Originally published December 12, 2020

This is the 63rd article in the Profiles in Knowledge series featuring thought leaders in knowledge management. Jane Hart is an independent advisor and consultant who has been helping organizations for over 30 years, based in Greatstone-on-Sea, England. She currently focuses on helping to modernize the Learning & Development (L&D) function in order to support learning more broadly and in more relevant ways in the workplace. Jane is the Founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies and produces the popular annual Top Tools for Learning list. She specializes in modern workplace learning, learning and performance technologies, social media tools, knowledge sharing, and workplace collaboration.

In February 2013, the UK-based Learning & Performance Institute (LPI) presented Jane with the Colin Corder Award for Outstanding Contribution to Learning. In May 2018, the US-based ATD (Association for Talent Development) presented Jane with the Distinguished Contribution to Talent Development award.

Background

Education

  • City, University of London — MSc, Information Systems & Technology, 1990
  • King’s College London, U. of London — BA, German & Portuguese, 1977

Profiles

Content

Site

Articles

  1. Help the team see the value of sharing
  2. Help the team establish sharing as part of their daily routine
  3. Help to encourage those who feel concerned about sharing
  4. Help the team to “add value” to what they share
  5. Help the team to “work out loud”
  6. Help the team to avoid “over-sharing”

Articles by Others

1. Personal Knowledge Management for Academia & Librarians

2. PST Articles

3. Luis Suarez posts

4. You can’t enforce curiosity by Euan Semple

5. Social Media And Learning — Interview by Connie Malamed

6. Interview: Social Media & Microlearning by Brian Alexander

7. Crystal Balling With Learnnovators

8. Essential Tools For Learning Professionals: Insights From Jane Hart’s Annual Survey by Steve Rayson — Modern Learning: Now in Four Flavors

From reviewing Jane’s annual surveys, we can see that internet tools have developed to support learning in four broad areas, namely:

  • Seeking knowledge
  • Staying updated
  • Communication and sharing
  • Content creation

9. TD Magazine Interview by Justin Brusino

Q: You recently wrote that you’re moving away from the term “social learning” in favor of the term “workplace collaboration.” Why the shift?

A: The term social learning, first, doesn’t have anything to do with the technology. We’ve always learned socially. People are beginning to get that one now, but they’re still applying it to training, classroom-type learning, and still haven’t really kind of appreciated how much learning is happening outside in a sort of continuous, collaborative way.

It’s the word “learning” that I’ve struggled with, as people associate it with training so I decided to get rid of the learning word altogether and focus on the collaboration aspects. Because that’s the most important: people coming together and working together and learning together — and it’s just an integral part of what they do in the workplace.

We have to get over this mindset that we’ve got to train everybody — it’s about supporting their learning and encouraging and helping them to do it within the context of their work. That really is exciting stuff, I think. Social media has really given us the power to be able to do that.

10. ATD Recognizes Jane Hart: A Modern Learning Pioneer by Kristen Fyfe-Mills

As founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies (C4LPT), Jane brings more than 30 years of expertise helping organizations develop talent. “My career has evolved over time, but it’s not about what inspired me. It’s about who inspired me,” she says, pointing to two key people.

First is the principal at the college where she landed her first teaching job. He sparked her curiosity about information technology, which encouraged her to start programming, begin teaching others to use IT, and pursue a master’s degree in that field. Then, there’s her husband. He introduced her to the web in the early 1990s, which led to them setting up an Internet consultancy business, where she began her work helping organizations understand the power of the web for learning and development.

Hart’s love for the online world flourished as she continued consulting. More recently she set up the Modern Workplace Learning magazine, an online publication for learning professionals. The magazine typically runs three to four new articles every month from different authors, covering different ways talent development professionals can bring their learning organizations into the present.

Many talent development professionals will also recognize another of Hart’s creations, the Top Tools for Learning list. The project started in 2007, when Hart says that “a burgeoning of online tools for learning — not just for training, but for personal learning too” led a friend to ask that she produce a list of her favorites. However, Hart felt that the list shouldn’t just include the tools she enjoyed using. “It should be tools that other learning professionals were using,” she remembers. So, she invited others to each contribute their top 10 tools for learning, which she used to generate a top 100 list.

Hart continued making the list each year, and over time it became very popular. However, she eventually began seeing “the same tools pretty much appearing every year.” That led her to expand the list in 2016 to 200 tools as a commemoration of its 10th anniversary, along with adding three sub-lists — Top 100 Tools for Workplace Learning, Top 100 Tools for Education, and Top 100 Tools for Personal and Professional Learning — to “clearly show the context in which these tools were being used.”

Between editing Modern Workplace Learning magazine, compiling Top Tools for Learning, running online workshops for learning professionals, and writing several books, Hart has a great perspective on trends in talent development. In the past few years, while she has found it exciting that “many L&D departments are now modernizing their training initiatives,” often by bringing them more in line with how people learn on the web, she thinks the most exciting challenge for L&D goes beyond that.

To her, the most important task ahead is “to recognize that learning is a constant process — something that simply can’t be solved by intermittent training.” Expanding on this point, Hart says that “employees need to be helped to become lifelong learners,” which is a process that “many in L&D understand the need for but don’t know how to do.” This realization has driven much of her recent work, which she describes as “focused on helping forward-thinking organizations break out of traditional workplace learning models with top-down design and move to a new employee-centered view.”

Moving forward, Hart will carry a piece of advice that has helped her remain focused amidst the many opportunities that come her way: Be true to yourself! “I don’t take on projects that I don’t think are the right way forward; I won’t accept them,” she says. Clearly, this mindset will contribute to her career, as she puts it, “evolving as it has always done.” It appears that C4LPT, Modern Workplace Learning magazine, and her Top Tools for Learning lists all have more on the horizon, and Hart’s drive remains strong. “I want to contribute, be ahead of the game, and inspire people to think and do things differently,” she affirms.

11. 2013 Learning Award Winner presented by Learning & Performance Institute (LPI)

The recipient of the 2013 Colin Corder Award has worked tirelessly over the course of her career to help the Learning and Development profession embrace new tools and models for learning. Jane Hart is an accomplished author, speaker and thinker on social technologies for collaborative learning and collaborative working.

Beginning in 2005 as a simple service providing regular information on the latest in learning technologies, Jane’s website — the Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies (C4LPT) — is now one of the world’s most useful learning resources, with over 100,000 monthly visits. Testament to Jane’s ability to build a useful information stream from scratch, the C4LPT website also epitomizes something else about Jane and her approach to learning: the resources on the site are free. She doesn’t just write and talk about the value of sharing — she practices it, too.

This considerable body of work includes her Directory of Learning & Performance Tools (with over 2,000 entries) and her annual survey of the Top 100 Tools for Learning (now in its seventh year), as well as the ever popular Jane’s Pick of the Day and the Social Learning Centre online community for learning professionals in both education and the workplace.

Jane spreads the word for collaborative learning and working by writing and speaking about it regularly, working with organizations around the world to build their understanding of the usefulness of social technologies. It is the Institute’s honor to present her with the 2013 Colin Corder Award.

12. Modern Learning Legend in Training Journal — Workplace learning expert Jane Hart discusses her life in L&D — “Share your knowledge and experiences; don’t hoard them. Knowledge isn’t power; sharing knowledge is power.”

13. 60-second interview with STEP (The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners)

Q: What do you do?

A: I help organizations understand new learning trends, tools and technologies; and discover how to modernize their approach to workplace learning.

Q: What does this mean in practice?

A: We run an annual survey of learning and performance tools and publish the top ones on our website. We also run online workshops for learning practitioners and private workshops for organizations, and have just launched a series of 30 day learning challenges, designed to help people update their modern learning skills and future-proof their careers.

Q: What do you see as being the main shifts required to modernize workplace learning?

A: We need to see a move away from the traditional approach that is dominated by training, to one which enables and supports all the ways people learn at work. This includes helping individuals and managers make more of the learning that happens as a natural part of everyday work, as well as helping individuals prepare for their future and manage their own self-development.

Q: What are the main challenges to be found in making these changes?

A: Changing the traditional mindset where it is assumed that ‘workplace learning equals training’ and is the sole responsibility of the Learning and Development (L&D) department. This means that managers simply turn to L&D for a course when they have a performance problem, and employees believe that learning is something that is done to them!

Q: What do you feel are the key benefits in making these changes for both the organization and the individual?

A: New learning approaches are needed in a fast-changing world. Organizations can no longer keep up with the fast pace of change and train everyone in everything they need to know now and for the future. Managers who take a close interest in the growth of their people are more likely to have an engaged team, and individuals who take responsibility for their ongoing development (supported by the organization) are more likely to be motivated to learn. Everyone needs to understand the WIIFM (What’s In It for Me).

Q: What do you feel are the main challenges facing Learning & Development practitioners at the moment, and how will you deal with them?

A: Changing the mindset that they need to control everyone’s learning by designing, delivering and managing it all. They need to move to an enabling and supporting role — working with both managers and individuals to help them achieve their individual and team goals in the most appropriate ways. This is a big hurdle for many in L&D, as this is a completely new way of working, so they don’t understand what it means in practice. Hence, my work involves helping them first experience what it is to be a modern professional learner, who learns in a multitude of ways, and then how to support modern professional learning in the workplace.

Q: What would you say to a young person starting out in their career?

A: Take responsibility for your self-improvement and professional development from day one, and demonstrate to an employer that you are continuously learning. Learnability is the new skill for the modern era.

Q: Which social media channels do you use?

A: I have a blog, and use Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

14. Boost Employee Engagement with Knowledge-Sharing by Kasper Spiro

According to L&D expert Jane Hart, knowledge-sharing is considered one of the most valuable learning methods, second only to on-the-job learning. From a pedagogical standpoint, knowledge-sharing enables deeper learning. Employees who share their knowledge must reflect, re-evaluate their thoughts and externalize them into information that others can consumer.

Presentations

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Podcasts

Videos

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Books

  • Social Learning Handbook: A practical guide to using social media to work and learn smarter
  1. Social Learning Handbook 2014
  2. Social Learning Handbook 2014: PDF version

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/