This year I attended parts of both day 1 and 2 of the Learning Technologies Exhibition. My takeaway feeling was that there really seems to be a failure of the learning industry to pick up the pace of change being seen elsewhere.
Too many of the exhibition sessions I attended just covered the basics of the topic. Whilst I appreciate that a 30 minute session, with poor acoustics, is never going to be a wonderful learning environment, however, would you expect to go to a science industry exhibition and have people remind you about the logic that sits behind the Theory of Evolution? Now I’ll admit to having never gone to a biology conference but, I’ll presume, the answer is no. So why do we still see sessions with basic tips on deploying compliance training, how to deal with VUCA environments and what 70/20/10 really means? I appreciate there are new comers* or HR folks attending who only have a passing interest in L&D but perhaps we could see, at least, clearer demarcation of sessions between “beginners”, “practitioners” and “demos”? Donald Taylor, the architect of the conference and exhibition, has talked about Learning Leadership. I would be tempted to say the exhibition, and perhaps even the conference, now need to evolve to encourage this.
* one of the most interesting conversations I had was with a business studies university student who was in London for the day to better understand practical application of learning and performance improvement in the workplace. This made me realise that the problems I had with the show were perhaps that, after ten-ish years of attending the show and having attended the conference last year, I am now in the stage where I should aim for networking, catch-ups and a few sessions rather than filling most of my time with the free exhibition sessions.
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