ASA Newsletter – February 2018

Welcome to the February ASA newsletter. This month we’re making arrangements for delivery of accredited courses, by appointing suppliers for a range of accredited qualifications.  Thanks to all of you who expressed an interest in the accredited learning we could be delivering.  We’ll confirm the subject areas as soon as we can, and let you know joining details once we’ve got things organised.

In the meantime, there’s still places on the following training sessions in March:

15 March – Take charge of your career and personal developmentfew places left

19 March – Using scenarios to plan and manage aheadfew places left

Learning Story

Karl Pearce
CEO Citizens Advice St Helens

I’ve recently finished doing a BA Hons in Business Management, which involved reading lots of different books, journals and websites, to learn all aspects of business management.

One of the areas I was really keen on learning about is leadership, and one of the most useful books is ‘Leadership – theory and practice’ by Peter G Northouse. It tackles the fundamental elements of Leadership theory and systematically explains the strengths, limitations and history behind each theory, as well as giving useful insights into the ways and reasoning behind their development. It’s an excellent book that details leadership theory from past to present, and I still use it now, even though I’ve successfully completed my degree.

Learning about business and management has opened up areas of learning that I wouldn’t have been aware of before. One of the areas that I really enjoyed learning about is Kaizen, or continuous improvement. Kaizen is an approach which is about constantly making small improvements to the way we do things that help to improve quality and/or efficiency. What I really like about this approach is that employees are seen as the best people to identify ways of improving things, as they are the ones that see processes in action all the time. We use this approach to develop a culture that encourages and rewards employees for their contribution to the process.

If you want to learn a bit more about Kaizen, see the Mind Tools article below.

Mind Tools article on Kaizen

Learn Something Today

This Month’s Latest Bitesize Learning

How to supercharge the way you learn

What is the easiest way to learn? This short blog article looks at the development of a competition to test different theories on the best ways to learn, and a learning app Memrise that has been developed to use a variety of some of these techniques to help learning.

The competition focused on learning language, and the participants were asked to use a variety of methods for ‘cramming’ learning of 80 new words – in Lithuanian – for people who didn’t speak any Lithuanian.

Read the blog here

In order to learn a lot of information fast, the article advises that using a combination of the following techniques have, so far, been the most effective way of learning:

  • Embracing ignorance – recognising your own ignorance primes your mind into action – making a task a little more difficult can engage your attention more and help recall of information
  • Surfing the memory’s waves – you need to ride the crest of your memory’s natural rhythms, including being aware of how long you can study for and still be able to recall information, and also making sure you take short breaks from learning to let the information sink in
  • Buffet studying – it’s better to spend small blocks of time on a variety of subjects and skills – rather than concentrating on a single topic
  • Storytelling – using the things you’re learning to tell yourself a story can help you associate new learning and recall more

For information on the Memrise app (with a free to use version available), aimed at helping people learn languages, visit the Memrise website:

Employers at ‘creative’ organisations invest in ways to enhance creativity in the workplace – with quiet areas, ping pong tables, and pool tables – but other employers are also recognising the benefits of encouraging and supporting all staff to think more creatively.

Creativity at work includes innovation and ideas for improving the way that we work, and the article highlights that “While 67% feel able to offer their ideas at work, only 57% think management are receptive to new ideas.”

One of the examples in the article is Grant Thornton UK – a name familiar to Citizens Advice debt advisers – who have supported and encouraged their 4,500 staff to submit thousands of ideas for how to change the business on the sharing ideas area of their online platform.

With results of 40% higher customer satisfaction, a 30% increase in productivity, and a 36% increase in overall performance, increasing creativity at work has tangible benefits.

Read the full Guardian article here

Becoming a Better Learner is a guide to help you grow as a learner in your workplace. Developed by the Campaign for Learning, who support and celebrate lifelong learning, the Becoming a Better Learner guide looks at why we learn, what’s stopping you learning, as well as how to become a better learner.

The more confident we are in our ability to learn, the more likely we are to try new things and develop our understanding and skills as well as pursue our interests. The guide shares tips, advice and tools to help you with whatever you are setting out to learn and to be the best learner you can be. With a short questionnaire on your motivation and attitude to learning, and an example learning action plan, the Becoming a Better Learner, is an easy to read guide.

Download the guide from the Campaign for Learning website here

The Campaign for Learning promote and support learning through information and awareness raising events, such as the Learning at Work Week held in May, and the Family Learning Festival held in October. They champion lifelong learning at a national level, and collaborate on initiatives to test new approaches to lifelong learning. For more information on Campaign for Learning visit their website:

Chinese New Year – Friday 16 February 2018, Year of the Dog

"Kung Hei Fat Choi!"

Chinese New Year is being celebrated during February, with the start of the Year of the Dog.  In Liverpool, the Chinese New Year celebrations are focused around the Chinese Arch that was given to the city by Liverpool’s twin city of Shanghai. The arch is the largest outside of China, and its elaborate design provides an iconic landmark in the Chinatown area of the city.

During the Chinese New Year celebrations there will be a projected light installation telling the story of Jingwei and the Ocean,  an augmented reality trail taking people on a Chinese cultural history tour, and the popular traditional celebrations with street performances, art installations, and stalls offering cultural souvenirs and food.

For more information visit the Culture Liverpool website

Chinese New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, has a different date each year, as it is based on the Chinese lunar calendar, rather than the Gregorian calendar.  Each year is represented by one of the 12 Chinese Zodiac animals.  According to the Chinese Zodiac, your birth year tells you more than just your age, as it also indicates some characteristics of your personality, which are believed to be affected by the animal associated with your birth year.

This year, the Chinese New Year celebrations in Liverpool also mark the start of ‘China Dreams’ a programme of Chinese culture that is being showcased at various locations around the city.

More information: 

The ‘China Dreams’ programme includes the Terracotta Warriors exhibition at Liverpool World Museum, which is a rare and exciting opportunity to see some of the Terracotta Army statues, believed to have been created around 210 BC by the first Emperor of a unified China – Qin Shi Huang.

For more information on the Terracotta Army exhibition visit the Museum’s website:

or Visit Liverpool website :

Source:  Culture Liverpool (YouTube) – Liverpool’s Chinese New Year 2017 celebration featuring Chinese New Year Lummiere: Jingwei and the Ocean projection show

If you’re interested in Chinese culture, and you’ve always wanted to learn to speak Chinese, but never quite got around to it, then why not visit the BBC languages pages where you can find free online courses, resources and information.