BETT I learnt something!

by Caron Ward, GP Strategies Ltd

There were so many inspirational things to see and hear at BETT. It almost makes me want to be back at school! But what exactly did I learn? For a full round up of the highlights from the show see the Best of BETT.

Transforming Education

Transforming education was the prevailing theme and hearing what some of the keynote speakers are involved with or spearheading was truly inspiring and encouraging for the progress of education and skill development.

Imogen Heap is doing some ground-breaking work in the world of music production and the likes of celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal is showing new ways of engaging children in the kitchen. These are all part of that transformation. In fact we’re all part of that transformation – especially if we’re in the world of education and learning. We all have a role to play.

The Revolution of Learning

This was reflected in so much of what Sir Ken Robinson talked about in his keynote – The Revolution of Learning.

He recognised that the current education system of standardisation is damaging progress in education and learning new skills. If you adopt a ‘standard’ approach – you will get ‘standard’ results.

So much of what he said is also true of both education in schools but also in the corporate learning world. A standard approach to learning might suit some types of training needs but if you want real behaviour or culture change and get the best out of your talent you need to think beyond the standard. Education needs to change and we’re all part of helping that change happen. We’re all part of that learning community.

Sir Ken Robinson talked about some amazing projects that are key to transforming education, such as Mind Drive. They inspire students to learn through mentoring and project-based learning. The launch project saw students working together to restore an old VW Karmann Ghia car, making it run on electricity. Even more impressive was how the car was powered by social media to drive across America. This was done to raise awareness and implement the project in other areas showcasing new skills and digital technology at its best!

And this ultimately is saving huge amounts of money in social areas like prison, rehabilitation and mental health costs to the country.

Sir Ken Robinson further delved into the Kansas Reading programme which brought seniors (from care homes) and children (from education) together to become reading buddies.

This really spoke volumes to me as a great way to teach children to read and get a huge sense of fulfilment. How? Well they got to build great connections with the senior community and learnt a lot more than just how to read as well as improving mental health for many of the seniors.

Evolution Of Learning

The way we’re learning is evolving. However, we simultaneously need an education system that evolves alongside this too. Everyone has a part of play in that transformation. It’s about recognising and doing things in different ways. It’s about embracing communities of learning, adapting to the tools and technologies we have to hand and using them in new and innovative ways. In our L&D world we too have a role to play if we want to see that transformation to continue into the world of employment.

"Working with the education community is a way for corporate L&D to be a vital part of that transformation."

BETT is a show for Further and Higher Education. A week later I went to Learning Technologies; a show for the corporate L&D world to show off the latest ways we can utilise technology for learning. There were also some interesting things to see there too. However, I can’t help feeling that corporate L&D would do well do see the inspirational projects we saw at BETT to be truly inspired for change. 

I feel now is the time to step outside of the L&D bubble and look around to be truly inspired by change.