(P)Reflecting on 2022 and the year ahead

11 January, 2023| Ger Driesen| 7 min read

Have you noticed how busy and stressed people at work can be by the end of a year? Even though they know there will be a whole new year ahead of them. And many start the new year almost in the same hurry. That isn’t a beneficial approach when it comes to learning. Maybe you’ve heard about the PDCA cycle of Deming? Or maybe if I say: ‘Plan, Do, Check, Act’, that might be more familiar to you.

Sometimes it looks like people at work skip the ‘Plan’ and ‘Check’ step and only stick to ‘Do’ and ‘Act’. There is no time for reflection, because there is pressure be it from production, customers or whoever. The lumberjack keeps using his blunt axe to chop trees because he has no time to sharpen it since, well… he has to chop trees!

And on that note, before we share how we’re kicking off the year with all of you, some of our dear colleagues (myself included) thought it’d be nice to reflect and share some of our personal best moments of the year.

Sunanda’s Best Moment:

“2022 was a big year for me and my family. From the lively and warm confines of home, I arrived at a cool and slightly wet city that smelled of fresh grass on the day I arrived! The disorientation lasted only a little while, until I saw the faces of the people who greeted me with the same enthusiasm of our regular 9 am Google Meet check-in!

Armed with stroopwafels and an airbed, I stepped into a new space, literally and figuratively. The journey from then on has been nothing short of incredible. The colleagues are always ready to help, ready to try new things and experiment, and excited to share Dutch quirks, which I have to say are quite practical and efficient!

From then until now, I’ve learned a ton of things, shared insights to help grow the value we have to offer the market and enjoyed my conversations with everyone here.

My initiation into the platform beyond the onboarding 101 sections occurred when I collaborated together with the customer success team, to dig deeper into the rich learning activities that enable learners to gain soft skills within the aNewSpring platform.

Each of the assessment activities can be used in innovative and thought provoking ways and the sky’s the limit when it comes to learning design.”

Read about the learning activities here »

I’ve learned a ton of things, shared insights to help grow the value we have to offer the market and enjoyed my conversations with everyone here.

Sunanda Jayanth, Product Marketer

“The next story I had a lot of fun putting together was a case study into how we helped a customer go beyond what the platform offered them (and it did offer them a whole lot, which they put to very good use!).

Together, we took a good look at their entire customer (learner) experience and came up with improvements. Eventually, they benefited from this, with a healthy rise in a key metric they tracked around their learners.”

Read the customer story of Kompas Safety Group here »

“I want to close by saying that I look forward to all the ‘busy(i)-ness’ that 2023 will offer, with the rebranding and renewed vigour towards reaching our goals. aNewSpring is an emotion, and I’m here for the drama!”

Roy's Best Moment

“It’s impossible to name all the inspiring customer meetings I had during the last year. As Customer Success Manager, most of my time is spent by talking to customers and brainstorming on how to optimise their implementation.

Every meeting gives new insights, viewpoints and possible improvements. Therefore, instead of highlighting meetings, I’d like to put one specific conference I attended in the spotlight.

In April I had the opportunity to present on Jobs-to-be-Done (JTBD) with Ger at Learning Solutions in Orlando. Next to inspiring other people in the L&D field, I got inspired myself as well. Attending sessions on inclusivity, transfer and learning design really gave some useful insights that I could apply into practice almost immediately.”


Learning Solutions

Behind the scenes at the conference

“One that has really stuck with me was the advice to organise the communication on training from the manager. The way a manager addresses the training and follows up can be essential to put the training into practice.

Apart from that, I met some amazing new people who inspired me throughout my whole journey for the rest of 2022. I’m looking forward to meeting many more people in 2023 and helping even more people learn!”

Ger’s Best Moment:

“Looking back at 2022, the best moments for me were the opportunities to meet like-minded learning professionals in person again after the Covid crisis. Roy has already mentioned our presentation at Learning Solutions in Orlando (yes, it was that good!), so besides that highlight, I was also able to attend many more amazing events.

I had a speaking slot at Next Learning here in the Netherlands, the VOV event in Belgium, Learntec and OEB in Germany, and ELF in Poland.

Another highlight was the research on adaptive learning we conducted together with BSL and HAN university of Applied Sciences, which brought to light some very interesting results.”

The best moments for me were the opportunities to meet like-minded learning professionals in person again.

Ger Driesen, Learning Innovation Leader

“We are shortlisted with that case for the LPI Impact Awards and, of course, that’s one of the things that I’m looking forward to for 2023. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the LPI awards event in mid February 2023. Whatever the outcome will be, Roy and I will share the results at different events of which ATD-ICE in San Diego will certainly be the most exciting one!

I hope to meet you somewhere, sometime in 2023!”

Introducing the reflection theme

Take some time to reflect

Reflection is an important element of experiential learning, best known by the cyclic model of Kolb. Did you know both Deming and Kolb based their approaches heavily on the work of John Dewey? You might also be familiar with Stephen Covey’s habit ‘sharpen the saw’, which is also about taking the time to ‘renew’ yourself.

How often do you as a learning professional advise others to take time and reflect on the cause of learning and how often do you apply this to yourself? As John Dewey said: “We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.”

What we're we reflecting on

We want to reflect on the best experiences of 2022 to benefit from them and look into 2023 for the most interesting learning opportunities to come. Reflection and preview, or as we like to call it: preflection (that is the big fun of language: you can make up new words).

We’ll share words of wisdom by the people we worked with (p)reflecting on 2022 and 2023. Look back at events of 2022 and share our wishlist for events to attend in 2023. We covered some themes in 2022 more deeply and are curious about new developments and the status of these themes.

Why we’re looking back to look ahead

We believe that learning is a (ongoing) journey, not an event. We also believe it is an incremental, step-by-step process. Learning design is or can be such a process.

We want to commit ourselves to the Plan-Do-Check-Act improvement process and help like-minded learning professionals in our community to do the same. It will be a focus topic for us in 2023 and we hope that you will join us for this journey.

How we'll explore this

We will keep our ears to the ground and curate best resources via our different communication channels. Naturally, we will reach out to the community and work together with others. There are always best practices to show as case studies and that’s what we’ll do.

Be sure to get some sneak peeks into the conferences where we will be present at in 2023. Some speaking slots at major conferences have been confirmed. And of course, we’ll be alert to share (and if possible, create) discount opportunities around events.

New year, new opportunities

A new year brings new opportunities and new energy. When we combine it with the things that we’ve learned and were most valuable from the previous year, we can move mountains. Let’s do so. Together. So, reach out to us with your ideas, feedback or requests. We like to hear from you!

Learning trend catcher Loves to connect

Ger Driesen

Would like a direct brain-internet connection. Loves connecting people, ideas and inspiration in the global learning community.

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