Learning Technologies 2017 – What did we learn?

learning technologies

Learning Technologies is one of the key events in the L&D calendar; exploring the latest thinking in the world of learning, and the latest tech available to support learners and organisations in their development journeys.  Every year there is a wealth of impressive content, insights and new products on display, and it gets harder and harder to choose just a few snippets of great insight from the event.  But alas, while we’d love to share everything we learnt at LT17uk, we would be verging on a War and Peace length article, so we’ve whittled it down to our top takeaways:

sticky learning‘Sticky’ learning is still a sticking point – L&D has always faced the challenge of how to ensure maximum retention after a learning event; with research suggesting up to 80% of information is lost after only two days, making learning ‘sticky’ has always been tough.  But it seems 2017 is seeing this become a real area of interest and focus, with a huge number of speakers at LT17 sharing their tips, frustrations and experiences in how to ensure long term retention.  Unfortunately no one has yet found the silver bullet, but it’s encouraging to see so much emphasis on a common challenge that many L&D functions ignore because it’s so difficult to resolve.  With the introduction of automated learning ‘top-ups’, and improved integration between formal, informal and social learning, we may finally begin to see a real solution to this challenge.

videoVideo is on the rise – This isn’t really surprising considering the ubiquity of video content in all other aspects of our lives, however the 2017 Learning Technologies event saw an explosion of talks and products focussing on video content in learning, suggesting that while video has been used rather sporadically in the past, going forward this type of content is likely to dominate the field.  There are still some debates around how to maximise the effectiveness of videos in learning interventions; questions remain about the optimum length, format and application of videos, but many L&D functions are beginning to recognise and embrace this form of learning.  As with all learning solutions it’s just a case of getting the balance right to ensure the best outcomes for learners.

futureThe future of learning and L&D – Another key theme of Learning Technologies this year, as might be expected, was the future of learning and what the fates hold for L&D teams.  As learning continues to become more consumer-led and self-directed by users, debates are raging about whether the L&D function will be needed in the future.  For some the ultimate aim is to make L&D redundant; to reach a point where learners are so motivated and self-sufficient that they no longer need L&D to supply the content they need.  However others argue that L&D will always be needed to help support, regulate and empower learning to maximise outcomes for individuals and organisations.  What is clear, however, is that the landscape is changing and that organisations are keen on developing hungry, driven and self-directed learners; the challenge L&D is facing is how to support and embrace this transition.

distraction‘Distractions’ one of biggest barriers to learning – One of the reasons many organisations are looking to support a more self-directed approach in their learners is that formal learning is often derailed by a host of other ‘more important’ distractions.  A range of talks highlighted that L&D teams are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of commitment from employees when it comes to learning; many employees defer, cancel or simply forget about their L&D needs in the course of a year as other things continually pop up to distract them.  Businesses are therefore hoping that empowering more self-directed approaches, individuals will find solutions that are suitable for their preferences and needs, and will therefore encourage a more loyal approach to learning that can circumnavigate the daily distractions.

Were you at Learning Technologies this year?  We’d love to know what your top takeaways were – get in touch and let us know.