On this week’s 3@3 we were lucky enough to interview Charlotte Valeur on a subject close to our hearts - inclusive learning.
Charlotte is a former Institute of Directors chair who was diagnosed with autism in her 50s. She is also the founder of the Institute of Neurodiversity (IoN) and last year launched it in the UK, Europe, and Australia. IoN campaigns for the inclusion of neurodivergent people to make sure they are understood, represented and valued equally.
Charlotte talks to Lynn about her experiences of professional learning and development and how being a neurodivergent person has impacted that. Charlotte also shares her tips on how to make the world of work more inclusive.
Find out more about the product we're developing to make learning more inclusive here.
By Joe Triccas, Product Manager, Neve
I have played video games since I was 9. I’ve seen the technology shrink, the resolutions get crisper and the storylines cut deeper and reflect reality increasingly over time.
As well as all this, the creators of these games have been watching us. Learning what keeps us at the screen. I am sure there is an exceptionally large financial reason behind this, although the insights this industry has made into the neurochemistry of learning is a genuine contribution to science.
We now know that our brain will release chemicals that are both addictive and induce feelings of pleasure when we overcome a previously difficult challenge. However, the brain is not so simple as ‘I did challenge yay’! There is nuance to this. If a challenge had previously felt impossible, and then is suddenly trivially dispatched, the brain will doubt the external feedback – the success is uncanny, and the dopamine hit we are all so eager for is unlikely to be felt.
There is a subtle art in ensuring challenges are set at the right level of difficulty. When applying this principle to learning, the goal of the teacher is to enable the learner to be able to credibly visualise a path of growth from who they are now into a version of themselves that can do the thing.
It is the pursuit of this growth, and the environmental feedback giving evidence of improvement, that results in the almighty dopamine hit; leading to new habits and changed behaviour.
One of the cornerstones of Neve as a learning platform is to enable learners to learn at their pace. This is not just simply an intellectual pace, but also should respect the lifestyle of the learner. Not everyone likes to get up early and read a lengthy article – some like to watch a video instead or listen to a podcast on a run. Others have children and the only time is on the drive back from the school run. We are building Neve in a manner that enables each individual nugget of knowledge to be input into the learners’ brains in the way that suits them.
We are applying the principles of gamification to bring learners back to Neve. Each step on the pathway brings them closer to the version of them that knows what they need to know and will be a challenge for them to overcome.
A long-term goal of Neve is for learners to become lifelong learners.
If you'd like to know more about Joe Triccas you can go to his Linkedin profile by clicking on his name. Find out more about our learning platform here.
Our new learning platform, Neve, is designed to make learning fit for everyone. In our latest 3@3 our Inclusion and Engagement Consultant, Lynn Pilkington, chats to one of the biggest champions of inclusive learning, Pete Trainor.
Pete is an author, designer, technologist, mental health campaigner and innovation and inclusion consultant, and was diagnosed with Dyslexia in his 20s.
Lynn asks Pete about his experience of professional learning and development, how Dyslexia has impacted that, and about the better outcomes that come from zigging when you are meant to zag.
Pete also shares his top tips to make work, learning and development more inclusive for neurodivergent people.
It's an episode full of brilliant insights and lessons and well worth a watch.
You can find out more about Pete on LInkedin - just click on his name. You can learn more about our inclusive learning platform, Neve, here.
Online training is a tough gig.
Ask anyone delivering training since March 2020 about their experiences and you’ll probably see them shiver. There are the haunting memories of the no-shows, the lost links, the dead air and the empty chats.
Gone are the days when you would come back to the office and offload, reflect with peers and de-personalise the situation. We press ‘End for all’ on the meeting and we are left to ruminate on everything that could have gone better.
That said, I’m a natural chatter, performer and creative person, with a decade of experience in inclusion and community. I quickly realised in 2020 this was a recipe for entertaining and engaging online training.
I sometimes thrive delivering online training sessions. I adore the buzz after stimulating online debate and learning and hearing how people have felt energized and informed.
Honing my online delivery style has taken time and a lot of work and reflection. It’s fair to say that I have had a lot of ‘flops’.
Here are my lessons on how not to deliver online learning:
1. Don’t keep the original lesson plan and just ‘do it remotely’.
Online training delivery is a Whole New Thing.
Your timings, activities and energisers need rethinking. Which I know is a lot of work.
Cut down your ‘live time’ by at least half and get creative about what learning outcomes can be done before or after the session.
Avoiding that 4pm-screen-fatigue is worth it.
A guide to remote facilitation and online meetings by Lesson Lab explains what remote facilitation is, why it’s an important skill, and guide you through the process of designing your sessions.
If you are looking for guidance on virtual workshops, I always check in with these best practises.
2. Don’t presume everyone has a home office.
As some who used to live in a one-bedroom-flat with no garden access and some challenging neighbours, I really struggled to engage as a participant in learning during the start of COVID. I literally did not have a safe space to be focused and engaged for a long time.
Everyone has different home circumstances. This cannot be stressed enough.
Allow people to approach you and share anything that you should be aware of as a trainer. Their engagement might be different than you planned, but honouring these experiences is really valuable.
3. Don’t send the link once.
People will lose your link, archive it, join a different session… just generally not be in the room when you need them to be.
Send the link at least three times, including in a calendar invite, and in bold – and try to have someone on hand to send it at the start of the session.
4. Don’t correlate cameras on with being engaged.
This is a hotly debated topic, worth many thought-pieces in itself.
I love seeing people’s faces – their laughter, their quiz answers and their facial responses.
This does not need to be the full experience.
Let people know in advance what sorts of things cameras will be needed for – but this may not be for the duration of your full time together. Videos, reflection activities, reading and self-directed work allow much-needed time away from the demands of live-screen-engagement.
5. Don’t feel the need to learn every online tool.
Learn the ones you like and are comfortable with and stick to them.
I’m guilty of being distracted by the newest and shiniest poll-ing/quizzing/collaboration tool. This often leaves me with many unused free trials that do not help me deliver on the learning outcomes I am meant to be focusing on.
If it works, it works.
(If you are looking for some top online tools, here is an overview of 34 free ones. )
The demands on online trainers have been mighty.
I know it’s a challenge, especially when you need to take care of yourself.
My heart sings when I’m teaching. I’d say most of us love to connect with others and share our knowledge and experience.
It’s rewarding when you get it… I’m not going to say ‘right’. I’ll say, ‘a wee bit better than exhausting’.
I’m still not there yet myself.
Let’s have a ‘training flop amnesty’.
Our learners, and all those involved in the learning community, need to work together to make sure we envision a more energized and engaged world of learning.
Lynn Pilkington is a Engagement and Inclusion Consultant at This is Milk and Neve. You can find her on Linkedin by clicking on her name.
Find out more our new learning platform, Neve, and how we're we're making training more effective and inclusive here.
Update by Morgane Tanguy, UX Designer
One of the things we identified from our user research is that creating training is time-consuming, and even more so when that training is online.
So, right now, the Neve team is working on ways to remove that burden from the trainer.
To do this, we're working on ways to make it easier for trainers to build courses and create content, such as modules and activities, within those courses.
Our current potential solutions include:
We’re also gathering some thoughts around how we can better organise the activities within the modules. And the developers are looking at how we can technically build this.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading, and we’ll be back for another update soon. If you’d like to talk to the team send them a message and find out more about Neve, on our home page.
Morgane Tanguy is a UX Designer at Neve and This is Milk. Tap on her name to go to her Linkedin profile.
By Al Morris
How do you start a blog again, it’s been a while? Perhaps with a joke, or a nice story that helps to set the scene, maybe even to pose a question, or… we can simply just come to a consensus between us both that it’s started and bypass any awkward formalities.
All good? Yup, great.
Today I am here to tell a not so unique story, well it’s unique to me I guess but probably much like many other people out there. Ok, deep breath….
“I hate Training”
There I said it, feels good to get it out there. “Education”, oh another word that strikes fear deep in my soul. Want to hear another, “Curriculum”, oh the chills.
What a strange opinion of somebody who spends 90% of his working life talking about training. You’d think I must be miserable, but you would be surprised. I am kind of like the pupil who hates school then grows up to be a teacher. It’s one thing taking part in training, and another living it. Here is why.
How I learn
For somebody, that has from day dot hated education and training I sure know how to do a lot of things. This is for one very simple reason…. I learn as I go. Throw me in front of a broken car, and say fix it, I will become giddy with excitement from the unknown future that stands before me. Organise a 1-day book based, theory based, discussion-based training session and I would sell my right arm to not go.
Here's a list of throw me in at the deep end feats that I have learned the most from, in no particular order:
I am sure there are many more, but as I said at the beginning, let’s get to the point, eh?
My point is, I am on the most part of it a total and utter wuss. If you give me a chance to run away from things that scare me I would. I know this and have developed the only coping mechanism that works for me to achieve anything in life which is to say YES to everything.
Can you stay late tonight and work? Yes
Can you write a blog post for us? Yes (here you go)
Can you win that job, with that client you know nothing about, in 5 minutes? Yes
You get the idea.
The benefits & pitfalls
Over my 37 years in life, this has taught me a lot. Mostly that you can do and achieve anything you focus your mind on, but also that you learn a ridiculous amount of things if you can cope with the stress.
I am also very aware that you need to be ok with imperfection, and ready to fail. It is through the failures that you learn the most.
I have become incredibly resilient to change, open to new and wonderful ideas and can often see hidden connections between people, abilities and solutions that many others cannot.
You see, there is nobody on this entire planet who has failed to learn anything. As humans we are physically and mentally incapable of it. My negative thoughts on the stereotypical education are not mine alone, and can be one of the most overbearing reasons why people do not progress in their careers, do not strive for growth and do not believe training is worth it. The honest truth is if you are like me, then the education as we know it is not worth it. It will do nothing but further demoralise your desire to improve and add to the existing negativity around training.
Al & Neve
I remember that just over 1 year ago, Angela Kate and Myself were on a Zoom call discussing the future of Education. CivTech had just announced their 5th round of challenges, and we embarked on solving the solution of re-imagining immersive digital learning. One of the main things we knew is that we were all different, we all learn best in different ways and what works for one will not work for all.
The training/learning platforms we all know are great for some but not others. This is the understood, this is the expected, this is the current good enough. When there is plenty of choice, then why do we all need to use the same one. You use that one over there, I will use this one and all’s good, right?
Well in some ways yes, in many other ways no.
We talk often about working in cross functional teams, the huge benefit that comes from working with diversity of thought.
Well what are the effects of that in an educational setting? What happens when our training platforms naturally categorise and file people into pots based on how users like to learn. We once again find ourselves surrounded in the familiar.
Neve means something different for everybody, and so it should. For me it means ‘training unique to you as you are unique’, and providing an accessible space in which diversity of thought and diversity of experiences can co-exist together. That is my aim, and I will fight for the right to learn uniquely by promoting individuality and supporting alternative forms of education to co-exist.
An example thought to leave you on
What room would you rather be in?
What do you get when you put the world’s leading car designers in a room together and tell them to make something?
Probably the next biggest thing in car design, I guess.
What do you get if you take one of those designers, alongside a chef, a singer, a postie, data entry clerk, shop worker, a surgeon, 3 children, a gran and Mrs Smith my primary 6 teacher? All at different ages, with different levels of ability and different opinions and agendas.
I have no idea to be honest, haha, but it sounds way more exciting, challenging and interesting to me.
Written by Al Morris, Digital Transformation Lead at This is Milk.
To talk to us about how Neve can turn your training into an experience that even Al would enjoy, send us a message and we'll be in touch.
Interested in investing in Neve, find out more and register here.
As part of the research for our new learning platform, Neve, we recently ran user interviews and testing with people who have ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). We asked the group about their negative and positive learning experiences to help us understand what makes learning easier or more difficult for them.
Here's what we learned.
Instructions need to be concise and straightforward.
"If I don't know how many tasks there are going to be and how long they're going take, I might find it stressful."
Some people with ADHD struggle with planning and organising. Be clear about what is expected, how long it will take, the number of tasks involved, and the materials that will be used. This allows the person to focus on the activity itself without having to put extra effort into understanding how the activity works.
Paying attention can sometimes be challenging.
"I get distracted fairly regularly... I could literally have something on in front of me, but my mind would be a million miles away.”
Many people with ADHD struggle to focus for a long period of time. They would rather learn at their own pace with plenty of time for breaks.
It helps to present material in different formats.
"I like the transcription alongside the video. I find I can retain more when I can read the script and watch the video.”
Pure text-based learning can be difficult for people with ADHD. Offering the same material in multiple formats such as video, audio, text, and through an activity, allows individuals to choose the options that best fit their way of learning. Repetition of the material also helps people better retain what they have learned.
If you'd like to know more about our new learning platform, Neve, please just send us an email and we'll arrange a time to have a chat. You can also sign up for our newsletter.