Making a learner-centred culture a reality in the modern workplace.

by Richard Dando


Making a learner-centred culture a reality in the modern workplace.

~ Learning Technologies 2018 ~

FEBRUARY 7th 2018· by Richard Dando

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It is possible to empower learners to take control of their learning without compromising or undermining the organisation's L&D agenda.

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Think outside the 'LMS box'

The new culture of anytime, anywhere learning is undoubtedly causing organisations to think outside the ‘LMS box’ and do things differently and do different things. At last week's Learning Technologies event at London Olympia, we had conversation after conversation with a host of L&D professionals about how organisations can empower learners to take control of their learning without compromising or undermining the organisation's L&D agenda. For us, here at PebblePad, the ultimate reward of a learner-centred culture is creating independent, self-regulated learners who can act autonomously but who can still be guided and supported by the organisation, and bring elements of their independent learning to the fore in support of things like appraisal, performance review, compliance training, CPD, and talent management.

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It's clear that many organisations are still grappling with how to support employee-led, experiential learning. Not least because a learner-centred culture presents significant challenges to the traditional LMS which tends to focus on content and courses rather than learners and learning.

Shane Sutherland, Chief Mischief Maker at PebblePad.

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Making learner-led development a reality

Whilst most people nod enthusiastically whenever we talk about learner-led development being a realistic ambition, we know that the approving nods often mask underlying doubt about whether this is genuinely achievable in a typical organisation with diverse L&D requirements. At Learning Technologies we were asked by delegates who bought into our ethos (of which there were many) to explain how a learner-centred culture would work out there in the real world.

Since we were out and about in the real world, we used the example of an employee attending the Learning Technologies event to explain how a learner-centred approach could work in our world. In PebblePad's Portfolio and Personal Learning Platform, the employee could record their attendance at the event as CPD hours in their ongoing CPD activity log, the insightful seminar they attended could form a reflective entry in their learning journal, plus a related task in their personal development action plan. The video snippet of the keynote could be uploaded via the PebblePad app and tagged as a CPD resource and the conversation with the keynote speaker recorded using the in-built experience template in the app.

Image shows a Learner's Asset Store in PebblePad

A view of a learner's Asset Store in PebblePad


All of these elements of evidence, reflection and planning would be stored securely and privately in the learner's personal asset store in PebblePad, and any of these 'learning assets' could be shared informally with a mentor, peer or manager for review and discussion or even shared with collaborate permissions.

Image shows a portfolio being created in PebblePad

A learner's assets can easily be added to freeform 'showcase portfolios'


Any of the elements could also be added by the learner to a customised performance review template or a bespoke development workbook made available to the learner in their PebblePad personal learning space by their organisation. For us, a process like this doesn't constrain or confine the learner, rather it allows them to record any and every learning experience and call upon the 'good stuff' and bring it together when needed in support of the likes of appraisal, accreditation or career advancement. But this approach not only offers significant benefits to the learner - it also removes a huge organisational and L&D headache by allowing the learner to plan for and capture their own learning, whilst still allowing the organisation to guide and scaffold these processes, and prompt, intervene and feedback whenever necessary.

Image shows a PebblePad Workbook

Assets can easily be added to bespoke PebblePad workbooks and templates

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PebblePad puts an individual's personal learning space firmly at the hub of organisational learning yet it also helps to ensure that learning is integrated from beyond the workplace.  

Jane Hart, Founder of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies 

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Download your free guide on how to develop a learner-centred culture

PebblePad as a technology supports the myriad ways users learn - online, offline, anytime, anywhere, through interactions with peers and day-to-day experiences. In our free download, which is supported by ideas and recommendations from Jane Hart, Founder of the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies, we offer up our ideas for what your technology armoury must have if it’s to fully support the development of a learner-centred culture. 

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Richard is PebblePad's Head of Brand & Communications and joined Team PebblePad as a consultant in 2012 after working in a range of L&D roles in the charity and technology sector. On any given day you're likely to find Richard with a sketch pad and more coloured pens than you can wave a stick at, leading on all things creative and strategic on the communications and brand front. Richard is super passionate about all things PebblePad, and spreading the word about PebblePad and the amazing things it can do really has become his technology baby. Outside of work, he’s the proud dad of two happy, human children.