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Susie Finch

Susie Finch


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New year, new challenges


L&D commentators and specialists review the last 12 months and make their predictions for the year ahead. Find out what the L&D highlight was for Martin Baker, Laura Overton, Clive Shepherd, Nigel Paine and others, and what they see on the learning horizon in 2012.
"My highlight of 2011 was undoubtedly the first Charity Learning Conference and Awards. I was thrilled that it was such a success, and am already looking forward to our next conference and awards in November 2012.  I know that some of our members faced budget cuts, but I am impressed with how robust charities are – their attitude is always to keep looking forward, and face new challenges with fresh new thinking. It's this inspirational approach that really shines through when you look at the work that is being done in charity learning – which is a great example for corporate organisations to follow in the continuing tough economic climate. The amazing success of the collaborative approach of the Charity Learning Consortium has led to the formation of The Corporate eLearning Consortium, so 2012 really is set to be exciting year for us."
Martin Baker, CEO of The Charity Learning Consortium & MD of The Corporate eLearning Consortium
"Budgets, time and even training teams are decreasing but the need for skills and improved performance within the sector does not go away." - Laura Overton
"2011 saw budget cuts, including staff. It has been challenging to deliver what is needed with less budget and time (people). Elearning, online booking systems and making use of other technologies such as webinars have been so important in helping us meet our learning needs using the resources available. I look forward to 2012, and have hopes of making better use of video, discussion forums and mobile devices, making it even easier for our staff to learn at a pace to suit them, at a location to suit them."
Debbie Barker-Runiewicz, responsible for health & safety L&D at The National Autistic Society
"Reduced resources over the last year have created an opportunity for increased innovation, particularly in the charity sector. Budgets, time and even training teams are decreasing but the need for skills and improved performance within the sector does not go away. As a result the sector is increasingly looking at innovative ways to use learning tools and technologies that are freely available and this is starting to pay dividends. In 2012, I would expect to see even more collaboration across the sector to create innovative learning programmes that can be used by all, as well as increased use of free resources such as social media, user-generated content and open educational resources being introduced across the blend to improve quality and reduce cost even further."
Laura Overton is the managing director of learning technologies benchmarking organisation Towards Maturity
"Today's economic climate means we need to use every possible lever to increase the opportunities of society's most disadvantaged people, by helping them access work, learning and life chances. Charities are powerful enablers of this vital work and I'd like to see more being bold and imaginative in how they think about technology. Thinking 'digital by default', both in terms of their own processes and services and also in how they engage and up-skill their client base, will allow them to deliver brilliant tools, products and services to users and staff at dramatically lower costs. I'd like 2012 to see a big upswell in the number of digital champions in the charitable sector."        
Martha Lane Fox, UK Digital Champion and founder of Race Online 2012
"Last year was a tough year for everyone. Despite this, we have seen more and more charities coming to us to gain access to technology. We expect that 2012 is going to be more of the same, with charities and other non-profits looking to technology to improve their efficiency and their effectiveness. It is going to become even more crucial that charities can give their staff easy access to information, knowledge, and learning resources through technology if they are going to survive in the current economic environment."
Richard Cooper, development manager at the Charity Technology Trust
"In 2011 we launched our online learning system at WRVS. Contrary to some expectations, many people were ready to embrace the use of technology for learning. A year ago I was having regular conversations persuading people to at least give it a go – now, more often than not, people accept it as the norm. I think this shows how acceptable and credible online learning has become and is now a standard method of learning, not just 'the new kid on the block'. For 2012 I am looking forward to a wider but targeted use of online learning to support our organisational needs and purpose – providing practical support to older people."
Richard Bragg, learning and development partner at WRVS
"...many, many more organisations will use social networking apps to share knowledge quickly, and build a better more co-operative workplace culture." - Nigel Paine
"Last year was obviously hard for L&D and the situation is not going to change anytime soon. If there is a bright spot it is that decisions on long-overdue changes now really do have to be made. We are moving more activities online, while at the same time recognising that we've been placing too much of an emphasis on formal learning. And mobile devices are pointing the way to an exciting future."
Clive Shepherd is a highly regarded commentator on learning technologies and was the chairman at the first Charity Learning Conference and Awards 2011
"2011 was undoubtedly the year of social networking. It has spread like wildfire across organisations that have been wary and nervous about the implications of embracing it. First they blocked personal use of social networking sites, then they stopped internal usage - all the while espousing the use of informal learning in the workplace. This has produced contradictions and pressures that will burst out in 2012. So my prediction is that many, many more organisations will use social networking apps to share knowledge quickly, and build a better more co-operative workplace culture. They will resolve all the security issues and begin to trust their staff to say and do the right thing. And my second prediction is that all the millions of people who got iPads for Christmas will begin an unstoppable demand to use their tablets for work and particularly work-based learning."
Nigel Paine, is managing director of Nigel Nigel presented an inspirational workshop on creativity and innovation at the Charity Learning Conference 2011

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Susie Finch


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