The other day I noticed an icon in the top right-hand corner of my #LinkedIn page, labelled ‘Learning’ (LinkedIn Learning has actually existed for a year, but I had not noticed the icon before). It opens up a whole new world of learning content. Largely from the US, but presumably it will diversify over time.

I shall watch with interest, but seeing this got me thinking about a conversation I had a couple of months ago regarding the son of a friend of mine. The son had just assumed his first managerial responsibilities in a professional services firm, and had been telling his dad that he was about to carry out his annual appraisals for the team he now managed.

‘How do you know how to conduct an appraisal?’ asked Dad. ‘Easy’ said Son, ‘I watched a few videos on YouTube’.

Hitherto, my main use of YouTube was to watch music videos (Bruce Springsteen playing New York City Serenade live in Rome is one of my personal favourites), but the availability of digital learning content is now vast, and you really can learn about appraisal on YouTube.

You could do worse than learning from Ricky Gervais about how not to do it, but there are others!

So, the world of learning is changing, opening up the possibility of learning at any time of day, ‘just in time’ rather than having to wait to attend a course, and in bite size chunks that suit our modern life styles (not to mention, concentration spans).

OK, so YouTube (take a look at the Academy for Chief Executives’ feed) would be up there in my top 5, but what else would be included?

  1. Google ‘on line learning resources’, and you will get loads of ideas, but few lists would not include TED. Its format of providing 18-minute talks attracts millions of hits. There’s something for everyone. Start with ’11 must-see TED Talks, or, on business see Dan Pink on motivation, before you make your decisions about next year’s bonus scheme.

TED is fine for raising awareness and encouraging alternative thinking, but what if you are looking for skills, or even a course that leads to a qualification?

  1. Have you heard of MOOCS (massive open online courses)? Iversity has a lot of European (it’s a German company) content, much of it contributed by universities.  Some of the courses are quite substantial, but learning is self-paced. Many large companies use this resource, including L’Oreal, Hermes and DB.

It’s a bit academic, quite strong on politics, marketing and public-sector issues, and unlike YouTube or TED, it’s not for the casual browser!

The range is huge, so site navigation can be a challenge, but worth it when you get there. Probably the nearest thing to attending a course on line.

edX is a similar site with courses from many top US universities including Harvard.

  1. Whilst much of the content on MOOCS is free, The Great Courses has a vast range of paid for content. Its business section includes titles such as Critical Business Skills for Success, The Entrepreneurs Toolkit, and lots of stuff on finance and economics.

Life’s not all about work, and this site has courses on Tai Chi, photography, playing the guitar, mindfulness, cooking etc.

Sometimes you will simply be buying a ‘talking head’ video, and depending on your preferred learning style, it may just be better to buy a book!

  1. I started with LinkedIN, and I will finish there.

I used to think that LinkedIN Groups were a great place to learn, but various changes in how they are managed, now means that a lot of the content is simply advertising.  LinkedIn are filling the gap with LinkedIn Learning and are clearly intent on monetising it.

They bought, a subscription based service which boasts more than 1200 business courses, and is probably the source of much of the content that now appears on the ‘Learning’ icon that I mentioned at the top of the blog.

Inevitably, I will have missed some favourites, and I’d love to hear about them.

There is, for instance, iTunesU, which many of you will have on your phone or tablet (a bit education orientated, but still a good resource), and what about Videojug (strong on lifestyle items such as How to Cut Avocados Properly, but not a whiff of business content).

Whether it’s putting your daily commute to good use, gaining a diploma, or improving your time management, there’s loads of digital learning opportunities waiting out there, both for you, and your colleagues.

Now, don’t get me wrong (attending courses still has its place) but the next time you, or someone you work with, wants to attend a course, why not look at the on-line alternatives.

It’s tomorrow’s world!


Ken Allison | 19 September 2017 | Paradigm Partners |

Ken Allison is an engaging trainer and speaker who manages to make his topics, on handling employment law related people issues and other HR stuff, highly interactive, challenging, entertaining, and above all, relevant to the 21st Century executive. Ken uses his understanding of managing businesses to show managers what they ‘can do’ rather than what they ‘cannot do’.

Through his firm’s ExecutiveHR service, Ken also provides telephone based support services to businesses throughout the UK.