Back to Skool

But this time I want, and I’m willing, to learn.

It is fair to say I didn’t do well at school. I didn’t enjoy the formal learning environment or the chosen teaching style. I didn’t enjoy being in a fixed place, looking in the same direction, at the back of the same kids head, half-listening to some dude chunter on about long division or something. When will I, or have I, use that anyway? Never, that’s when.

Why are some fixed on a particular way of teaching? Why are others drawn to a particular way of learning? Is it a preference or something else?


I have preferences. Hear me out before the “no evidence for that” type comments. I am self-aware enough to recognise that there are many different ways I like to learn as there are many different ways that I like to impart my knowledge to help others. Do I need evidence for that? No.

I know what I like, how I like and when I like. There isn’t A single thing.

I also know what I don’t like and how I don’t like to learn. I still learn though. It’s important to stretch my thinking, my learning, to take myself out of my comfort zone and feel uncomfortable. That’s good learning in itself.

Let me offer some context.


The old skool, traditional, way of learning didn’t work for me. Fixed time, fixed location, same person with their fixed views telling me how I should learn something. It is amazing how different we are taught and how this can impact in later life. Hubby and I have long debates on this subject. He was taught in a fundamentally different way to me. He also absorbs information very differently to me. We still learned the same core stuff though.

What works for me? Well, it depends what day it is. What mood I’m in. What space I’m in. Whether I am looking for a solution to something or simply want to challenge my own thinking. I learn so much from Twitter. It is definitely my favoured space, with some of the most brilliant people to learn from.


I now have a bit of a routine going where, at specific times of the week, I will definitely learn something new.

Monday morning, first thing: Blog central at 7am. Reflections and thoughts, from people I respect and some I don’t yet know, who have digested stuff they learned the previous week, or over the weekend, and I have my morning commute learning sorted.

Tuesday evening: 8pm-9pm is #LDNights, facilitated by @LnDConnect. I love this. Learning with a cheeky Gin in hand. It’s allowed, you know.

Thursday evening: 8pm-9pm is #HRHour. The HR Hour is a lively, weekly twitter chat about all things HR moderated by .

Friday morning: 8am-9am is #LDInsight. This is where my regular Twitter learning started. Facilitated by @LnDConnect, a community of learning professionals, come together to grow the capabilities, thinking & development of the profession.

Saturday: I look forward to my lie in and I wake to a brew and @MJCarty‘s weekend blog. It is a delight and always offers varied themes, an important message and helps me to start the day in a real positive way.

Sunday: At the moment, Sunday learning for me is about participating in a MOOC. Foundations of the Social Age by @JulianStodd – I should have finished 3 weeks ago but life has been busy, busy and I have consciously given me back my Sunday for family, QT and, well, me.

On every other day, I am open to new stuff but learning a new thing may not be so obvious. I may not even be seeking to learn something new, but I might do.

Thanks to Krystyna Gadd, I am grateful to be part of the awesome Twitter Group Creativity Flash Mob – I learn so very much from this group. It’s OK to absorb and learn from others and it’s equally brilliant to dive in and get involved. There’s no pressure though. I like that.

I’ve also got some formal stuff planned in this year in order to support my continual professional development and I am undertaking my next level in Exec Coaching. Back to Skool for me. *Gulp*.

Before then, I have the great honour of attending my first CIPD L&D Show. On 10th and 11th May, at Olympia London, I will be simultaneously learning and sharing all of the awesome stuff going on. I am very proud to be part of this year’s Blogsquad. No pressure, eh!


The Exhibition at CIPD L&D Show is FREE. Register here and come down to meet awesome suppliers, bag some swag and connect with your fellow L&Der’s.

There’s more. I know, how can that be? I am like a kid in a sweet shop when looking at the conference programme:

  • 8 Masterclasses – hear the latest from high-profile L&D authors and thought-leaders
  • 8 Case Studies – hear how other organisations are responding to the same same challenges you face
  • 8 ‘How to’ Sessions – new to 2017 – develop the latest skills you need to succeed in your role
  • 4 ‘Interactive’ Sessions – new for 2017 – learn collaboratively with and from your peers
  • 2 Workshops – delve deeper into key issues and L&D strategies

The Learning and Development Show is the place to find out about the latest developments and thinking in L&D. I will hear from inspiring speakers, innovative practitioners and expert suppliers and learn the knowledge and skills I need to put learning at the heart of my organisation.

Here is a taster of what happened last year. The best bits!

Every day’s a skool day for me. Every day I will learn something. I may not always like the manner in which I’ve learned but it is up to me to absorb, digest and reflect how I can best apply what I’ve learned to my life. Yes, life.

What I learn isn’t always specifically related to my working life. There have been many things I have learned that have helped me, some massively, with life in general; Gober’s circles of control and influence and black-red continuum, amongst others, Covey, many leadership models (@fuchsia_blue wrote an awesome blog on this), Sarah Knight’s epic book “The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck” and Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why“. These are just a few things I’ve learned which have had, *DQ drum-roll*, a life-changing effect on me. Truly.

So what have I learned writing this blog? It’s cool to learn, it’s good to learn differently to others, it’s even better to be taught or shown in a way that resonates with you personally; through stories, through emotion, through connectedness (it’s definitely a word) through differing mediums. It’s great to be uncomfortable learning, to have my thoughts challenged, to have my opinions questioned and debated. It helps me build a wider picture and develop different perspectives. That’s a brilliant thing.

Learning? I love it.


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Widow, Cats, Family, People Stuff, Exec Coach, Food Nerd, Gin Queen.

5 thoughts on “Back to Skool

    1. Thanks Garry. I’ve just re-read my post and there are so many things I didn’t include like un-conferences, street wisdom, learn>connect>do, #LnDCoWork, Volunteering. Perhaps another blog is starting to take shape.

      1. I get it, I have had my blog ready to go for 2 weeks, but have not quite got it where I want it, but it is fascinating to see we all have our own take on things, but are deeply passionate around continuous improvement through learning. Really positive to see.

  1. Fantastic and inspirational as always! And I can associate with this too. I only started CIPD level 5 few weeks ago and I am so exited about learning new things and every day. If I can make it I might see you at the show. Keep up the great work!

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