A year of learning

Participants at a Digital Action Plan workshop. Photo: Francis Clarke

Participants at a Digital Action Plan workshop. Photo: Francis Clarke

If 2014 was about first steps for the Digital Action Plan program, then 2015 has been a hop, skip and a jump. I think we have learned a lot, and still have a long way to go, to understand what exactly motivates and helps people to develop their digital skills.

  • 204 people have taken on a personalised Digital Action Plan.
  • That’s 12 separate cohorts of people, from 6 organisations.
  • We’ve written, updated and edited 269 different pieces of content to help participants get to grips with new tools and ideas.
  • Taking an average of time spent per participant, I think we’ve spent in the region of 410 hours in coaching and 121 support…
  • …in addition to running 14 different workshops, in Leeds, Sheffield and London. The best bit about these, apart from the energy that people have brought, has been the venues we have found: a cinema, the ODI node in Leeds and even a Church.

Key learning points from 2015:

  1. We can help people who are even just a little bit curious, keen, or ambitious. We can’t help people who simply don’t want to learn, or have other concerns on their mind
  2. The program can work for non-communicators. Until earlier this year, we hadn’t tested this approach with a complete cohort of non-communicators – people who might be able to get away with delegating digital to other teams, for at least a few years more. 2015 cohorts have included senior leadership teams, policy makers and project managers.
  3. The more senior the participant, the more practical their needs.
  4. Keeping on top of content about changes to apps and web-based tools is a greater challenge than we anticipated (but we’re fixing that).
  5. Feedback from participants is what fuels us: keeps us happy, feeling rewarded. And what people tell us, about the platform, their learning experiences and needs, is constantly fascinating.

Plans for 2016

In 2016 I’m looking forward to running more cohorts in the private sector – we’re starting a cohort of staff working in a professional body, in January.

In terms of the business model, we need to get the balance right between helping people find motivation to read and explore for themselves, and providing 121 support where it’s needed. The emphasis will always be on doing, not talking.

And, of course, we need to keep gathering feedback and updating and improving our offer, so this time next year the whole project will have moved forward again.

Follow me on Twitter @timolloyd