2017: TJ’s most popular pieces

Jon Kennard reflects on his first few months at TJ and lists the most popular pieces of writing across the site in 2017.

Well it’s been quite some year. I started my TJ career in mid-February and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being back in L&D. I’m excited for where we can go with TJ next year.

It’s been great to get back on the circuit of events, from Learning Live to OEB and others, and to focus briefly on the latter’s theme of Learning Uncertainty, I feel like I hit on something in a final day discussion: this year has felt more uncertain than others because institutions, platforms and ideologies that we have taken for granted as being stable have been broken.

Social networks like Twitter and Facebook have had their challenges around ‘fake news’ and freedom of speech, and election results have proven that even our hallowed ‘democracy’ can fall prey to subterfuge. And while this isn’t really L&D related, I think you can feel the uncertainty resonate through industries and their training departments.

Is 2018 the time to turn that uncertainty into opportunity – to shape the future and make a difference with our work?

Right, now the heavy stuff is over, here are the most read pieces on site in 2017. See if you can pull out some themes.

Learning & development: Across the generations

Magazine regulars Steve Macaulay and Sarah Cook proved that there’s still plenty of credence and mileage in the idea of generational differences around working processes, with this opinion piece that was the most read of 2017.

From the conclusion: Be aware of the diversity of different generational perspectives, what this consists of, and actively work to understand how different age groups present their preferences and outlook.

Is Maslow’s hierarchy of needs still relevant in the 21st century?

As part of the TJ podcast, the L&D on trial section has proved popular and fun to record too. The basic idea is to scrutinise some of the older or more fringe theories of L&D, to see if they’re still relevant and can withstand any scientific rigour. Jo’s piece is very well balanced and without endorsing the theory, shows that it paved the way for better more accurate research in later decades.

Jo says: “By all means use Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in your work, but make sure you do so with a pinch of scientific salt and some balance.”

Virtual coaching – is this the future for business coaching?

A controversial idea for some: Can you coach effectively without the face-to-face component? Pearn Kandola’s Louise Weston sets out to prove you can in our third most popular read this year. Have a look for yourself and see what you think.

Louise’s prediction: “The idea that business coaching sessions, much like sessions with a personal trainer, are exclusive or prestigious is an idea that we’ll see eroded as we move forwards.” 

A look at the future of the UK’s Telecoms in 2017

Bleaker assessments now, as Dave Millett is none too happy with the how the UK’s tech adoption is shaping up. “The UK is in the slow lane when it comes to technology and the short term prospects are not encouraging” was his final thought on where we were going into 2017, and how much has really change since January? Nevertheless, this stat-heavy feature resonated with our members and is the fourth most read piece of the year. 

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Five tips for being a better mentor

If you’re not mentoring, you should be, and if you don’t have one, ask for one. People are willing to help you, you just have to find them. This listicle (list-article) gives you some quick tips and insight into how to be a better mentor, or pointers if you’re about to start. As our contributor Laura Francis says: “Mentors should act as a sounding board and guide for their mentees, but should also push their mentees to find their own answers. It can require a delicate balance of listening, sharing, brainstorming, commiserating, encouraging, and more.”

Five ways that psychology can enhance L&D

OnTrack’s Ben White gives us some occupational psychology tips insight to bring to the L&D table.

Key line: “With a greater understanding of occupational psychology, you’ll start to appreciate the benefits of working with partners who offer these skills. Ultimately, you’ll be better placed to demonstrate the real value of learning in your organisation”.

Does your inbox do strategy?

Email – the scourge of business life. But also very helpful if you use it properly. Todd Brown gives us some practical ways to get on top of the email inbox.

As Todd says: “Over-focusing on email usually means that the tactical trumps the strategic; that the urgent blinds us to the important.

Social learning: A retail case study

We don’t share many case studies but this one was too important to miss. Webanywhere’s Conor Gilligan finds out how Asda manage all the changing learning trends.

From his case study: “We have a choice: either we embrace the opportunities technology gives us and find new ways to connect with our colleagues, or we get left behind and we fail to enable the skills our colleagues need to deliver for their customers. Time to join the digital revolution.” – Nina Delgaty, Academy Manager, Asda

Curiosity: The engine of innovation

A word we’ve been hearing more and more often in 2017 – curiosity. Behavioural skills and wellbeing expert Liggy Webb breaks down the benefits of being curious.

In any business context it is important that people keep exploring new ways of doing things so that they can keep ahead of the game. Refreshing the way we do things helps us to be more agile and work smarter by letting go of irrelevant habits.

How to create effective learning transfer?

Deputy ed Jo Cook looks at the work of learning transfer specialist Emma Weber.

From the interview: “What percentage of people are having conversations with managers when they return from programmes? 20 per cent if we are lucky? It depends on the learning maturity of the organisation, and of managers. We’ve been trying to solve the problem of learning transfer with managers for the last fifteen years, with little traction! So let’s think about this differently.


About the author

Jon Kennard is editor of TJ.


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