Although we read incessantly that social networks and anytime media are bringing sharing to the top of the agenda and people closer together, our experience doesn’t always chime in tune with the assertion. So it was interesting that three people here at ASK independently stumbled upon an article by Alexander Fliaster at People Management last week, and were interested enough to present each other printouts of it as ‘something I wondered if you’d seen’. (And yes, we do know we could email each other: I think we hit the print button and used some shoe leather as we were genuinely interested rather than wanting to pay it the digital passing glance of a ‘Like’ button or its ilk– an aspect of social media that Evgeny Morozov commented on in The Net Delusion, reviewed here recently.)

It probably also says a lot that we all recognised each other as people who would – as individuals – be particularly interested in the article, and in Fliaster’s comments. We’re not a project team, and there’s no pressing current project that is focused primarily on creativity: but we do have a culture that means we chat openly and widely, and understand what each other might be particularly interested in (or are curious about what a particular person’s reaction to something might be).

Our reaction to the article proved, in one way, part of its author’s point that:

The real engine of creativity and organisational success is to be found in internal networks of friendship and collaboration.”

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In early December last year, a member of the Training Zone website posted a query about measuring success that addressed one of the eternal issues of training and development – impact on business performance.

I am looking to try and find the best way to evaluate the success of my training sessions – by success I mean the affect it is having on the performance of those being trained.

The training I deliver is usually on fairly technical topics based in legal and medical areas – there is a lot of theory to cover but also how to apply that theory to real life, I suppose what I am trying to get at is that its not really procedural type training.”

Already testing learners two weeks and three months after the training, and getting informal managers’ feedback, the TrainingZone community provided tips and advice in a follow-up article, Measuring Success, last week. But it struck us there were some hints and tips missing. So, if we may so bold …

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As a company committed to enhancing and improving the transfer and application of learning, we continue to explore this vital topic not just through our working practice, but through academic research. My colleague, Robert Terry, has recently compiled A Brief History of Research into Learning Transfer which you can download as a PDF file.

At we enter 2010, our hope is that research is supporting our assertion that the purpose of learning and development is not simply to create more skilled or knowledgeable individuals, but to translate good learning into great workplace performance.  This posting in our blog highlights some of the main findings of our review, and flags some of the issues that continue to vex L&D and HR professionals and budget holders (and learners and suppliers) as they seek to enable learning and development to fulfil its true promise.

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[To read our other recent book reviews, including Alain de Botton’s The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work, Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman, and Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, just click here.]

So, my first ever book review.  Michael Heppell’s smooth-covered, cerulean blue paperback was handed to me, with the accompanying task of conveying something meaningful about it. Which, I’ll admit, presented me with a concern:  could I give it a meaningful review?  It wasn’t as though I had identified a pressing need that this book promised to fulfil.  So could I make its intent applicable to me and my life, now?

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