A session by Clive Shepherd,  Sarah Lindsell and Brid Nunn training design manager at Mark & Spencers.

IMG_1933Meet Nicole and James. Nicole is in her 20s landing in her first job for a fashion brand, Lebow. Works in Brighton. James is in also in Brighton working in the call center for an insurance company. Nicole meets James in the hotel where they are both spending their first workweek and he has been sketching her. Nicole shows her ipad with preparations for her new job -using a Google hangout with future colleagues. Nicole had an excellent preparation, James only knows where the office is. After their first day, they exchange and James was put into an elearning module with an enormous quiz at the end. Nicole said not all elearning is horrible. She had scenarios we worked through as a group and got lots of insights in retail management. Throughout the week they compare notes. Towards the end of the week Nicole says she has been shadowing the manager. She asks James to come along to France, and he agrees even though he has to leave his job for this. In the car they listen to Edith Piaf, non je ne regrette rien.. He doesn’t regret leaving this job..

What does the story of Nicole and James have to do with elearning? Nicole had a good preparation with a questionnaire, call and videos and meeting other trainees in a google hangout. She had input with groups sessions, then three days working alongside the manager and six-months traineeship and follow ups with podcasts and mentoring and networking. James only had the annual report to read, had to sit next to one of the experiences operations , an elearning module and a quiz. In the end he didn’t stay in his job.

The learning strategy at Price Waterhouse Coopers

Strategy at PWC we talk about experiencing not about events – should fit preferences and the work. Whenever, however you need to learn you can, across service lines. always anchored in 70-20-10. Some challenges include:

  • it is difficult for people to take time out to learn
  • millenials value learning as #1 benefit

Blended is critical beause it makes learning stick, it’s the preference of our workforce. However it makes training work harder.Here you see the modality mix for 70-20-10 at PWC.


Example shared is the example of the global brand curriculum – used many different means. Some of the activities went viral through the organization. Here you see what mix was used:


Experiences with blended learning at Marks and Spencers

The learning and development challenge is: many different store sizes, up to 5 generations working in one store. Access to a good learning environment is also a challenge. How does M & S deploy blended learning?

  • Moodle site with elearning with accessibility from home. They are happy to do so in the evenings
  • Yammer groups – for instance men’s wear. It is great to discuss actual practice and social networking .
  • Classroom learning – now 20-25%
  • Somei pad and paper-based materials

One case study from Marks and Spencers: M & S had the objective to improve visual merchandising standards in stores. invested heavily in ipads for the centres of excellence. Created 5 visually stimulating modules via Moodle. It had to be visually stimulating. It was important to track learning and send images in for feedback. This made it a two way process and created a lot of enthusiasm.


Motivation is a key part of the story. It has to be relevant to the learner. We say ‘think what you can do in the 70 – if you need training make sure it is really relevant and applicable’. Make it also exciting for a person. What will really hook them? What is the hook and what is going to appeal to them? Personalization in blended is also really key and motivating. Helping professionals is valuable too, for instance with diagnostic tools, curating content.

Cultural change

M & S: In a cost-effective environment we focussed on reducing travel cost to move people around for training courses. However, we are moving to a very different time with more infrastructure in the stores. PWC the more you can do to support leadership, training them to help people to go through their learning journey.

Measuring impact

M & S. We work with regional team of learning consultants and we do a full PIO, we also track through Moodle by some key questions. We also go back to the line managers to ask if the person is performing better.