One team, one dream: better ways of learning

When skills development is mandated by senior management, or rolled out to large groups of staff, you can almost feel people withdraw.

“The day job doesn’t allow time for corporate initiatives.” “It’ll be replaced by something else next month.” “So-and-so in the other office is way ahead on this, we’ll never catch up.”

We love a challenge, but the opening days of a skills development project can feel almost like an unwelcome sales pitch. We’re there to convince people that this thing they’ve been told to do is really useful and beneficial to them – understanding GDPR, improving their digital comms or managing emergencies.

In an ideal world, people would learn organically, from each other, their network, peers and so on. We all know that geography, different objectives or general lack of communication means this rarely happens.

Learning should be something that people own and run with, rather than have done to them. We’ve developed a few different ways to create ‘communities of practice’ – people with similar needs and challenges in the same organisation, learning together.

Hands-on projects

Regularly practicing realistic crisis simulation in teams, or asking channel owners to pilot a different type of content and share the results.

Working out loud

We’ve asked people to blog about their challenges, in order to complete sections of their (mandated) Digital Action Plan. Not a comfortable experience for the blogger, but a really valuable way to share and draw on experience from colleagues.

Chat groups

We can’t pretend to know everything that’s going on in large teams. But, we can help stimulate conversations among teams who don’t often get to talk.

Informal Whatsapp groups have proven to be busy places where colleagues can get in contact with each other, promote their work and get feedback. There’s no logging in to special forums or intranets and very few rules. Just a simple conversation space for colleagues, with a little careful facilitation.

It’s been amazing to see the opportunities that have surfaced in these posts.

Next time you are planning skills development, talk to your colleagues about simple ways you can learn together using upcoming projects and simple tools like Whatsapp.

Find out more about our digital capability offer:

People gathered around laptops

Keeping safe online for #SaferInternetDay

We’ve been really pleased to see the huge reaction on Twitter to #SaferInternetDay 2019. In its 16th year, it’s all about working together for a better internet with advice and tools for keeping us safe online.

Here we’ve rounded up some of the best advice and tools from the day in to a handy list.

Twelve ways to spot a bot

A bot is simply an account run by a piece of software. Bots can be used to make a hashtag trend, but also to harass other users. Bots may be talking to you so they can send you private messages with spam or phishing attempts. While not always malicious, bots can be hard to spot. This post from Medium contains 12 top tips on how to avoid fake social media accounts.

Botometer bot checker

Botometer (formerly BotOrNot) checks the activity of a Twitter account and gives it a score based on how likely the account is to be a bot. The higher the score, the more likely the profile is a bot. The tool can also predict how many followers of a profile has are likely to be bots so you can make a more informed decision on whether the people you are talking to are real.

How to set up 2 factor authentication 

Cyber attacks are becoming commonplace but there are simple steps you can take to keep your personal information more safe. We recommend using two factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible, and ensuring your children are too. A simple example of 2FA is sending a one-time security code by text to a phone number associated with the account as an extra step of security before you can log in. Two Factor Auth (2FA) has a list of common websites with guidance on setting up 2FA.

How to turn on parental controls

The NSPCC has lots of great guidance on staying safe online. This article explains how to turn on parental controls on phones, computers, gaming consoles and more. Parental controls are there to help stop children and teens from viewing adult material or downloading inappropriate content (such as apps they are too young for). You can even set what time of day your child can go online and how long for.

Making your social media accounts as private as possible

When your social media accounts are locked-down people can’t see your pictures or posts without your permission. This is extra important for children and teens. Gizmodo has advice on how to put your social accounts in to private mode, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Guidance from popular social media channels

Reporting abuse on Facebook

Instagram’s advice for parents

Twitter’s safety and security advice

Snapchat’s guidance for parents

Whatsapp safety tips

YouTube safety tools

More social media safety guides from UK Safer Internet Centre.