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Balance at the BBC

Balance Learning has been selected as one of the BBC's preferred suppliers of online learning and blended learning resources after 100 staff piloted its two e-learning courses on facilitative team leadership skills.

After issuing an open invitation to all managers and team workers, the BBC was overrun with applicants. "We believe our managers will be more effective, and achieve greater buy-in from their teams, if they use a facilitative style of leadership, rather than a command and control approach," said Louise Katz, Learning Executive responsible for delivery of all Leadership and Executive Development at the BBC. "We’re established users of online training, and our culture is conducive to desktop learning, so we were keen to test out the online elements of Balance Learning’s blended programmes."

Called Leadership and Teamwork and Facilitating Team Communication, Balance Learning’s leadership courses show how teams can be more productive when managers use facilitation skills to clarify objectives and improve team relationships.

Leadership and Teamwork introduces facilitation and shows how leaders can use it to improve teamwork and meet objectives. The course examines what it takes to be a facilitative leader; how to adopt a facilitative style; how to improve group dynamics and develop team trust, as well as how to set guidelines for performance, establish clear goals and grow a team through its stages.

Facilitating Team Communication shows how facilitative leadership can make meetings and team relationships more productive. It develops a participant's ability to facilitate a team meeting, guide a team to resolve problems and make effective decisions. It also offers practical strategies for managing problems or conflicts between team members, handling difficult meeting situations and getting the best out of each individual in a meeting.

The pilot results showed that 75 per cent of the participants learned a 'significant amount' from the courses, which they felt were a good cultural fit within the BBC. 80 per cent said the courses were very easy to use and two thirds said the learning provided practical help and advice that they could readily implement, to improve their team’s performance.

"The feedback was very positive," said Katz. "The courses give a very good understanding of facilitative leadership and team dynamics. They’re easy to navigate, convenient to use and they’ll enhance our training portfolio."

The two e-learning courses - which provide practical tips and techniques, using interactive exercises and video case study examples - were run on the BBC’s online learning intranet, learn.gateway. The courses are also available as complete blended learning programmes, with complementary classroom resources and post-event workplace activities.

Following the online pilot, Balance Learning demonstrated its full blended learning approach to development advisors and executives from 14 of the BBC’s 17 divisions. The company ran an interactive workshop, showing how its complementary live training session builds on the online learning, and it also gave examples of its structured follow-on activities.

"Our development advisors and executives really liked Balance’s blended approach and they thought it was very effective," said Katz. "Balance’s workshops can be tailored to suit the needs of individual groups and they help to avoid the feelings of isolation which can result from online learning. The scheduled follow-up activities cement the learning messages and ensure the learning is actually put into practice."

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