well, we encourage all staff to pick up the phone or pop us an email with any query about learning needs that they feel they don’t have a solution for.

To read part two of this interview click here

Kyla Lacey-Davidson is digital & online learning officer at the Stroke Association and the winner of a special Charity Learning Award for her Outstanding Contribution to the Charity Learning Consortium community. The Stroke Association is a charity. They work directly with stroke survivors and their families and carers, with health and social care professionals and with scientists and researchers. They campaign to improve stroke care and support people to make the best recovery they can

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