Once a year, the world of digital learning descends on London Olympia for the Learning Technologies Exhibition – this year it is on February 3rd and 4th.
If you are not careful, you turn up with a ‘I’m just going to find out what’s new’ mission and end up with a spinning head, starving because you missed lunch and weighed under by brochures that you put on the shelf (next to the ones you got the year before).
So, what are you going to do this year to make sure this doesn’t happen?
Well, here is our Bear Grylls meets Ray Mears-style guide to surviving (and getting real value) from the six hours or so that you are going to spend there:
1. Know what you are trying to find out. Don’t just go there to get a feel for things. It’s like going to see the wildlife in an Amazonian forest and logging every animal you see. By the time you have talked aimlessly to people on the first few stands you see, you will have got close to exceeding your brain storage capacity by lunchtime. If this happens, the Learning and Skills area is your best bet to find that quirky head massage freebie.
2. Get a map and compass i.e. work out who you want to talk to and go straight there. Do not stop and linger in the vicinity of the seminar that suddenly took your fancy. You need a plan that you make the day before and don’t get distracted by the guy in the chicken suit en route.
3. Book all your general ‘so what do you do?’ conversations for the morning. Have these chats early on when everyone on the stands are fresher, but not too early as, remember, they’ve just emerged from a fraught trip in a packed carriage from Clapham Junction. Like in the Amazon, there are times in the day when you will see and hear more useful things – the creatures of the LearnTech Forest are nicely active after their first coffee.
4. Try to have your more reflective and in-depth chats in the afternoon. The people on the stands will appreciate taking the time to have less frenetic chats at that time of the day – make sure it isn’t when they are dead on their feet, of course.
5. Bring sandwiches. Bear Grylls can find food anywhere in the forest, but if you think the queue at the Exhibition Café will surely get smaller soon, it won’t.
6. Finally, make sure you actually meet Bear Grylls when you are there. OK, not the real Bear Grylls, but our LearnTech equivalent: City & Guilds Kineo’s top consultants. Our consultants will be on the stand to advise you on anything you want (except building fires, of course). Book your slot in advance so that you get a real quality conversation on your latest L&D challenge.