Conference Roundup: Learning Technologies 2015

by | Feb 10, 2015 | Articles

After a great show, here’s our insights, takeaways and a host of fantastic resources that you’re bound to benefit from. 

After what seemed like the busiest two days of the year, we were sad to say goodbye to Learning Technologies for another year. Both the conference and exhibition proved themselves again as highly stimulating places of thought progression, with industry experts and vendors alike contributing to a variety of provoking and engaging sessions that really got people thinking about the nature of L&D’s role.

Main Themes

Unlike previous years, there wasn’t one particular theme emerging as other reflections will tell you. Those reflecting on both the conference and the exhibition have all said that there are particular emergents on topics such as neuroscience and intelligent learning, but in all there was a real spread of insight available for people to digest, depending on what you were interested in.
One of the themes we noticed in the exhibition was the word debunk – it was used in quite a few sessions (including our own) but wasn’t the main buzzword, as speakers didn’t seem to tear down other approaches like in past years. Instead, they looked to help business get back on their feet, offering logical breakdowns of strategies and practical tips on everything from board-level business success to instructional design. Apparently L&D is looking to step back, reflect, retune, refine, and renovate their processes right across the board – from content storyboarding to business buy-in.
We couldn’t help noticing that people were keen to have open and honest dialogue about how things are really going; another theme of the show was conversation, with a number of acknowledgements going out afterwards to those people had personally engaged with on the Twitter hashtag. It’s sounds like – and you can ask the people who joined for our eXchange session with Julian Stodd – learning needs to be social, more than ever. The vibe we got at LT was that of open ears; that L&D professionals are really tuning in to what the experts are saying.
We noticed that L&D on the whole does seem to be taking a step back to reflect. New this year was the room of reflection – a google hangout kept alive by a dedicated team with speakers coming to engage with interviewers and other speakers for those following online. This was an experiment but we think it’s a fantastic way to keep engagement high after a conference – having some of the experts interviewing eachother and facilitating dialogue is a brilliant way of creating understanding around something, as opposed to a typical one-way pitch.
One of the things we took away as an organisation was that people are hungry to know if what they are doing is making a difference, along with curiousity about what brings success for others. Laura Overton’s panel session on ‘Driving Excellence in Learning‘ was a resounding success, with people engaging in dialogue about how L&D can reach new heights.
As always, Towards Maturity’s Ambassadors were there in full force, with many of them presenting practical advice in a number of areas to help guide those looking for a pathway to performance increase, and we’re glad to see a few of them even made it onto Craig Weiss’ comically helpful review of the show. We also found out that quite a few of them are on the eLearnity 9-grid which is fantastic.

LT15 eXchange Sessions: What We Learned

If you missed them this year, you missed out. We’ve teamed up with Training Journal to provide a series of reports telling what we learned from each of the eXchange sessions, so you can gain insights from the experts speaking at the Learning Technologies conference (that area you pay to get into…). Check out the articles released so far and make sure you register next year to guarantee a place at these highly beneficial roundtable discussions.

Generate: A Crowdsourcing Experiment

Generate is where visitors and exhibitors alike came together to generate new ideas and suggestions that will help them modernise the way they facilitate learning at work. At Generate we provided a simple (sticky!) way of capturing crowdsourced solutions to questions that were voted on by the L&D community online.

Topics included:

  • How do I engage my learners more effectively in online learning?
  • How can I best embed learning throughout the workplace experience?
  • How do I set up a learning community of practice?
  • What are the top tips for delivering great L&D on a budget?
  • How can I best use MOOCs in my learning strategy?
  • What are your top tips for introducing performance support?
  • What role can Virtual Reality (eg Occulus Rift) play in learning?
  • How do I demonstrate the value of my L&D Department?

You can find all the crowdsourced suggestions that people gave (some are rather witty) on the TrainingZone blog edited by Jon Kennard, but it’s also caught the attention of others, too.


Take Away these Fantastic Free Resources

It’s not our policy to recommend suppliers, but we do know that the Towards Maturity Ambassadors were giving away some great resources for free – these are thought leading organisations who value independent research and sharing good advice. We produced a map for the show where you could find them all, but if you missed them or didn’t make it to the show, you can download digital copies of their resources below.


Free Independent Research and Resources on the Latest Success Trends and Technologies

This spring, Towards Maturity are releasing 5 new sector-specific reports, taking an in-depth look at individual industries using the data obtained from the 2014 Benchmark Study. The new reports look at:

  • Professional Services
  • IT and Telecoms
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Energy and Utilities
  • Retail and Wholesale Trade
Ensure you check the shop or keep an eye out on Twitter as more of these reports become available.
TM Benchmark Report 2014 – Modernising Learning: Delivering Results

Building on the evidence established from 3,500 L&D leaders and 15,000 learners gathered since 2003, this study revisits the New Learning Agenda introduced last year and explores how it is being used as a roadmap for modernising learning – if you’ve not downloaded it yet, check out your exhibition bag for our infographic to share with colleagues back in the office.

Read the foreword from Chai Patel to see how our research can help you build a business case for lasting change.


Seminars from Towards Maturity

If you missed them, you missed out! We presented two seminars this year on the following topics:

  • How to get your L&D team in tip top condition for 2015
    Laura Overton, Managing Director
  • Debunking the ‘Learner Centric’ myths of L&D
    Marnie Threapleton, Head of Advisory Services
We encourage you to take a look at the slides and notes, download them and see how you can effect change in your organisation. You can find the slides and notes from these seminars here.

Meeting Interesting People

The BarCamp with @learnpatch was a resounding success – over 40 people turned up for the fringe event for the bar-hosted gathering to discuss xAPI (otherwise known as the Experience API or Tin Can API). They had a stellar line up of speakers who shared their knowledge and expertise on Tin Can.

There were also plenty of opportunities to meet people through the Share & Learn programme, detailed on the Learning Technologies website – make sure you come along to these events next year.


Great seminars you might have missed…

In our definitive guide to LT, we identified quite a number of ‘not to miss’ seminars from organisations that we respect who were planning to provide practical ‘how to’s for 2015. We were seriously impressed with the sheer breadth of topics and solutions covered, mostly done without sales talk. Vendors this year were definitely providing more advice and sharing expertise in order to stand out from the crowd. Our particular favourite was the standing-room-only seminar from Martin Baker and Charles Jennings on harnessing the power of 70:20:10. It’s great to see thought-leaders partnering together and presenting strategy combinations even greater than the sum of their parts.

We hope you found this useful and we look forward to seeing you at the show next year. Follow us @TowardsMaturity and chat with others on the hashtag #LT16uk, when it takes off…

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