So maybe we’re overanalysing Buzzfeed’s style of headline writing. But it’s a big show, we needed to get your attention. For those of us in the Learning Tech universe, this is the big one.
But it’s not for us, it’s for you. And you may find yourself wandering around the Olympian space of the, um, Olympia in London, bouncing from stressball to free USB stick, wondering what it is you really need to ask all of these vendors to move your Learning Technology offer forward in 2015.
And of course, many people are here for the first time, trying to make sense of the circus. How can you tell the snake oil from the rocket fuel? We’ve put together a checklist to help you come prepared with some questions – and of course you’ll add your own. Bring it to Stand 144 and we’ll answer all of the questions, in an accent of your choice. Well, in an accent at least.
1. Gamification. That’s not a real word, right? But is it a real thing?
It’s as real as most of the other buzzwords...but really, it shouldn’t be a word any more than learnification should be. We rant about that here. But gaming in a learning context in 2014 did move from high falutin’ concept that only pilots and soldiers used, to being more mainstream.
So do ask, and play the various learning games on offer – could they play a part in your business? McDonald’s are doing a session on it in the conference, showcasing a customer service game we made. We’ll show it in a free seminar session on Thursday at 11:45, and on Stand 144 any time you want. And if anyone offers you a go on Oculus Rift – grab a sick bag and do it.
2. What is 70/20/10? Should I have it?
Thanks to the great Charles Jennings, 70/20/10 (the ideal balance between on the job, peer-to-peer, and formal learning) has become close to an industry standard of good practice in blended learning design. You need to know about it.
But, should you have it? Even if you don’t adhere to the exact formula, you should have more than one way for people to learn, and there are some promising looking sessions with a 70/20/10 flavour. Charles is speaking in a free seminar on 70/20/10 at 14:00 on Thursday. And we’re talking a lot about blends that work – on our stand and in our seminar on blended learning on Thursday at 14:15 in Seminar Theatre 9.
3. Everything’s mobile now right? Can I just assume that?
You could - but you better check as not everyone’s there yet. But you’re right, mobile’s not the new thing, the conversation is a few years old now. Instead we should be talking about multi-device. The fact that learning is mobile should be a given – the key is making it work wherever, whenever, with one version. Adapt is an open source tool that makes it possible – come and see us at Standd 144 and we’ll show you how it all works.
4. My learners aren’t in love with our compliance training. Any ideas?
You’re not alone. Compliance is a dirty word in a lot of L&D teams, with most of it being your standard, dispiriting click-through experience. How can we show our learners more love – or empathy at least? You could consider more campaign driven approaches that focus on key messages and reach learners through different channels. You could assess differently.
You can do better, and we all need to.
It’s worth scouting around for best practice, as it does move on all the time. In the conference, there’s a session with BT and Channel 4 on compliance good practice on Thursday at 13:50. And of course we can show you some compliance examples that go way beyond box ticking at the City & Guilds Kineo Stand.
5. Can you tell me a story?
Storytelling and narrative have always been part of learning, and we’ve been talking about the importance of stories for a long time. It’s become a big part of the conversation this year, with some good sessions on narrative and use of video (13:50, Wedsnesday in the conference) and several more about stories and narrative. Ask vendors to show you real examples of narrative and drama in their solutions – it’s a good way to sense check people’s ability to put a story together, which should be at the core of all good learning.
6. I’ve got a problem, how would you solve it?
Nothing beats free consultancy. Well, maybe free cupcakes, but at Learning Technologies you’ll end up with both. Scope out your biggest learning challenges for 2015. Bring a brief – ask vendors to work with you to come up with ideas. Make it more than just taking their brochure and you’ll get a sense of how they think on the spot. And you might just make a good connection. At Stand 144 we’ll have our consultants fully caffeinated and waiting for you. We’re here to talk about blended learning and in particular the big 4: Compliance, Onboarding, Sales and Product Knowledge, Management and Leadership – and of course all of the learning and technology that makes them happen.
7. I’m not sure where to start -- can you help me?
Don’t feel you have to have a well worked out set of requirements before you get engaged with vendors. It’s never too early – or at least, it shouldn’t be – to seek help and advice. And it shouldn’t just be about the technology choices. In a show that sometimes overwhelms with hype around new products and paradigms, sometimes it’s helpful to go back to the basics of getting big projects to happen. If you’re lucky enough to have a conference pass, there’s a session on project management on Wednesday 28th on ‘Making Major Projects Happen’ at 13:50. Jane Daly from M&S is speaking and she knows her stuff. We’re also running a session called ‘It’s Never Too Early - How, When and Why Consultancy Adds Value to Projects’ – at the sensible time of 11:45 on Wednesday in Seminar Theatre 3.
8. Our onboarding programme could do with a refresh - any ideas?
It’s always a challenge, and you’ll find plenty of discussion at the show about induction and onboarding. Part of the challenge is a mismatch of expectations – learners want one thing, organisations quite another. Drop by our stand and we can show you some examples of where we’ve looked afresh at the blended approach. And you can also get a free guide on good practice in onboarding blends.
9. Can we get social?
Easy now, we’ve all had a few free chocolates. But yes, of course. Social learning is everywhere this year. Most organisations are still trying to make sense of the range of social tools and approaches, and how (or if) they can use them. So ask vendors what social means to them, and how they can help you figure it out. There are several conference sessions including one at 15:30 on Wednesday from the queen of social tools, Jane Hart. Totara LMS also gets social this year too, with Totara Social bringing in some great new functionality.
And of course the show is pretty social itself, with Kate Graham and many sterling companions running a great backchannel. Be sure to jump onto the hashtag #LT15UK and follow what’s going on.
10. What’s new?
More than just a nice way to say hello, it’s a great question to open up the conversation on the stands or in the conference. Rather than recycling what was around last year, ask: What are the new tools, new stories, new implementations? Ask people to show you their latest. You’ll quickly get a sense of where the innovations are this year.
It’s a great place to try weird and wonderful new technologies – which may or may not have an obvious learning application just yet, but don’t let that spoil the fun. We predict there’ll will be plenty of wearable technology there for you to try. And what about some mind control? No really – look at what our US team got up to at ATD ICE in Las Vegas..
So that’s your cheat sheet. Hope we see you there. The exhibition is free and there are hundreds of great seminars. Wear sensible shoes and eat a decidedly non-sensible amount of free sweets...enjoy it!
Find out what we’ve got planned for this year’s show. And if you haven’t already, register for your free LT15 exhibition ticket here.