Continuing our Meet the Director series, we caught up with our Vice Chair Phil Reddall.
Please tell us a little about yourself Phil.
Hi, my name’s Phil Reddall and my full time job is as Learning Innovation Manager for AkzoNobel UK, the parent company of Dulux. I'm responsible for innovation across the scope of L&D in the UK and work closely with the global team to bring about change.
I joined AkzoNobel in August 2015 from Capita plc where I was a Strategic L&D Consultant working with a variety of clients including Lloyds Banking Group, Virgin Media, The Natural History Museum, GSK, TSB, AVIVA and EE. Before that I worked in a variety of learning solutions agencies, both traditional and Learning Technology which I think has given me a unique insight into the 'business' of L&D.
Alongside strategy, I'm especially passionate about the 'appropriate' use of Learning Technology, whether it's performance support, traditional e-Learning, social collaborative portals, personalised 'adaptive' learning, management systems or video - whatever works to help ensure the best possible result and to de-mystify the journey.
Outside of work I'm a keen cyclist, taking part in semi-competitive road-race sportive and charity events in my spare time, and getting out on my mountain bike whenever possible... as other cyclists probably know ... that leaves little time for other hobbies...
What made you want to join the eLearning Network originally?
When I was working in the industry within agencies I came across the eLN and decided that the events and networking would be really useful to help me increase my knowledge, that shifted over time into a focus on keeping 'up-to-date' with the latest topics and then eventually I began to feel that I could give something back and that the client-side perspective of our industry was underrepresented, that's the point at which I stood for election to the board of the eLN.
What do you see as being the key challenges facing the eLearning and wider L&D industry right now?
There really are some big challenges right now for the industry and they aren't anything new. For me the biggest is perception of L&D and the way other people see us and how they behave and how we respond.
I've worked in a variety of places and a common trend is that people often think the following of L&D:
More learning is always good (It isn't)
'Training' is the answer without true questioning around the cause
'Performance/impact' is a nice to have
People too often come to us with a solution rather than a problem. "I need a training course on xxx" is an all too common conversation. Or the senior manager who says "What are L&D doing for me this year" without thinking about what he/she is trying to achieve this year and what people skills will be needed.
3) How we respond
One of our biggest challenges is that we tend to answer the question... If someone asks for a schedule of generic courses to support managers... we give them one!
What exactly is the issue and what's stopping you from performing? That's the question 'We' as an industry don't ask enough.
Well, if we don't rise to this challenge, change how we respond and ultimately change the way people think about learning then we'll always be the ones struggling for the ear of the senior team, struggling for budget and struggling to have our voices heard. After all the Head of Sales can accurately show how his/her investment has directly affected the sales performance of the company... which means that they get listened to and can achieve their goals, can the same be said of the Head of Learning? Well, I think it depends where you are, but it should be the case everywhere.... and that's a big challenge!
What books would you recommend as core reading to anyone wanting to get into eLearning and / or established L&D professionals?
Informal learning at work by Paul Matthews
Who moved my cheese - Dr Spencer Johnson
The Blended Learning Cookbook - Clive Shepherd
The hitch hikers guide to the galaxy - Douglas Adams
What’s the best piece of eLearning you’ve ever seen?
That's a tough one..... I think some of the serious games I've seen are the most fun I've had learning ... but I'm not sure that's a good definition of 'Best'.
So... I'll have to go with the winner of the 2015 eLearning award for compliance, (the category I was judging that year).
Brightwave and PWC had delivered an eLearning module that was great in terms of learning design, scenarios, production quality and all of the other technical qualities you'd expect... What made it great rather than just good was the laser-like focus of the client (and the designers) on the issue and specifically the behaviours that needed changing (rather than just a tick-box compliance exercise) and then a ruthless approach to measuring the impact. They were able to say that they had clearly identified the route-cause of the issues, tackled them with a first class solution design, achieved their goals and measured the impact... for me that is the holy grail of learning!
If you could give only one piece of advice to an eLearning designer what would it be?
Talk to people, make the most of the experience and knowledge across the industry, learn, grow and keep an eye on the difference you and your solutions make!
Thanks Phil! Check out the next 'Meet the director' blog coming soon.