Norman Lamont

About me

Norman Lamont
Community work supporting an at-risk wall in Edinburgh’s old town.

Light Touch Learning is me, and I’m Norman Lamont, based in Edinburgh.

Maybe you came here because you’re a learning manager looking for someone to create some elearning or work with your team. Maybe you’re particularly looking for someone in Scotland. There’s more for you here.
Or maybe you’re an elearning designer who’s come here to learn more about Action Mapping, instructional design or scenarios. If so, start here.
But before you do, maybe you want to find out a bit more about this guy with the ex-chancellors name who isn’t the ex-chancellor? (He’s laMONT, I’m LAMont!)


Coaches and rails

For many years I worked at Scottish Widows, with a responsibiity for computer-based training. That fell out of favour a bit towards the mid-90s, before the web came along. When Lloyds Banking Group took over, a bunch of enthusiasts for both learning and this new-fangled web thing found each other from all over Lloyds and became a virtual elearning team. I started working at home, which was a delight, and was initiated into the world of the conference call, which was less so.
After many years our team was less involved in authoring and more in tending the needs of one Learning Management System (LMS) after another. I kept in touch with the teams producing elearning and wrote a monthly newsletter and the occasional webinar for them. Finally our team was formally assigned purely to LMS matters – maintaining the railway rather than the running stock, as they said – and I decided to go my own way.

Cathy Moore, Action Mapping and scenarios

Cathy Moore runs a course on how to write scenariosA turning point for me was getting the chance to work with Cathy Moore, helping her run a session on Action Mapping in London. Apart from hearing her analysis and stories, I saw how this simple model wasn’t always as simple to implement as it seemed. I’d used it extensively at Lloyds but met some resistance – the same kinds Cathy and her students found again and again. I learned some answers and some techniques, and I enjoy training people in Action Mapping and in scenarios.
Norman offers a rare and refreshing combination of clear thinking, good humor, and dedication to high-quality instructional design. His experience in advocating for good design in a wide range of settings helps him empathize with both designers and learners and find ways to work around the challenges that many organizations face.
(Cathy Moore)

Here are some of the organisations I’ve worked with. I’ve been a speaker at Learning Technologies,the Elearning Alliance, and the E-Learning Network.

I’m currently developing with Howie Pearson an Action Mapping public course, and I’m also writing a book about scenarios. If these things interest you, there are lots of resources on this site about them:

There are two complete series of posts here on scenarios:

  • The Designing Predicaments Workbook is a free template for simple scenarios. This video series will help you get the best from it.
  • The Branching Scenario Out Loud series shows how I built a more complex scenario, from needs analysis to final Storyline product.

Values

I once sat with a learning manager as a vendor sold the benefits of an LMS to us. He said ‘Now you’ll be able to track every page each person viewed. You can be sure they were exposed to every message you put out there. You can even force a path through so they have to open every page.’ The learning manager’s nodded enthusiastically. I knew this guy. He was smart, creative, full of initiative. I could imagine his reaction if someone told him he had to click on every page, or, worse, every link on every page. “You have to eat up all your vegetables if you want pudding”. Yeah, right. At that moment I became aware that my values were not the same as theirs. That I believe the golden rule applies in learning too. – treat others the way you’d like them to treat you.

Fun stuff

I’ve been attending ‘training people about stuff with the computer’ events since the earliest days of The Association for Computer-Based Training (now the Elearning Network). I’ve heard the same lines trotted out for decades by people in decreasingly formal dress but consistent enthusiasm for buzzwords. You can’t do through that without developing a wry sense of humour about the whole business. Sometimes I have to let off steam about it and you can see the results here.

Music and mindfulness

I enjoy this work but I’m not one of these people who will stand up at a conference and say ‘I’m Norman and I’m passionate about corporate learning!’.  I’ve heard that too often and think I wouldn’t like to have a pub chat with those people. What I am passionate about is my music – I’m a singer-songwriter with several albums to my name with sales in the tens of, er, tens! The web presence for my music is lamontations.  I also write about another topic that’s been part of my life for decades – mindfulness and meditation – here at Light Touch Mindfulness.

Free elearning scenario template

Just follow Designing Predicaments step by step for a believable, engaging learning scenario.

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