Twitter chats are when a group of people tweet about a topic or question at the same time, using a unique hashtag. They are fast moving, online conversations which bring together people with related interests. Participating in a Twitter chat is a fun way to meet peers, expand your network and learn more about topics that interest you.

The L&D and HR field is lucky enough to benefit from some well run, highly informative Twitter chats that are well worth getting involved in. Here we take a look at five of the best ones.

1. #lrnchat

#lrnchat is hosted by some well-known names from the L&D community including David Kelly @LnDDave, Mark Britz @britz, Tracey Parish @tracy_parish, Kelly Smith @kelly_smith01, Ryan Tracey @ryantracey, and Jane Bozarth @janebozarth. The official Twitter handle is @lrnchat and it kicks off every Thursday evening from 8.30 pm till 9:30 pm ET, 5:30 pm PT and 4.30 pm GMT.

The focus of #lrnchat is about understanding more about the different ways people learn. Recent topics have included:

- Why facts don’t change our minds
- How learning makes you feel
- Lessons learnt from the Pokemon Go! phenomenon

The #lrnchat blog is also a great source of information. You can find out about upcoming topics, get transcripts from previous chats, suggest topics for future chats and find tips on how to participate in #lrnchat.

2. #LDInsight

#LDInsight is run by L&D Connect - an active community of learning and development professionals who are dedicated to expanding the thinking and development of the profession.The Twitter handle for #LDInsight is @LnDConnect and it happens on Friday mornings from 8:00 am to 9:00 am GMT, 1:00 am PT and 6:00 pm AEST.

#LDInsight aims to provide a platform for L&D professionals to discuss and debate the issues that matter most to them and their organisations.

Recent discussion questions have included:

- If wellbeing is important, what is L&D doing to actively support it at work?
- What works in identifying the needs & habits of learners?
- What's the value of doing an icebreaker or energiser activity?

As David D’Souza, (@dds180) Membership Director at the CIPD comments:

#LDInsight has a core of regular contributors and people who drift in and out. The threads and conversations are often challenging and always informative. It’s a great (virtual) place for people interested in learning to meet and explore.”

3. #LDNights

Also run by @LnDConnect, the monthly #LDNights chat takes place on the first Tuesday of every month between 8:00 pm and 9:00 pm GMT, 1:00 pm PT and 6:00 am AEST. It is focused on the role of the L&D practitioner and poses questions about the challenges that today’s L&D practitioners face in relation to providing effective learning solutions for their organisations and as their roles evolve.

Recent discussion questions have included:

- What are your top tips on delivery/facilitation for a beginner?
- How do you deal with feedback about poorly delivered solutions?
- When have you made your most significant contribution to organisational performance?
- How important is CPD to the different groups of employees in the organisation(s) you work with?

Mike Shaw, (@MikeShawLD) Head of L&D at Signature (part of the Mitie Group plc) says:

"This monthly Twitter chat is an invaluable element of my tools and resources that keep me in touch, relevant and questioning. The chats nearly always throw up nuggets of ideas and thoughts and usually leave me with stuff to ponder or follow up. As this is an evening chat, the ideas seem to float around my head, rather than get put aside, as they tend to after a morning chat, as a consequence of getting stuck into a day's work."

4. #LeadersHour

Organised by @_Future_Leaders, a UK based social enterprise, the #LeadersHour chat happens every Monday from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm, 1:00 pm PT and 6:00 am AEST. Its remit is to bring together national and international leaders to nurture their skills through collaboration and experiential learning.

Recent discussion questions have covered:

- How do you encourage creative thinking within your organisation?
- What tools and techniques do you use to resolve complicated business problems?
- What new leadership challenges do you anticipate emerging over the next 5 years?
- What are your favourite leadership books and why?

Fiona McBride, (@fionamcbride) Learning and Development Consultant comments:

“I really like #LeadersHour by @_Future_Leaders. I'm quite new to following it and I think it's quite new as a Twitter chat. As I do a lot of work in the management and leadership space I'm quite interested in the range topics that are covered.”

5. #GuildChat

Run by the US-based @eLearningGuild, the ever popular #GuildChat takes place on Fridays at 6:00 pm GMT, 11:00 am PT, 4:00 am AEST. This chat has a real international feel, and the focus of the discussion is around current trends and hot topics in the learning industry, learning technologies and CPD for L&D practitioners.

Recent topics have covered:

- Overcoming a Bad L&D Reputation
- The Here, Now and Next of Mobile Learning
- Applying New Knowledge Learning in Context

You can find a list of previous and upcoming #GuildChat topics on the eLearning Guild site. A number of potential questions are posted in advance of each chat. You can also catch up on the highlights from each chat by checking out the Storify updates. 

Bonus chat - #HRHour

We promised five Twitter chats in this blog, but we couldn't miss #HRHour! The official handle is @HR_Hour, and it takes place on Thursdays at 8:00 pm GMT, 5:00 pm PST and 6:00 am AEST. Moderated and facilitated by Mark Hendy @MarkHendyHR, Vicky Carruthers @vmjcarruthers, Nate Johnson @N8_tweets, Donna Hewitson @PubDonna and Sheetal Gil @Sheetal_Gil, this is a lively and fast-moving chat, with a focus on some of the most challenging issues facing the HR profession today.

Mark Hendy says: 

"People should join because it's a wonderful community that has thought-provoking discussions, respectful and healthy debate, a distinctly collegiate feel, and a global presence. Participants are discussing HR with people from the UK, Northern Ireland, North America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East."

Recent discussion questions have included:

- How can HR respond to the challenges surfacing around equal pay and the gender pay gap?
Do you consider HR a profession, and if so, what aspects make it so/make it not so?
Following such serious issues as #metoo corporate scandals and modern slavery - what important points can HR learn so that we play a stronger role in eradicating or reducing these issues in future?

Sean Brown, (@SeanBrownHRTech) Colleague Digital Experience Manager at Virgin Money and a regular contributor to #HRHour says

"I find #HRHour insightful for a number of HR topics (including L&D). It's always good to expose your mindset to some different views/opinions and experiences from a variety of industries that all share the same common denominator - people. An added bonus is growing your connections and getting recommendations for other resources that people have found useful." 

Coming next week

We've recommended some great Twitter chats, and next week we'll be following this up with some Top Tips for Taking Part in a Twitter Chat.