LT Digital Days: A Wrap-Up
On 15-17 March, Learning Technologies hosted a pre-conference online event to give you a taster for what to expect this May. The LT Digital Days took place on Swapcard, hosting ten focused sessions across three days. The topics discussed included the latest and greatest in L&D, as well the best names in the industry to discuss them. If you attended the event and want a plenary, or sadly missed the show and want to discover what you missed, read on. Also, make sure to register for the Learning Technologies exhibition or conference in May to access the recordings for free.
The Learning Technologies London Conference will take place on 4-5 May 2022, with dates changed from previous years to accommodate for international Covid-19 restrictions. Donald H Taylor is the Chair of this leading learning tech event, bringing the L&D community together every year. The LT Digital Days warmed everybody up for the main conference and exhibition, featuring the names and topics people know and love at Learning Technologies London Conference. The virtual sessions hosted hundreds of attendees and received positive feedback for the discussion of the latest and greatest in L&D. All the sessions are still available on the LT Digital Days Swapcard page to watch online for free.
Day 1: Challenge, curiosity, charity & compliance
The LT Digital Days kicked off with an introduction from Donald, leading straight into the first session ‘Challenge and Change L&D in 2022’, hosted by Donald and Amanda Nolen, cofounder of NilesNolen. Donald gave a detailed overview of the 2022 edition of his annual Global Sentiment Survey (GSS): results, a closer look at those results, challenge and change, the why and the how, and conclusions. Michelle Parry-Slater, who also spoke at the LT Digital Days, said of the GSS, ‘I value this report annually. It is like a finger on the pulse for now, which suggests direction for the future.’ The session then evolved into an interactive discussion between Donald and Amanda, as well as all the attendees in the chat, about the future challenges for L&D. Both speakers engaged with the audience, with Donald giving key advice on skills taxonomies, and how if you don’t get them ‘…right, your basis for everything doesn’t work.’
‘Great leaders uplift the team, poor leaders stifle curiosity.’ These are just some of the powerful words that came from Stefaan van Hooydonk’s ‘The power of curiosity’ session. The second webinar of the LT Digital Days certainly provoked curiosity as the title promised, with the chat flowing with interest and insights into the importance of curiosity in L&D. This session also drew on the importance of leaders encouraging curiosity among their employees, and how it is ‘…important for us to guide managers to make them aware of the shadows they are casting.’ Attendees were regularly encouraged to share their thoughts on what curiosity meant to them within learning, with everyone participating to create an extensive thread of unique insights.
Satnam Sagoo’s ‘The learning experience’ session was an enlightening 45 minutes, delving into Red Cross and their volunteers’ learning. Red Cross are an organisation renowned for their humanitarian and charity work, made up of over 17,000 volunteers, whose learning experience was driven by Satnam. Her session enticed a heart-warming conversation between her, Donald and the audience, exploring the value of volunteering and how L&D has changed their learning lives.
The first day concluded with Peter Manniche Riber’s session on ‘Using data to show compliance training’s impact on compliance behaviour.’ Training is such an important aspect of L&D, and it was discussed collaboratively between Peter and the audience. He shared his insights into training, including the issue around not ‘…only the direct cost, but there’s also opportunity costs…’ when training isn’t designed effectively. Training is a process we can all relate to, and the people engaging with Peter’s session certainly felt relieved that someone is willing to point out good training from bad.
Day 2: Chaotic content and learning systems
The second Digital Day was all about learning content – systems, platforms and the chaos surrounding too much of all of it. The day started with Fosway Group’s fascinating session on ‘The state of the learning systems market in 2022’, driven by Fosway’s in-depth research into learning. The session was run by Head of Content Martin Couzins and Senior Analyst Fiona Leteney, who explored the underlying market trends and what is left to do post-pandemic. Fiona inspired conversation among the audience after stating that ‘Digital learning is not just about the learning system – it’s the whole solution’. Attendees debated the best ways to approach learning systems from this, fuelling the all-important conversational attributes that L&D needs after a pandemic.
Michelle Parry-Slater kickstarted the afternoon with her ‘Launching a learning platform: lessons learnt’ session, sharing her hands-on experience with learning platforms. The presentation was driven by her work with Girlguiding, a highly successful youth programme based in the UK. Similarly to Satnam’s session on the first day, people were taken with Michelle’s passion for volunteering also. Michelle raised the overlooked issue of not including IT teams in the learning platform process, with Donald agreeing ‘Don’t make your first conversation with your IT team a request for help.’ This sparked people in the chat to share their real-life experiences too, driving both an interesting and helpful conversation for everyone at the session.
Later in the afternoon, Hannah Gore and Jane Daly took the floor. Hannah is Learning Experience Director at Tessellate Learning, with Jane Founder and Insight Chief Officer at People-Star, and both L&D women have worked together with companies such as BT Telecommunications. The biggest takeaway from this session for all the attendees was this: personal development is key. Jane warned that ‘Not implementing personal development leads to burnout and L&D not existing as it does now…’, which was the lift that many people need post-pandemic. This session both reminded and inspired people to prioritise themselves as L&D individuals, because as Hannah says – ‘Good L&D makes a company, and bad L&D can break a company’. Everyone in attendance at this online session engaged with this idea, because it reminded us all of what L&D is all about.
The second day in the LT Digital Days wrapped up with a bold subject: ‘Learning content: making sense of the chaos’. Heather Gilmartin Adams and Dani Johnson from RedThread Research brilliantly explored the issue of there being too much learning content online. Heather, Senior Analyst, pointed out that ‘L&D helps employees by choosing content sources with care, using curation to signal priority, enabling easy search, and putting content where employees are’. This was just one aspect of RedThread Research’s insightful model on how to tackle the chaos surrounding an overload of content. Dani’s positive insight showed that ‘Organisations are thinking more strategically about where content is so people can discover it wherever, whenever.’ RedThread Research’s informative model goes into great detail about the types of learning and how to tailor content to it, exclusively discussed in their LT Digital Days session.
Day 3: Skills and functions
The final day of the LT Digital Days looked at L&D in the broader sense and on a bigger scale. It started with a session from Donald H Taylor himself: ‘Skills – currency of the organisation?’, where Donald went in-depth about the meaning of skills and their place in L&D. People were engaging with the idea ‘Knowledge and skills being the currency of economies, but skills have become the currency of business…’ as Donald pointed out. The differentiation between skills and knowledge was debated, with everyone in attendance sharing opinions about the other factors that affect learning. The importance of motivation was brought up, which led to everyone sharing tips on how to achieve motivation in their organisations, making it a successful session.
Nigel Paine concluded the line of webinars with his ‘Recasting the L&D Function’ session, tackling some of the biggest issues in L&D today. Nigel’s idea that ‘L&D is seeing learning as transformation and not just compliance’ was met agreement from the audience, with everyone recognising its importance and sharing ways of achieving it in real-life. Nigel successfully brought attention to the need for getting to the bottom of how to make L&D effective, especially in a post-pandemic world, which was well-received by the audience. This made the webinar, the day and the event overall wrap up effectively as an L&D experience.
May: The Conference & Exhibition
Donald concluded the LT Digital Days with a few words for looking forward to Learning Technologies, pointing to the main conference and exhibition in May this year. If the LT Digital Days was a pre-conference glimpse at L&D, then Learning Technologies Conference London is the full look of L&D in 2022. Start planning your experience with Learning Technologies and book your conference pass to gain access to Europe’s leading workplace learning event. Discover the exclusive premium pass range that includes additional features to enhance your Learning Technologies experience – with eight interactive online meetings and two in-depth collaborative sessions.