Lately I have been doing more learning design work than I have for a number of years, and more delivery of that design too. It feels little like going back to my roots, yet at the since my early days in L&D there has been a fundamental shift in me and in our industry, and therefore in the work I deliver. We have embraced technology in learning and proven it delivers good results. For me, the shift happened in late 2012 / early 2013.
It is true to say that visiting Learning Technologies in 2013 changed my life. At the time I was head of learning at a global organisation. I was delivering a lot of training. I travelling a lot – 12 countries in 14 weeks towards the end of 2012. I was not necessarily able to guarantee all my delegates got the best me and the best learning experience, as I often didn’t know what day of the week it was nor which country I was in! That amount of travel and sustained effort was gruelling. It was very apparent we needed a solution which could help provide “me on a good day, every day” and could provide everyone else to everyone else for peer to peer learning too. Hence the trip to Learning Tech.
It was there I found that I was not mad, that digitising me into learning in short soundbites was not an impossibility, that I no longer needed to be in a different country every week in order to be effective. I saw that community could be formed around purpose and facilitated technology. I learnt that motivation and marketing are key to successful tech implementation. I felt that the role of the Head of L&D was changing, rapidly. It was there (although I didn’t know it at the time) I found my new career, helping others to tread a new journey away from battered passports and injection education, towards learning which is present in multiple formats, when people need it, how they need it, from multiple participants in their organisation, and even from outside their organisation.
So if this is you, if you are visiting Learning Technologies 2017 looking for technology to transform your life, I wish you luck in your quest. My advice to you is simple; believe you can and you will. What this practically looks like (for I am a practical consultant now) is:
- Know your purpose – why are you looking for a tech solution? Tech is only the enabler, not the answer to all your prayers. Have you a fully formed plan for modern learning? Make one.
- Know your goals – if your purpose is why you want tech, your goals are what you want the tech to do for you. You may be challenged to find tech that does exactly what you need. Be open minded, and be mindful of promises of changes to suit your goals. How long might those changes take to make? Do you really need tech to do all that? Start simple.
- Know your numbers – how many users, how many countries, how many programmes, how many everything. These details will help you sift through the many exhibitors by getting accurate, easy to compare details.
- Know your price – there are now solutions to suit every pocket. Understanding your budget will help you spend your exhibition time wisely and not get sucked into the ‘shiny shiny’ you will never be able to afford.
- Know your internal market – the internal sell will be a huge part of the new story, so it is important to have stakeholder input and support, from c-suite to users. Speaking with their authority helps you not to waste the exhibitors’ time.
- Know your external market – what tech are other similar organisations using? They may have done some of the leg work and be further along than you, so meeting up with them at Learning Tech can be a great use of your time, as you can hear their stories and pitfalls.
If you still have concerns about how you will get the most out of the Learning Technologies Exhibition, do not hesitate to contact me. I have trodden your path and I understand your stories. I now make a living helping people just like you, so do not hesitate to get in touch. Twitter is best, I am @MiPS1608 and as part of the Blogsquad team for the event, you may find that #LT17UK will be a great source of inspiration for your visit to Learning Technologies.
I wish you fun on your journey, and on your tour around Learning Technologies. I hope it will be as life changing for you as it was for me back in the day.