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How Central Bedfordshire Council is creating an engaging and tailored learning experience

How Central Bedfordshire Council is creating an engaging and tailored learning experience

As the Head of Workforce Development at the Central Bedfordshire Council, Debbie Crawford is primarily responsible for developing their internal and external workforces. The local government offers free and paid training to support people through all stages of their career journey. They work towards empowering workers to be more confident, competent, and safe. Learn how they are using Mentimeter to transform their learning experience, measure how they make a difference, and provide an anonymous platform for their staff to share their thoughts and opinions.

We were delighted to secure an interview with Debbie where she walked us through her experience with Mentimeter. Let’s find out what turned her into a true Menti champion!

Debbie Crawford

We are constantly looking for new ways to ensure our training has done what it needs to do, and that’s where Mentimeter has played a significant role for us. It has helped us develop and shape our learning in a way that makes that difference.

Debbie initially considered Mentimeter a tool to support her team meetings. She wanted to create a safe space for her team to share their honest thoughts and suggestions.

"We were at a point where the staff was going through several services and structural changes, the aftermath of COVID, and adjusting to new ways of working. I wanted to be able to interact with them autonomously. Mentimeter just worked for me - the teams were able to ask questions and share their concerns anonymously."

They had researched multiple tools in the past but achieved limited success. Once she tested Mentimeter and understood its capabilities, Debbie began sharing it both within the Central Bedfordshire Council and with other Councils and organizations as well.

The challenges

Before Mentimeter, Debbie used standard PowerPoint presentations for team meetings and to deliver training. She soon realized that it was difficult to gauge audience interaction and evaluate their confidence levels with traditional, one-way presentations.

The inability to measure the success of their training and assess the needs of the participants also meant they couldn’t customize the training materials to make them relevant for specific groups. They wanted to evaluate the participants’ depth of knowledge, skills, and experience to tailor the content and make it meaningful for them.

The solution

Debbie uses Mentimeter to incorporate in-session analysis into workshops, training modules, meetings, and post-training follow-ups.

Using Mentimeter as a tool to deliver training means we can embed evaluation throughout the learning activity to check and validate understanding at any point. It takes training to a whole different dimension!

The team also uses Mentimeter as a secondary impact evaluation tool to be sent to participants to gather detailed feedback post-training.

"From a service perspective, the immediate evaluation of where people are is extremely important to me. Now that I have the people in the room (virtual or physical), I need to know if I’m answering the questions they are asking and if I’m explaining the material to the best of my abilities."

The results

Empowering people to raise their voices

Debbie has used Mentimeter to deliver change management meetings in the past. What made these sessions particularly effective was her team members could ask key questions that they wouldn’t have the confidence to ask in a public forum. The tool provided them with a safe platform and gave everyone the courage to seek answers anonymously without feeling vulnerable or exposed.

"Also, people like that it’s a bit techier than the standard team meetings. They are more engaged now because they feel more involved, and they can be a part of the presentation itself."

CBC today's meeting

Measuring the impact

Debbie and her team use the tool to conduct a pre-training knowledge assessment and compare the results with the responses after the session. It gives them a detailed overview of the participant’s journey of subject matter comprehension and its real-world application.

Immediately after a session, I can start pulling together the analysis of that piece of training activity or a meeting. I don’t have to sit down and work through the manual responses to try and get an understanding of how it went. It’s all done for me!

Debbie pushes the boundaries of measurable metrics to track performance post-training as well. She reaches out to the participants to learn more about the impact of training on their day-to-day work to understand what can be done to improve the courses. Taking it one step further, she even involves the managers in further impact analysis.

CBC pre-training survey

Pre-training knowledge assessment

CBC post-training survey

Post-training knowledge assessment

Securing buy-in from stakeholders

The Council sells services and training programs to other councils and customers. To secure buy-in from the external stakeholders, the team needs to show the results of their L&D programs. Mentimeter helps Debbie prove to funders how the learning initiatives have had an impact on the actual success of learners and the area they work in.

With Mentimeter, we can show the ROI of what we’ve been commissioned to do. We can give them that level of analysis fairly quickly. The ability to do that comparison, to visually show that “you paid for this and this is what we’ve done, look at the impact in the room after the delivery has taken place,” - is very important to me. 

Learn why Learning & Development professionals swear by Mentimeter

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A must-have for virtual learning

During the pandemic, most of the training they used to deliver was virtual. That makes things extra challenging for the presenters as they are unable to observe peoples’ reactions and engagement levels in a physical setting. Debbie uses polls, surveys, and quizzes to gather as much feedback as possible to analyze if people can understand the content they’re delivering.

Mentimeter helped us to shape training in a virtual way. It enabled us to measure where people are at in terms of their knowledge - it’s about giving people information, testing their knowledge, and making sure they’ve understood what we’re trying to say.

Inspiring younger generations to join the Council

Debbie uses Mentimeter to deliver presentations at universities to showcase their employer brand and attract students to join the Council. These Student Insight events aim to demonstrate how the Council works, how it’s been digitalized, and to show them the endless possibilities it can offer in terms of training and employment.

By making these presentations interactive, they allow students to actively engage and talk about their expectations and the issues they think are important to them.

"They want to make the world a better place, a greener place. Most young people are interested in working in that area - they want to make a difference in the world they’re growing up in, and the world that’s going to be there for future generations. I find it fascinating how you get that level of understanding and insight just by allowing young people a voice."

CBC Student Insight

Tailoring the messaging on the fly

One of the most significant advantages of incorporating live Q&As and feedback surveys within the training sessions is it allows you to adjust the content to suit the needs of the participants. 

Debbie studies the insights gathered during the sessions to customize the content, learn from every event, and plan how they will deliver that particular session going forward.

It’s the just-in-time response you can give to questions, that matters the most. We begin the session with a set agenda, but by the end of the day, we realize we’ve delved into a lot more areas than expected. We have a much wider understanding of what people need from us.

Her advice for other learning and development professionals

About ease of use

Debbie believes they are on a journey of exploration with Mentimeter; trying to find new ways of leveraging the tool to shape their training programs and create unique experiences. She suggests others follow suit without worrying too much about technical implementation and adaptation.

Don’t see Menti as something new that will take time to learn and embed in practice. The most important thing about the tool is you can just go into it, get a feel for it, and start to use it immediately. Then you explore more and grow your use.

"I’m not great at following instructions, so Menti lends itself to people like me. It’s a fairly intuitive and self-explanatory tool. You can create your first presentation in 20 minutes. It doesn’t require pre-learning or time-consuming onboarding activities to get to a place where you can use it professionally."

About increasing usage

Several of Debbie’s colleagues use Mentimeter to host individual and one-to-many training sessions, post-training evaluations, employee reviews, etc. They’re testing the waters with various teaching partnerships, and even introducing Mentimeter in universities. The council has organized two large public conferences for the end of this year and they want to use the tool to boost engagement at the events. It’s still early days, but they’re confident that the use of Mentimeter will only continue to grow from here.

"I want to understand if we’re making a difference. If we’re doing what needs to be done to get that return on investment. That’s where Mentimeter comes to the fore."

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Impress with interactive presentations