Come and see us at World of Learning at the NEC Birmingham

📢Announcement 📢

We’re excited to say we’ll be exhibiting at World of Learning, the UK’s most comprehensive event for L&D professionals.

You’ll find us over on the seminar schedule too with our session
“Efficiency and ROI – Unlocking the benefits of centralised training spend.”

Register for free entry now at and come say hello.👋

Talking mental health this men’s health week

Supporting your employees with mental health awareness and wellbeing at work learning programmes is essential to nurture and develop your teams in the workplace.

With recent campaigns and initiatives for companies too including mental health awareness week in May, wellbeing a major theme for the CIPD festival of work and this week brings men’s health week we thought important to share real life stories with the aim of supporting each other in this area.

This week’s blog is written by one of our lovely team members, sharing their experiences in relation to mental health. Continue reading “Talking mental health this men’s health week”

The impact of COVID-19 on L&D

We published the results of our recent survey, asking internal Learning & Development professionals what the impact of COVID-19 has been on their activity.

106 respondents shared their experiences, reaction and advice for their peers. Key findings include:

To receive a free copy of the report please complete the below details and you’ll be emailed the details.

[email-download-link namefield=”YES” id=”3″]


World of Learning 2018

World of Learning takes place on the 16th and 17th October 2018 at its regular venue, the NEC Birmingham.

I’ve been to this event almost yearly since Optimus Learning was launched in 2009 as its an integral part of the learning event calendar in the UK, alongside Learning Tech and the CIPD show.

Located in the Midlands it brings together a great number of L&D professionals from around the UK in a very inclusive manner.

In previous years I’ve been exposed to Laughter Yoga, discovered amazing suppliers and debated who is leading the demand for technology learning solutions – customers or suppliers.  I attend as I get to speak with a range of L&D professionals from around the UK – its very inclusive.

There are excellent inspiration zones, focusing on the latest innovations in learning,  learning how to be agile,  maintaining your mental wellbeing and experiential learning.

Our debut at World of Learning

This year Optimus Learning will be exhibiting for its first time. I’ll be on our stand – B65 – sharing how we help L&D professionals to minimise the mundane,  free up their time and focus on L&D strategy.

I’m excited about is the conversations I’ll be having with the world of L&D, hearing about the good work and successes that the industry is doing to improve employee performance.

I’ll be sharing my expertise on ways to improve processes, reducing administration and secrets on how to select the best training suppliers.  Important aspects of L&D management that use up valuable time of the modern learning professionals.

For a decade we have helped organisations increase their productivity, profitability and employee satisfaction through training and learning.

I’d love to share more so come along to the World of Learning and visit us at stand B65 – hopefully see you there.

And if you can’t make it but would like to speak to me about how we can help you, contact me via or call me on 0845 519 7408.

L&D influencing a culture of productivity in the workplace

Research by the Office for National Statistics reveals that output per hour of British workers has declined again in the second quarter of 2017, leaving it 0.3% lower than the previous year.

Furthermore, last year UK workers produced 15.1% less per hour than works in other G7 countries.

Since the 2008/2009 recession productivity has stagnated – the level of labour productivity in Q2 2017 was 0.5% below what is was back in Q4 2007 (pre-recession peak level).

Why does it matter?

Productivity is directly linked to living standards. Productivity growth, or lack of, impacts the ability for a country to improve its standard of living. It also determines long-term growth rates. So, stronger productivity figures should lead to stronger GDP growth, resulting in increased tax revenues and lowering budget deficits – or for low productivity figures the opposite.

What can businesses do about it?

After reading some useful information from business schools such as Harvard,  Ashridge, London Business School, INSEAD and others there was one common answer – improve the culture.

Stanford University’s research on ‘Effects of Positive Practices on Organisational Effectiveness’ boiled this down to six essential characteristics:

  • Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends
  • Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling
  • Avoiding blame and forgive mistakes
  • Inspiring one another at work
  • Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work
  • Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity

We know that culture isn’t built overnight and requires constant reinforcing of values and seeing these carried out in action from employees and the senior team.

What can you do as an L&D professional to help influence a culture of productivity?

Firstly, boosting performance will have a positive impact on productivity.  ‘Towards Maturity’s Unlocking Potential report’ shared five high-level tactics used by the L&D teams achieving their goals when it comes to boosting performance.

  • Integrate learning and work
  • Ensure stakeholders recognise L&D alignment with wider organisational goals
  • Build performance support at the point of need
  • Ensure digitally-enabled programme design supports learning transfer
  • Evaluate progress and performance against business metrics

We’d recommend reversing the order when planning any learning solution – start with the end in mind and how you’ll evaluate the performance changes.

Remember, momentum builds motivation – in short, regardless of where you or your organisation is with the levels of productivity, without action nothing will improve.

Dare to stand out by grasping the responsibility of helping to improve employee productivity within your organisation.

If you would like to chat more about your organisation’s learning needs to help improve productivity levels give us a call for a free consultation on 0845 519 7408 or email

Learning from Learning Technologies Summer Forum 2017

Attending industry events such as the Learning Technologies Summer Forum are a great opportunity to review where the industry has got to but also where your company L&D plans are at too, especially as we have hit mid-way through 2017 already!  

The learning programme at this event was jam packed as always with such a great range of L&D topics, we thought we would share our thoughts from the show and answer some key questions our clients have been asking:

What comes after the LMS Learning Systems?

We all know that “digital learning” is no longer the new kid on the block however there are still questions regarding the measures of success, the impact of it and where it has the most impact.

The Fosway Group have put together some excellent research notably their Digital Learning Realities Research 2017 report, a summary of which can be seen below.


So to answer the questions of what comes after the LMS, the Fosway Group highlighted that both the traditional LMS and the next generation learning platforms can exist together. Neither is better as it depends on what your organisation’s requirements are.

If you are in a heavy regulated industry then it’s likely you’ll have a strong demand for compliant training. Therefore a LMS would work perfectly.

For those of you not in this position and you have both the culture and resources – a next generation platform, which promotes social learning, would be right for you.

As with everything, context is key. Consider your organisation, where it’s at now and where it might be in 5 years. Then decide on what software or system is right for you.


Micro learning – how it really works and who’s using it successfully?

Micro learning has become a major talking point in learning and development for the past few years.

Is it something new or just a new label?

We think it’s the former. A re-labelling of an approach that many of already us use but perhaps don’t realise it.

In simple terms, it’s a way of organising self-directed learning and performance support into small chunks. This can be spaced across a period of time (breaking down larger chunks, being a resource in between larger chunks for new, or used to reinforce learning).

Remember, micro learning can be used across all delivery approaches and media – it’s not just e-learning so mix up the digital and analogue resources and ask for feedback from your employees to establish their preferences.

And finally ‘Putting it all into practice:  L&D professionals taking a 21st Century approach’

This session was what we were looking to the most. Hearing from Charles Jennings as well as examples from two senior L&D professionals; Jeff Kortenbosch senior eLearning specialist Akzo Nobel and Anca Lordache, Head of Social Learning and Collaboration Citi.

Jeff spoke about the journey to the 70:20:10 culture.  He had some inspiring advice for anyone interested in adopting this approach:

  • Ask yourself “what change can you make today that will impact tomorrow?
  • Follow thought leaders
  • Learn more about the model
  • Do something – get started

We agree. There will always be lots, perhaps too much to do, but get going on something. Momentum builds motivation and the same applies to your employees.

Anca gave us a greater understanding of the process and how they achieved it with Citi:

It all started in 2014 when their CEO said “employees need to learn how to take control of their own development”. Since then they’ve had to go through stages – the Align/Equip which covered raising awareness, aligning the business, equipping employee and raising interest, before moving on to the Engage/Sustain stage, focused on engaging and equipping stakeholders and sustaining the approach.

Remember, you need to ensure your organisation’s culture will accept the concept of 70:20:10.

We say don’t be perturbed by adopting 70:20:10. It’s an approach, the numbers aren’t fixed in stone. So if your employees are focused on obtaining certifications through formal training or a business need for certified staff then your numbers might look more 40:30:30. And that’s good enough.

We’ve said for a while now that L&D needs evolution, with incremental steps rather than trying to change everything overnight and this is further proof. Even with massive resources (which we know many of you don’t) it will take a few years for your organisation to adopt.

In the words of Jeff Kortenbosch – “Think long term but don’t let it stop you from starting”

And in the words of Blake Henegan – “Keep asking questions. You never know what you’ll receive”.  I was kindly given a copy of the ‘702010 Towards 100% Performance’ co-authored by Charles Jennings.

Will let you know my book review in due course – its looking good so far.

So whether you are implementing systems, new learning approaches or trying to work out the best way to actually do it all – good luck!

The top 3 things to do at the CIPD Learning & Development 2017 show.

The CIPD Learning & Development 2017 show has a plethora of speakers, L&D suppliers and learning sessions. The CIPD predicts that over 3,500 L&D professionals will all be under one roof.

Like with all events of this scale is challenging to fit everything you want to see in. There are times when I wish there was 4 of me. I’m sure you feel the same.

At times like this, it can be easy to swept away in the scale of the event, losing track of why you came and your agenda going astray.

I’m writing this on the assumption that you have already planned your activity for the time you are there.

But have you planned time for a meeting with the most important supplier at the show?


You should do.

Who is it?

It’s you! 

Yes, you. You are attending to achieve something, this might help drive your strategy, to raise your profile, meet new people, meet existing contacts or invest in your learning and CPD.

So my advice is this – take time out on a regular basis throughout the day to meet with yourself.

Block time out to allow you to have a break, absorb, digest and reflect on what you’ve heard and seen.

Do this throughout the day and you’ll notice your energy levels will be higher, avoiding that drained feeling you can get at the end of events.

Don’t be afraid of not having a conversation when grabbing a drink or something to eat.

You may even want to consider “Pranayama Meditation” – a quick and easy technique to calm your mind.

But do not miss the CIPD Leaders in Learning Ignite Lab

The CIPD Leaders In Learning Network brings you 9 Ignite presentations on Wednesday 10th at 4.45pm at the Digital Learning stage.

The Ignite format is simple –  each speaker has 5 minutes 5 minutes per speaker, 20 slides which automatically forward on after 15 seconds. The focus is to inspire and share practical L&D insights for people to take away and help them within their role.

I am honoured to be one of the 9 selected by CIPD for this session I’ve gone with a topic that I believe is a barrier to L&D productivity and that is, overwhelm in the workplace. I’ve also experienced the same feelings of overwhelm and have invested considerable time and effort in learning how to overcome them. Will it be useful?  I believe so. How will it go? Only time will tell. All I hope is that if each person takes away one thing which helps them then it would be a worthwhile investment of their time.

There are 9 of us speaking – see the full list on Twitter. For most of us, myself included, it’s our first time of delivering a presentation in this format.

Please come along and have a listen, I’m confident you’ll hear some interesting L&D insights.

And take advantage of free L&D consultations at the show

Finally, if you do need time to chat through your current L&D issues, I am pleased to be offering 4 x 45 minutes free L&D consultation slots at the CIPD Learning & Development show on Wed 10th May.

I’ll be happy to discuss any L&D problems or challenges you are currently facing and pass on thoughts and advice drawn from my experience within the industry.

If you’d like to book one of the sessions please send me an email.

Hopefully I’ll see you at the CIPD Learning & Development 2017 show.

CIPD Leaders in Learning Feb 2017: Time for L&D to take action


CIPD Leaders in Learning is a free to attend network for L&D leaders and I am lucky enough to attend their events, learning from and networking from L&D peers and thought leaders.

At the most recent meeting on the last day of February the agenda was focused on two areas; L&D as a brand, and Data driven learning improvement: The 2016 Towards Maturity Benchmark

The L&D Brand

Continue reading “CIPD Leaders in Learning Feb 2017: Time for L&D to take action”