8th April 2021

Coming of age: 18 key ideas for learning in 2021

Scott Bradbury is eighteen years old this month, April 2021. In many ways, a business feels like your own offspring. And now we have a ‘grown-up’ organisation. But when Hugh Murray and I founded Scott Bradbury, registering it on 13 April 2003, we deliberately decided not to give it our names because we wanted the company to have its own identity. 

Instead, we chose the name ‘Scott Bradbury’ to reflect our respective primary schools - it felt appropriate for a publisher of learning resources to have a connection with our education. Hugh went to Dame Bradbury School in Saffron Walden, Essex, and I attended Scotts Park Primary School in Bromley, Kent.

Now, eighteen years on, Scott Bradbury is its own entity, just as we’d hoped. It’s not about us, but about the whole team of wonderful people who work here, and those who have worked here over the years. And it’s about our many clients and thousands and thousands of learners who have used our resources and attended our workshops. Without our customers we would not exist. And we always remember that. I believe that it’s our service just as much as our quality resources which makes us stand out. It’s what makes us Scott Bradbury.

If you’ve ever done business with us, or if you subscribe to our free resources, or if you’ve ever just talked to us, visited us at an event, or joined us in a virtual meeting, I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’. It’s through our vibrant connection with practitioners in learning and development that we’re able to create practical, relevant resources that do what you need them to do.

We started with DVD training resource packs and now we stream short ‘Watch & Go’ videos and ‘Sound Advice’ podcasts. In 2003 we delivered training exclusively in the classroom and now we facilitate lively online virtual workshops. Through my eighteen years at Scott Bradbury, and my over thirty years in the business of corporate learning, I’ve seen a lot of changes. That’s inevitable. But some things endure: the importance of understanding customers, the need to innovate, and the vital importance of providing a learning environment in which people are keen to learn and develop themselves. 

Below I provide - in no particular order - eighteen key points I would like to share with you, based on my experiences to date. I could provide more, but as we’re celebrating eighteen years, I’m sticking to eighteen for now!

How do these eighteen ideas compare with your own thoughts on learning and development in 2021?

  1. You can’t ‘develop’ other people – but you can create the optimum environment in which people want to learn and develop themselves
  2. Little and often is more effective than long and infrequent
  3. Making learning easily accessible is essential – don’t make it difficult to find
  4. Being ‘too busy’ is a state of mind (and too much time is wasted unnecessarily)
  5. Integrate learning into everyday activities so people don’t even realise they’re learning
  6. Use learning resources creatively – most have multiple uses so maximise their value
  7. Measure outcomes, not volume – focus on what’s important
  8. Learning is part of everyday working life, not something you go off and ‘do’ in isolation
  9. Self-directed learning only works if people are curious – help them to want to find out
  10. Video is a brilliant medium for illustrating skills and behaviour
  11. Use a mix of media – different formats are suited to different objectives and learners
  12. Podcasts are great for ‘learning with your eyes closed’ and for exploring topics differently
  13. The way your learning offering is perceived is vital – put yourself in your learners’ shoes
  14. People still learn best from other people – online, in person or in a video or podcast
  15. People like to learn differently – we’re not all the same, so offer variety
  16. You need to promote your learning offering or people don’t know it’s there
  17. Embrace your Comms department to give learning ‘a voice’ in your organisation
  18. Effective learning needs to be timely, relevant and practical – so your learners keep coming back for more.


Catherine de Salvo

Managing Director


Scott Bradbury April 2021



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