Monthly Archives: August 2019

The Anatomy of a Training Session

Author - Beth Caldwell, Head Blended Learning, English, India

A great training session doesn’t just start on the day of delivery. Planning is equally important and impacts greatly on effectiveness. Just as important is the consideration given to the ‘takeaway’, thinking about what you want to change or happen as a result of the training – what participants will be taking with them to apply in the real world. For example, if you were conducting a training session on the importance of communication skills in business, some of the key takeaways could be: 

  • Understanding the importance of good communication in business
  • Key business communication skills
  • Presentation skills and strategies 
  • Tips for good business writing



  • Consider what the participants already know. Make sure the session is pitched for their level, needs and interests. You could share a pre-session questionnaire which will help you plan for this.
  • Decide what you want the participants to know beforehand. Share details of the session to build interest. Having clear objectives, pre-session tasks (if you are leveraging a flipped classroom model), a list of equipment needed and a brief biography of the trainer can all help prepare participants and whet their appetite.


A good training session has clear stages that go from learning to application. One possible way to label these is Define-Inform-Connect-Resolve.

  • Define the issues, skills or development areas being covered.
  • Inform participants by introducing strategies, techniques, theories or models that can be applied to the above areas.
  • Connect participants to the strategies through practical activities such as role plays and discussions.
  • Resolve the learning through considering future and alternative applications of the strategies.


Training is a success when the participants can immediately go out and apply what they have learned.

  • Ensure you provide opportunities to participants to reflect on what they have learned as it applies to their own contexts. Make sure they always have something practical to ‘take away’ and apply.
  • Always ask for feedback after the training. It’s a great way to gauge how well participants processed the information and to find out what they enjoyed and what they didn’t. Use this when you are planning next time to create an even better training experience!

Sign up for our webinar on the ‘Anatomy of an effective training session’ by clicking here.

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Future-proof your ambition: 21st Century Skills for Workplace Success

Author – Beth Caldwell, Head Blended Learning, English, India

It’s a common situation: you want to shine brighter in interviews or at work. You wonder how best to get the job or promotion you want. You want that ‘X-factor’ that makes you stand out. The solution could be simple: focus on adding 21st century skills to your skill set.

Business communication skills

According to a LinkedIn survey, 57% of senior leaders say soft skills in business communication are more important than hard skills. Other than job-specific knowledge, the key skills needed in order to participate in a global economy and succeed in a rapidly changing work environment are known as 21st century skills. They include:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving   
  • Communication and collaboration   
  • Creativity   
  • Global and cultural awareness   
  • Digital skills
  • Leadership and personal development   

Here are some things you can do to develop these skills:

  • Be well-informed about your profession through Internet-based research for personal development and to flex your digital skills.
  • Analyse ideas and concepts you read about: Think about the pros and cons of applying them in your own situation and develop your problem-solving abilities and creativity.
  • Discuss ideas with colleagues or others in your industry, face-to-face or in the virtual world, to develop your collaboration and communication skills.
  • Network with people in other states or countries for fresh perspectives and to build your cultural awareness.
  • Build your communication skills by commenting on articles, taking part in online forums and making the most of video conferencing.

Taking an online course is a great way to advance your 21st century capabilities. They can help you develop self-motivation, time management, digital research and communication skills. MOOCs, for example, will expand your professional knowledge and provide global perspectives from other participants who join from around the world. The British Council offers range of MOOCs on the FutureLearn platform, including How to Succeed in a Global Workplace’.

If you want to develop your communication skills in English, look for courses that focus on maximising opportunities for you to speak or write. A good course will develop your independent learning skills and offer practical learning activities based on real-life situations. At the British Council these skills are built into our course design. For example, our online myEnglish courses include communicative group tasks in live online classes – all under the guidance of an internationally-qualified and experienced teacher.

Whether independently or via a course, you will benefit from identifying and developing your 21st century skill set. With these skills in hand you can future-proof your career aspirations, stand out to employers and gain the advantage in the 21st Century workplace.

Join our free live online webinar and learn all about using online learning skills to get ahead in the global workplace.

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Digital invasion and safety

Author: Pushpa Gopal

I love technology. Have always been in awe of its capabilities. 25 years back, when I took on as instructional leader for Informatics Computer Systems, I felt blessed and empowered to initiate an ICT curriculum in schools. We started with LOGO, BASIC and COBOL and got the kids excited with the capabilities of a machine. I was as excited as the kids.

25 years and how much we have tread.

Technology and our lives are interwoven today. It has invaded our lives. Most of our communications are emails, texts, tweets, posts, and forwards. We don’t leave our mobile phones even while sleeping. What is this doing to our relationships, our society and our thought processes? We are slowly realising that this digital invasion might cost us some sleepless nights even as we are slowly becoming aware of the dangers lurking around the corners of this massive digital empire. Privacy issues, data security, extortion, sextortion, hacking, cyber dares are some of the immediate dangers.

Today, as I sit here in the airport observing people and kids around me, I am left with a sense of apprehension and worry. Has technology invaded our lives? Have we lost the real life connect?

Some ways we could manage this invasion is by

-       rationing tech time with children.

-       allotting an hour every day for “no-phone” time.

-       taking out time for tech detox.

The waiting rooms, airport lounges, railway stations and auditoriums are my favourite places where I get to sit quietly and observe people around me.

As I wait at the airport, I notice this young child mesmerised by the iPad in front of him. His parents seem lost in their own phones. This is a common sight. Isn’t it? What is it, in this gadget that can retain the attention of this young child and the adult alike for hours on end?

I continue observing the child. As he clicks on one video, a list appears on the right panel suggesting more. Innocently, the child clicks on the next and the next. Oblivious to the fact of the dangers lurking in that small screen. The parents are oblivious too, as they seem peaceful. I can almost read their thoughts – My child is engaged. My child is busy. My child is safe. He is right in front of my eyes.

The repercussions and the impact on this young mind could be serious. What if he lands on a wrong page? What if he is drawn towards inappropriate content?

Setting parental controls could be one way of managing this. Developing some monitoring mechanisms to keep an eye on children’s browsing behaviours could also help. Most important having a conversation with children about ‘screen-time’ and issues around randomly accessing information is of prime importance. It is about awareness, staying alert and taking a timely action.

I turn away and am caught by a bunch of teenagers lost in their phones. They don’t seem to want to interact with each other. They prefer their screens. I can see them laugh, smirk and grimace all at themselves or at least it seems so. Suddenly one boy positions his camera, readies himself and pounces on his friend. The friend drops down. This boy holds him down, looks at his camera and voices some words. And dramatically clicks a button and announces ‘I dare it. I win the challenge. What’s next?’ A fist fight ensues as the boys recover from the shock. I am not so much bothered about this physical fight. My thoughts are on the boy’s act.

Isn’t this a dare? Someone out there is waiting for this video and preparing the next level of challenge for this boy. And I cannot but relive the blue whale challenge and the many innocent young lives it snuffed out. Some are reported. Some are not.

Aren’t these kids in danger?

It is important to bring awareness in children about the latest cybercrimes and problematic cyber trends. A good practice to have discussion with them to understand what their digital interests and activities are can be useful. Professional counselling also helps to detox and provide alternative avenues to keep them engaged and fulfilled.

Technology has opened huge possibilities, no doubt.  The machine can do all that we have been doing in the past. Earlier, we believed that machines are incapable of one human capability – thinking. But Artificial Intelligence has proved beyond any doubt that it is capable of everything that comes out of human thinking. Predictive analysis and Internet of Things have left little for the common people. Are we ready for the pace at which this technology ‘progress’ is taking place?

The digital natives will learn fast. They are growing with the gadgets. Their foundational milestones are marked in the net space. They will learn to cope and survive.

But what about people who are caught in the transition generation?

This digital invasion has impacted our lives from all sides. We are leaving our digital footprint all around us. Everyday, whether we want to or not, most of us contribute to a growing portrait of who we are online- a portrait that is probably more public than most of us assume. It is essentially for this reason that we become aware of what kind of trail are we leaving and what are the possible effects of this on our lives.

Have we not become vulnerable to the unknown threats lurking in the corridors of the digital empire? How do we gather ourselves, sit up and face this challenge?

Technology is not going to slow down any time soon. In fact, it is galloping ahead much faster than anyone can expect. How do we protect ourselves and our family from these threats?

Digital citizenship is the key. Becoming aware of and teaching good digital citizenship skills to children helps them connect their everyday actions with their choices in a digital society. It’s important to understand unethical behavior and its impact for all of us.

Staying smart and alert is a skill. Critical thinking and decision making is also important in the digital world, as decisions are made at every point. Its about making the right choices- clicking the right button, keying the right words and opting to read the right text and choosing to ignore/delete the unwanted text.

Some general tips to be safe are:

  • start with creating complex passwords than mindlessly use our DOB.
  • develop and boost network safety and invest on safety software.
  • always use a firewall to block unauthorised access. Consciously stay away from careless clicking and entering unknown sites and web spaces. These can be as dark as an unsafe alley.
  • share only validated information.
  • be well informed and keep ourselves updated on the latest scams. Prevention is always better than cure.

With great power comes great responsibility.

FB - 10 June onwards




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