Meet the Team: Dan Nolan
Meet Dan, one of our Learning Technology Consultants who is passionate about self-directed learning and enriching organisations through digital L&D.
What is the role of a Learning Technology Consultant?
I work closely with a range of organisations to create innovative digital learning experiences. Ultimately, my aim is to work in partnership with our customers to inspire their employees to develop the skills they need to thrive in their careers; enhancing and enriching the organisations they work in. I work with businesses at various stages of their digital and L&D journey, so I have to support a pretty wide range of needs. It’s never just about delivering a product or service but looking holistically at what the organisations needs to succeed and achieve their goals.
What do you enjoy the most about working at Virtual College?
I love the fact that we’re not just a technology company but a company at the forefront of L&D. This means I always need to be developing and growing my own knowledge and I’m fortunate enough to work for a company that not only allows me to do that but actually prioritises it.
From your experience what are the most common training challenges your customers face?
The number one difficulty my customers have is successfully implementing behaviour change, and ultimately that is because it’s a really difficult thing to do regardless of the size of your organisation. It takes time and can’t be fixed by a simple solution such as a 1-week event or a few hours of online learning. I also work with several of our partners to support them in delivering commercial online training solutions to their marketplace. The primary difficulty is trying to digitise systems and products.
What solutions have we provided in the past to overcome these challenges?
First of all it’s really important that we understand the organisation and their culture as a whole. Once we have this understanding we can recommend the best solutions. Learning campaigns are a really effective tool to implement behaviour change, spreading learning out over 6-18 months can reinforce knowledge far better than a 3-hour module delivered in a week.
If you then combine this with scenarios or serious games where people have to put into practice desired behaviours, those behaviours then become more ingrained and part of peoples natural thought processes. It all links with neuroplasticity which is definitely worth looking into in more detail. But essentially with every repetition of a thought or emotion, we reinforce a neural pathway, and with each new thought, we begin to create a new way of being. These small changes repeated frequently, lead to changes in how our brains work.
Outside of Virtual College, what are your interests/passions?
The reason I joined Virtual College is because I was interested in learning, now I’d say I’m pretty obsessed with it, which is probably a bit sad, I know! So this extends into the rest of my life. I’m always keen to learn and try new things to grow as an individual, whether it's sports, cooking or just reading about new ideas. At the minute I’m pretty hooked on reading anything Simon Sinek puts out, I really like how he looks at the world and agree with the message he is trying to get out. I like expanding my knowledge and try to put some of it into practice whether that’s at work or at home, and a lot of the time things fail but that’s okay because I’m always getting better!
Which technology do you think will take over Learning and Development in the next 5 years?
It’s a tough question, with everything moving in the direction of bitesize learning and being as accessible and relevant as possible for the learner, video is going to be pretty prevalent. I also think Augment Reality or Mixed Reality is going to be huge. The learning applications are endless, and it really supports just-in-time learning. I think it will be particularly useful when used via mobile devices, everyone is already so familiar with accessing information via their phone, it will just be a natural development to point your phone camera at something and learn more about it.
Give us your best piece of advice
For me I would say its to focus on “getting better at getting better”. This is the new smart; knowledge has never been static but in today's world it’s changing faster and faster. It’s about how quickly you can learn, develop and innovate so if you focus on “getting better at getting better” you’ll stay ahead of the crowd.