Sunday, 29 November 2009

My next book

I’m researching a new book, which is intended to be a compendium of tools and techniques for learning and development. I plan to explain and analyse some of the most popular tools, not just for delivery (although there will be plenty of those), but also for applying learning theory, analysing learning needs, strategy and planning, and perhaps especially reviewing, evaluating and quality-assuring learning.
I’d be interested to hear from any reader about the tools and techniques you’ve found most useful or effective in managing and implementing learning and development. Do you have a particular favourite tool?

The idea of the book is to provide a handy manual for learning and development professionals, and anyone who has to undertake any task to do with learning and development. I hope it may also be useful to students on courses in HR or learning, perhaps as a companion volume to the more theoretical tomes like Harrison, Walton and Wilson. As usual, the timetable is slow: my publisher, Kogan Page, don’t expect to get this book on the shelves until early in 2011 – hopefully it’ll be worth the wait!

All comments and suggestions welcome.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009


Many educationalists, and even some corporate learning and development professionals, talk a lot about pedagogy. From the classical Greek, this literally means “leading the child”, but it is widely understood, in educational circles, including further and higher education (i.e., education that is not for children) to refer to underlying theory of learning, including understanding how children/people learn, and how to design learning for best effect.

In the 1940s, the American educationalist Malcolm Knowles proposed a new theory of andragogy – “leading the man” – which highlighted the different ways in which adults, as distinct from children, learn.

In the last decade, Australian academic Stewart Hase has advocated a new theory, heutagogy – “leading the self” – which shifts the emphasis to self-directed learning, in keeping with recent moves towards more learner-centred learning.

Simpler language, eschewing debate about rival theories, and focusing on the practical application of pedagogy/andragogy/heutagogy, is learning design.

There's some useful discussion of this in Sam Chapnick and Jimm Meloy's excellent book, Renaissance eLearning: creating dramatic and unconventional learning experiences, Chapter 3, ‘From Andragogy to Heutagogy’.


The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) is creating a new subscription-based information resource on the web. HR-inform will hold a vast repository of tips, tools and other resources for HR professionals.

I’ve contributed some of the resources, including case studies, policies and model documents. Among the topics I’ve contributed are: learning methods and styles, costing learning, course facilitation, talent management, e-learning, blended learning, internal marketing of learning, outsourcing versus insourcing, use of consultants, learning centres and virtual learning centres, choosing learning materials, quality management of learning, corporate universities, the learning organisation, innovative approaches to learning, knowledge management and learning evaluation - around 50 items in all.

I suppose I would say this, but I’m sure it will be a very valuable resource for HR professionals. HR Inform is being launched at a breakfast seminar at the CIPD conference in Manchester tomorrow - how’s that for up to date? - so perhaps it's appropriate that I'm posting this at breakfast time.