Podcasting Down Under: Learning Uncut

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Written by Jon Kennard on 8 June 2018

Hi TJers - Jon here. My co-host Jo got talking to Michelle Ockers, learning strategist and now podcast co-host herself, about her new venture Learning Uncut. So read on, because all you aussie L&D people should get listening to this...


Do you ever wonder what other L&D professionals are doing behind closed doors? What problems or challenges are they working on? What solutions are they creating? What are they experimenting with? How are they doing it? What’s working well? What they’d do differently next time?

Wonder no more! Learning Uncut will answer these questions for you.

Learning Uncut is a new fortnightly podcast that launches on 12 June 2018. Aussie podcast hosts, Karen Moloney and Michelle Ockers, will talk about real learning solutions with the people who made them work. 

A couple of years ago Karen investigated starting a podcast and recorded some chats with people in her network. Her idea was to showcase some of the great work that people are doing Down Under. Across Australia and New Zealand there are L&D professionals looking for new ideas and new ways of doing things. 

While there are blogs and white papers telling us what we should be doing, there is a gap in information on how to actually do things – Karen wants to fill the ‘how-to’ gap. Although she didn’t get the podcast off the ground, the idea never really went away. At the same time Michelle had been drawn to creating a similar podcast, although her interest was more strategic. 

Podcasts are a very versatile medium. They can be readily accessed from anywhere with an internet connection or downloaded to a device and listened to offline. 

Local L&D leaders are generally aware of the benefits of aligning organisational learning to business strategy and are seeking ways to partner with business leaders, work more effectively with stakeholders, manage change, and demonstrate value. 

Many are seeking to modernise or transform the overall approach to learning in their organisation and want to find out how others are undertaking this long-term goal.

People are interested in finding out what others are doing and how they are doing it. There are very few opportunities to do that, especially with a focus on the local region. In some cities there are active meetup groups that help to satisfy this curiosity. However, even in locations where they are held, meetups are not accessible to everyone. 

Similarly, many people can’t attend conferences and there are limited slots on conference agendas for case studies to be presented. Local award ceremonies help identify some of the strong initiatives, however provide limited insight into the award-winning solutions. 

On top of this, what we see at conferences and ceremonies is the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of high quality learning solutions that remain hidden from public view that no-one ever hears about or has the opportunity to learn from. Learning Uncut will showcase a wide range of real learning solutions in a way that is accessible to everyone who is interested in them.

Karen and Michelle both listen to a lot of podcasts as part of their ongoing professional development. Podcasts are a very versatile medium. They can be readily accessed from anywhere with an internet connection or downloaded to a device and listened to offline. 

Anyone can listen to a podcast at any time - they are a particularly good way to engage your brain during mundane activities such as commuting, household chores or walking. You can jot down points and ideas as you listen or refer to the show notes for information. Podcasts are an easy, effective way to reach a lot of people.

As drawn as they were to the idea of creating a podcast, both Karen and Michelle were concerned about the effort required to do this on their own. 

It was fortuitous that they stumbled across this common interest at an event in late 2017, particularly as Karen had already discovered that Amanda Ashby was keen to technically produce a podcast without being in front of a mic. The calling was too strong to resist and the three teamed up to start Learning Uncut.

The team started recording episodes in April and have been delighted with the strong interest of people invited to be guests. 

Topics discussed in early episodes include skills for life, user-generated content, distributed authoring, podcasting to build empathy and shift behaviour, gamification and improvisation, rethinking workforce digital capability, building and sustaining a capability framework, and adopting agile work practices. 

Guests have been generous in talking about how they’ve done things, lessons learnt, and providing tips for others to get started.  Show notes include a full transcript of the conversation along with tools and resources mentioned by guests. There are practical takeaways with each episode.

In addition to helping people create great learning and business impact, the podcast aspires to help listeners to build their professional network and learn from each other. Guest contact details are provided, and an ongoing conversation will take place on both LinkedIn and Twitter at #LearningUncut.

Listeners should be prepared to have their comfort zones stretched and assumptions about what it takes to enable great learning challenged. Adopting new approaches can be simpler than you think, while also requiring long-term vision and persistence to sustain and embed new ways of learning and working. 

If you are working on anything in Australia or New Zealand that you think is share-worthy or you know of anybody that that would be interested in coming and chatting please do get in touch by emailing learninguncut@gmail.com or on Twitter or LinkedIn using #LearningUncut.


About the (guest) author

Michelle Ockers is an organisational learning strategist.



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