Sea-Change at CIPD L&D Show 2014?

Tue 09 Sep 2014

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Blog Author
Rachel Burnham
Associate Tutor

Reading the multiple blogs and Tweets arising from last week’s CIPD L&D Show is a bit like suddenly developing the compound eyes of an insect, in which the world is seen through many lenses all at once, each with a slightly differing view.

At least, that’s what my experience has been of this year’s show.

Each person attending has their own take on the event, in part because we all participated in a different mix of sessions, spoke with different people, engaged with a variety of stall-holders in the exhibition, read different tweets and also brought with us our own experiences & particular biases.

We each have our own tale to tell.

And telling them we have been. There have been blogs which reported and reflected upon sessions within the main conference – here’s Ian Pettigrew’s live blog on ‘Creating a New Generation of Trustworthy Leaders’ from the first day of the conference; Phil Wilcox’s blog on a session on MOOCs  and from the 2nd day Phil Wilcox’s blog on the enthusiastically received session about Google Blogs and Tweets aplenty about the shorter free sessions in the exhibition hall. And blogs which have reflected on how we can improve future shows to better enable learning and model effective learning practice to meet diverse needs – from Helen Amery.

My highlight was the short session led by Andy Lancaster, the new L&D person for CIPD and Ruth Stuart, responsible for the L&D research agenda, also at CIPD. Together they presented a whirl-wind tour of the new developments taking place at the CIPD, which are making good the noises made by Peter Cheese over the last year in relation to L&D.

At long last there are changes taking place in CIPD in how L&D is viewed. Ruth Stuart reported on the new emphasis being place on research into L&D. Already reports are available from CIPD on: the real experiences of middle managers; skills policy and of course the Annual Learning & Talent Development survey.

Future research includes more on neuroscience & learning; volunteering as an L&D method; the future of L&D and new insights into change management. There will be opportunities for L&D practitioners to engage with this research agenda, so do take up these opportunities.

Other exciting initiatives which Andy Lancaster reported on included the new ‘Leaders in Learning’ network to bring together people engaged in L&D.  He is hoping to develop networks outside of London and this is likely to include Scotland, Manchester and the West Country. The aim is for these networks to be about involvement, so that CIPD moves on from its traditional ‘broadcasting’ approach to a more ‘engaged with practitioners’ approach.  

New partnership working with other organisations such as ‘Towards Maturity’ is planned and you may already have noticed that ‘People Management’ is including more L&D focused articles than previously.  

It feels like the door is unlocked and that there is a real opportunity for those in L&D to push against this.  I feel more hope and optimism about the L&D agenda with CIPD from this short session, than at any time in my career previously.   We mustn’t let this opportunity slip by.


Rachel Burnham is one of MOL's associate tutors.

Burnham L & D Consultancy specialises in the development of L&D professionals, blended learning and evaluation

Follow Rachel on Twitter @BurnhamLandD

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