Insights from CIPD Learning and Development Show 2017

CIPD show 2017

The annual CIPD Learning and Development Show is a key event for learning professionals, exploring the latest developments in the field, and giving everyone a great opportunity to network and build connections with new customers, suppliers and industry experts.  This year’s event was no different, with an impressive array of exhibitors, talks and taster sessions all focussed on one thing: making learning more effective and powerful. 

With so much great content and discussions being shared on the day, it’s never easy to whittle down the list to just a few key insights, but much as we’d love to share everything we learnt, it would be impossible to do so in a short blog.  So we’ve racked our brains to select a few of the key themes of the day, and what we think they mean for L&D.

futureThe future

This was undoubtedly the biggest theme of the event, with everything else tying into this concept in some way.  One of the most notable discussions about this was during a session by Daniel Susskind, who explored the theories of his book; The Future of the Professions.  In his talk he explored the idea that as technology advances, many of the professions we currently rely on human intelligence for, such as lawyers, doctors and teachers, will be altered significantly.  In the not too distant future, technology will be so advanced that it will be able to do many of the tasks within these professions, in a more effective and efficient way, and this is likely to be true of almost all professions. Susskind spoke about the need for people to be learning new skills that complement these changes, and the ability to adopt an agile mind-set that doesn’t rely on traditional views of what a ‘job’ should be.  In the L&D sphere this is an intensely important notion, as it will be learning professionals who will need to be able to support and drive this change, before it happens.


Inherently linked to the theme of ‘the future’ is, of course, technology.  As explored by Daniel Susskind, technology is likely to be one of the biggest influences in how this future looks, making the willingness to adopt and incorporate it into learning absolutely vital.  From the chatter at the show there are pockets where this is happening very effectively, but on the whole the uptake of technology in the L&D arena remains slow and clunky.  The expansion of the eLearning and mLearning markets demonstrated at the show, shows the technology is becoming a much bigger focus.  However the content and traditional format of these platforms perhaps demonstrates that in L&D, we are still catching up with what technology has to offer.   Arguably, we are still trying to find a way to make eLearning feel like classroom learning, and using it as filler for when people can’t get to the classroom.  But the reality is that in today’s eco-system technology is already facilitating learning in a much more organic way than many businesses are able to provide with their approaches.  Rather than capitalising on the prevalence of the technology we have and use outside of work, businesses continue to try to add something new into the mix, making it feel segregated and more hassle than it’s worth for many people.  For almost all learners today, the use of technology in the learning is about creating a seamless, anywhere – any time experience, and for many this is still not happening within work.  For many businesses and L&D professionals they still need to work out the role of technology in learning, and a big part of this will be to understand how people are currently using it. 


With the developments in technology, the insights we can gain from neuroscience information is much greater than ever before, and this is having a notable impact on learning.  L&D professionals now have a far better understanding of how people learn, what makes a good L&D intervention, and how to get the most out of people.  However what it seems many are striving for is a way to integrate this information into the methods already being used, when in fact, what arguably needs to happen is to use this information to design learning in a completely new and truly innovative way.  How this will be achieved is yet to be seen, but with the insights now being made available from this area, there’s a much better chance of seeing this happen in the near future.

So there you have it; our top three themes from the CIPD Learning and Development Show 2017.  But we definitely weren’t the only ones attending the show, so we’d like to hand it over to you – what did you learn?  What were you favourite sessions?  Do you agree with our summaries?  Are there some key themes you think we missed out?

Let us know – tweet us @ThalesLearning, email us at, or find us on LinkedIn and share your thoughts.  Let’s get a conversation going.