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More for less - is it really possible?

London, UKLearning NewsCharity Learning Consortium

More for less is the L&D mantra of our times, but is it really possible asks Clive Shepherd, in the latest Charity Learning Consortium eNewsletter - and if so, how do L&D professionals go about achieving it?

Learning and development (L&D) departments are struggling to meet the call from senior management to deliver 'more for less' says Clive Shepherd, chairman of the first Charity Learning Conference and Awards held in 2011.

But what, he wonders, in his latest article for The Charity Learning Consortium eNewsletter, does 'more for less' actually mean? Does it mean more learning? More learners? And less time spent on L&D - or less investment?

He believes that 'more for less' can mean all of these - and that all of them are possible "assuming we work a little smarter," he advises. Intelligently designed blended learning is crucial, he says, along with a shift in thinking, from 'courses' to 'resources'.

When it comes to 'more learners', you simply won't achieve this through face-to-face learning alone, says Clive - in practical terms, no-one has the trainers, the facilities, the time or the money to do this: "We have to look to new approaches that allow learning content to be distributed more flexibly, to many more people.

"To reach more learners we need not only great content but a realisation that every learner is also potentially a teacher: No-one knows everything but everyone knows something....In the organisation of the future everyone is a teacher as well as a learner."

When it comes to the 'less' side of the equation, you can save time, he advises, by:

•Not over-engineering courses, by keeping them short and simple and concentrating on key principles and core skills;
•Selectively providing courses on a self-study basis - you can generally reckon to halve the time you would otherwise have spent in a classroom;
•Keeping your live group sessions shorter (which also aids effectiveness) and, where possible, conducting them online instead of face-to-face.

Just about all these techniques will also result in lower costs because, as Clive points out, time is also money.

You can read the full article on The Charity Learning Consortium website news page - or sign up via the website to receive our free eNewsletter.

About Clive Shepherd
Clive Shepherd was the chairman at the first Charity Learning Conference and Awards 2011, where he was interviewed about new 'lean' ways of working in learning and development. The video is also available to view on The Charity Learning Consortium website.