9 considerations from Learning Live 2016


The Learning and Performance Institute’s Learning Live 2016 conference took place in London this week. Having had a train journey to reflect on the talks and conversations we have come up with a few areas that were discussed that are worthy of consideration.

1. How we feel impacts how we take in the world
Professor Richard Wiseman says that when we humans are anxious our ‘attention spotlight’ diminishes and we focus on the thing that is making us anxious. That means we are blocking out lots of other information that could make us feel less anxious. So, when we talk about being creative and innovative – a time when you need to be more open-minded and curious, for example, should we first check-in to see how we are feeling?

2. Small changes can have a big impact
Prof Wiseman shared this video that makes the point that small changes can have a big impact. In American football the ball tends to be passed back before it moves forward. No one ever walks forward . . .

3. The brain misses so much information
In his talk, prof Wiseman shared various illusions to show how easily humans can miss or misinterpret information. Here are some examples.

4. The means to find stuff out has been democratised
Employees do not need L&D thanks to changes in technology that have opened up access to knowledge, according to Elliot Masie. This much we know so let’s start doing great stuff based on this fact rather than trying to control the learning experience.

5. The language L&D uses is confusing (to others)
I heard this point raised a few times and also got into a discussion in one session about the term ‘agile’ as in agile learning. It turned out that agile means different things to different people – it is a project management process but the dictionary definition reads ‘to move quickly and easily’. If agile means to move quickly then why not just say that?

6. Research your users to understand how they learn
This point was made very powerfully by Tom Spiglanin who shared the story of how his daughter uses assistive technology to communicate. By watching how she uses technology Tom concludes that individuals work out their own way of doing things and, in the case of his daughter, can be very resourceful in doing so. How does knowing this feed into learning design?

7. Use what you design
If you create elearning you’d never use yourself, why expect others to use it?

8. Accept the learning legacy to grasp future opportunities
Keynote speaker Elliot Masie was very pragmatic in his approach to where L&D has come from and where it might be going. One thing I took from his talk is that L&D should not get hung up on the past – the failings of the LMS, elearning etc – but accept them for what they are. Rather, L&D should now focus on the future which includes some no or low-cost innovation such as acting as connectors in the organisation, ensuring people know who they need to talk for help.

9. Less content, more competency
Technology means employees can find stuff out which means L&D can be freed up to focus on building competence i.e. focus on the learning by doing. Masie talked about the need for a new type of coaching which would consist of  short performance conversations as and when required.


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