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Dates and Venue

23 - 24 April 2025 | ExCeL London

17 - 18 April 2024 | ExCeL London

Stories to drive change - 25 Years of Learning Technologies

Friday 22 March 2024

Stories to drive change - 25 Years of Learning Technologies

Cheryl Clemons
Stories to drive change - 25 Years of Learning Technologies

Take a behind-the-scenes look at the Learning Technologies 25 years campaign reinforcing the importance of peer influence to drive change and learning impact. Cheryl Clemons, CEO and Co-Founder of StoryTagger, is your guide.

 

Congratulations Learning Technologies!

Let’s cast our minds back to 1999. While the IT world was on its knees anticipating Armageddon due to the millennium bug, L&D pros were relishing the prospect of an exciting new conference and expo with a mission to bring together workplace learning and technology.

Yes, Learning Technologies is turning 25 and a massive happy birthday to everyone involved in this silver jubilee year! A special thanks to organisers Ian Smout, Mark Penton and, of course, the ultimate Chair Donald H Taylor who have been the driving forces behind this achievement.  So, add a sprinkle of late nineties nostalgia, get your purple groove on to Prince and party like it’s 1999. A word of caution though, don’t party too hard or you’ll miss the monumental amount of change happening right now and wake up wondering what year it is.

Back in the dying throes of the twentieth century, CD-ROMs still had cachet, the first dot-com boom was rising high as a hot air balloon and the closest most of us got to AI was the super-computer intelligences in Kubrick’s 2001 A Space Odyssey and Gibson’s Neuromancer. However, apart from Star Trek, fiction involving our technological futures is invariably dystopian (deliberate generalisation!), so it’s best we use it as a dressing up box to explore our humanity rather than as our north star!

And, of course, ‘Technologies’ is only one half of the show’s title. The other half is ‘Learning’ and this means people. Visitors, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, organisers … it’s the people that not only make the show but also work, learn, and apply the technology.

 

Real stories to help us navigate the changes ahead

To celebrate this incredible 25-year anniversary, the Learning Technologies team have partnered with StoryTagger to invite this year’s chairs, speakers and friends of the show to share their insights, projections and personal memories. Put simply, they have invited them to share their stories. Not fiction this time, but real stories, real-world insights and personal experiences of both show and industry, past, present and future, to be shared between learning pros as peers.

In terms of change, we now talk in terms of exponential not constant. So, at this pivot point in 2024, it’s a chance to reflect on the world of work, learning technologies, the L&D profession and how we navigate the changes ahead. It’s the perfect time to reflect, remind us of where we’ve come from, where we’re all going and how to recalibrate the compass. 

The Group Marketing team at Learning Technologies worked with StoryTagger to devise the story, a sequence of prompts and timings for everyone to reflect and talk to. These are based on an initial concept shared by Don.

  • Reflecting on the past 25 years
  • The L&D profession and the next 25 years 
  • One standout memory or highlight

On-going to press, the 25 Years campaign is still live so there are some wonderful stories still being shared covering themes as broad as AI, greener solutions, human-centred design and much more. There’s a lot to feel positive about. 

You’ll see the full collection in a series of montages before and during the show.

As a taster, here are three 25 years stories from Laura Overton, Lori Niles-Hofmann and Rob Hubbard:


 


 


 

The power of peer influence

Zooming out from Learning Technologies, hearing peers share experiences, tacit knowledge and expertise is a vital part of securing the impact many L&D teams report they’re struggling to deliver and demonstrate.

Afterall, stories help us make sense of what’s happening around us, transfer knowledge, develop skills, unite behind a shared vision, and adapt to change. This latter point is getting harder, not easier.

According to Gartner’s “Leadership Vision for 2024” report, many companies are facing a ‘Transformation Deficit’. The rate of change has increased x5 since 2016 but the willingness of employees to change has slumped from 74% to 43%.

Whilst this is no surprise against the backdrop of changing workforce dynamics, economic uncertainty and advancing tech it does present a growing problem. It’s clear organisations now need to focus their efforts on supporting employees through these inevitable transformations.

 

Credible messengers to drive change and impact

Seeing people we know and trust, who have direct experience of something, who have lived it, or are working on it, is fundamental to driving adoption, learning transfer and behaviour change. Yet, this is a simple, powerful tactic which is so often neglected.

If we think about the pain points L&D is facing right now, dialling in on peer influence and identifying your credible messengers should be part of any learning and change plan. Take these repeat offenders and the types of stories that will help:

  • Challenge: Internal mobility and retention targets missed
  • Solution: Non-linear career progression stories which show what’s possible and what skills are needed
     
  • Challenge: Learning is too generic and not relevant to me
  • Solution: More context, personalisation, role examples and ‘why’ this is important
     
  • Challenge: Value is hard to demonstrate
  • Solution: impact stories to supplement business ROI
     
  • Challenge: Adoption of new ways of working and transformation (including AI) is slow
  • Solution: Role model stories light the way through real experiences, benefits, myth busters, challenges overcome and what’s changed as a result

StoryTagger

Behavioural science shows the strength of a message lies not just in its content but also in who’s sharing it. Each story’s impact is amplified when told by a credible, relatable messenger – crucial for inspiring behaviour change or learning transfer.

And, with the 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer reporting trust in peers is now on par with scientists when it comes to new innovations and technologies, finding the right employee storytellers is essential.

StoryTagger

 

Top 10 sources to find your most influential storytellers

Looking for storytellers in your organisation who are going to foster trust and inspire action? Try these sources: 

  • Line manager recommendations – who can they suggest?
  • High performers and award winners – leverage their success stories
  • Early adopters – pioneers with new technology or ways of working
  • Role models – those who practise your target values and behaviours
  • DEI community members – voices to champion diversity and inclusion
  • Subject matter experts – those with deep knowledge in specific areas
  • Career growth stories – who has progressed within your organisation?
  • People with positive experiences – share impactful testimonials
  • Alumni network – draw from past experiences and pay it forward
  • Your personal network – tap into your existing connections

The Learning Technologies 25 years campaign is a simple yet brilliant example of storytelling to galvanise peers around a shared narrative and goal. 

Without real stories from credible messengers who have learned that lesson, overcome that challenge, or put a company behaviour into practice, programmes typically fall short of the change they need to achieve. Where will stories make a difference in your organisation?

 

Cheryl Clemons, CEO & Co-Founder

StoryTagger – A video storytelling platform which enables people to share purpose-led work stories to drive learning transfer and change.

Stand D68 at Learning Technologies 2024 Exhibition, 17-18 April.

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