AITD Conference National Conference – a retrospective on key challenges and future opportunity

We have picked out some of the resounding messages from EduTECH, also the AITD National Conference and Learning@Work expo. There was a definite “content is king” message being used by most of the presenters. This not only validates our Go-To-Market approach but as a positive trend, it led people to ask;

  • is this content the best available content there is?
  • where did it come from, and how is it currently being used?
  • does this content solve the problem? If not, what needs to happen for it to solve the problem?

When looking at our changing organisation, these questions leading from “content is king”, should provide enough context that will identify the specific problem that the training attempts to address.

Here’s our round-up of take-outs.

Justine LaRoche, Director, Spring Point, on Demonstrating the impact of learning opened with the provocative question “do we care if they loathe it?” The assumption for the rest of the session was, we do.

We know that people have more expectations of their digital training, there are more complaints, and there’s more readily-available information out in the ether. Training is a big job motivator – particularly for the millennials. If someone can get training as part of a job, they’ll be inclined to use that training and remain in the job with an employer that’s developing them.

Bernard Salt on developing the talent that Australia will need in the 2020s, opening his presentation posing the question;

“Australia in the 2020s.  Is it a good place for our young people to be?”

Australia is a Fusion culture.  Looking to the future our culture is increasingly Indian, Asian and Arabic. We are an outward looking people with a malleable, adaptable culture. Adaptability is our greatest skill.  People can fit in here and bring skill set and transition.

Engagement through education is an opportunity.  There is a need to fill the connection gap.  We are looking for a new way to create a sense of community and tribalism.


Our greatest challenge in the 21st century is on promoting inclusion and engaging an authentic community. Digital disruption is polarising the workforce. Adaptability, fluidity, flexibility and being articulate are the biggest skills required to future proof careers.



Buzzwords were aplenty across the conference. Making training “learner-centric”, “shorter”, “relevant”, while using elements of “gamification” and “storytelling”. Learner-centric and relevant basically describe the same thing, ‘shorter’ is a business objective in the world of online learning, and ‘gamification’ is a word used to describe concepts that are usually shoe-horned into training by people who don’t play videogames.

We strongly agree with storytelling. Kineo’s Lead Learning Designer for course content, Jonathon Klynsmith believes that a deep understanding of a narrative approach to training is vital, for clearly structuring training to the learner.

Also, video was highlighted as the “most engaging medium”. It’s certainly popular, yet what is the science behind measuring engagement? How are we measuring ‘behavioural change’ in our learners?


The go-to-market strategy is an interesting consideration from a learning design perspective. We’re seeing more and more learning ‘campaigns.’  For example, fake spam emails designed to assess the learner base, or preliminary ‘breadcrumb’ information about training information being delivered to workforces prior to the training. This is something that L&D should start considering.

When you consider implementation, think about:

  • Communication
  • Eliminating barriers
  • Enrolling your learners
  • Timing the training well, and
  • How are you using your LMS?

Jonathan adds that “Culture (to me) requires a real mindset change to combat the ‘grudge’ learner.

On the myths of microlearning

Microlearning as a tool born out of necessity – Deloitte reports that only 1% of people’s time a week is spent on staff training.

“Content first – modality last”.

AI was also picked up as the biggest workforce opportunity. In the realms of our changing workplace, automation can be incredibly assistive for taking away mundane repetitive tasks and replacing them with opportunity for more humanistic activities where employees can benefit from broadening their skillset.  Also taking more value and pride from their work. We aren’t needing to build soft skills, these are essential skills.

‘easy A learning’ was a strong theme in the conference: Developing empathy, resilience, compassion and wellbeing as essential to preparing people for the modern world of work. Enhancing what makes us human.

Only time will tell if the above is fully realised.  Looking forward to seeing what the message is, along with new and exciting learning opportunity.  One thing is clear it’s going to be an interesting journey that will keep us all on our toes.