CIPD L&D SHOW MAY 2017: Part 2

Following on from my last post about the CIPD show, a couple of interesting things from the show floor that (I think) were new to me:

Zoho Showtime

I used Zoho apps years ago when they were as well developed as any SAAS solution (guess they would inevitably be called ‘cloud apps’ now).  This included their rather excellent database tool (Forms I think) that allowed for my team, at the time, to create what was (effectively) an institutional digital repository for past exam papers.  Now this was limited in functionality, compared to what you might get with, say, a full library management system tool, but it did the job of record keeping with a searchable interface for end users. So it was interesting to see Zoho ShowTime being advertised at the show.

ShowTime seems like a really interesting attempt to combine presenter elements (Slideshare-esque sharing/presentation), audience interaction (a busy market place considering the remaining audience response system market players, mobile orientated like Socrative, virtual tools like Blackboard Collaborate that can be used in f-2-f too, etc.) and, of course, data and analytics.

Certainly something to try next time I do a presentation and a shame I missed out at my conference presentation last week.


I have some history with LCMS projects so it was interesting to see a new player on the exhibition floor.  Ixxus is, seemingly, a well developed product moving into the learning market (presumably with the likes of Xyleme and Exact in their sites) from a publishing background.

For big content authoring teams it certainly seems to offer a lot – although the tool as a way to “move away from monolithic courses…toward, flexible, personalized and ‘bitesize’ content” is a bit of a hard sell given the challenge many organisations would face in moving towards a CMS approach.  However, certainly interesting to see a player I was not aware of in this space.

CIPD L&D Show May 2017

Not too much to report from this year’s show as I left after only about 4 hours and only a couple of the learning sessions.  However, I did have some good chats with people on the floor and it was pretty clear what the main growth area was from last year – apprenticeships providers, levy support, etc etc.

I left early partly as I was full of cold but also as the first session I sat through, from the Open University, had a narrower focus than their sessions in the past and did not really answer the topic (“How to Make Your Digital Learning More Engaging”).  A nice cartoon fell in the trap of many such eLearning examples – repeatable production values.  Yes the concepts are true – humor, animation, bite-size, storytelling, etc but it worked as an example due to the quality: most of us are not going to get David Mitchell to do voice-overs on our eLearning.  It then reverted to being much a pitch for making use of their content platforms – OpenLearn and FutureLearn – i.e use their digital learning not your own.  Which is an argument you could make of course.

The second session I attended, was from Bolt From the You Ltd, on “Making it Stick – Turning learning into real change”.  This was better and considered why change does not happen: lack of engagement (needs to be fixed by being linked to the individual, think about how measure for impact), lack of learning culture (need ownership and partnership from sponsors to drive through) and to close gap:

Attention density:

Exposure + repetition + application = permanent change.

Reflections on #LT17uk

I only had around 6 hours in the Learning Technologies exhibition this year (for those who’ve never been – that’s not a lot!) and it helped me stay focused – mostly just walking the hall and meeting people (I stuck to the plan and spent much less time in the free seminars).

Your experience of such shows is, obviously, influenced by current personal/workplace concerns – but here are some of my takeaways…


Listen to the fortune cookie!

  1. Authoring tools – is it now time to move away from Articulate (see my previous posts on the trial of 360 and problems with Rise for more)?
    1. The ramifications of the changes with Articulate have been identified as one of ten eLearning trends and this infographic actually does a fair job of summarizing the big topics that were evident at the wider LT show.
    2. There remain a vast number of options and its perhaps now the case that one has to look at multiple tools – splitting out software simulation, VR, presentations, etc?
  2. LMS or HR platform – after almost a year in role I feel in a better position to consider the pros and cons of the current setup and possible alternatives.  Stick or twist?
    1. Interesting to hear Harold Jarche’s views that whilst there is rebranding and changes to the companies involved there remains not “a whole lot of new” – I would agree.  VR/AR/MR was more prevalent but still lots of stalls with content, platforms, etc.  An in the platform world there remain the big players (like Cornerstone) and lighter touch options – as well as multiple Totara partners.
  3. L&D capability – I’ve got a Kirkpatrick certification course with DPG coming up (I’ll blog in more detail why as I appreciate that’s a controversial choice!) and it was interesting to consider where we’re strong and where we may have gaps beyond that topic.  Should we all do DPG’s new 70-20-10 programme?
    1. I wouldn’t really think about 70-20-10 approach as something to be workshopped/developed but it looks an interesting approach to rolling up performance consulting, modern design and evaluation all in one development package.  The challenge, I guess, is if this should be topics new for people or is really certifying existing knowledge and behaviors.  Also if this is of value over the existing 70-20-10 Forum, etc.?
  4. Future of learning and performance – I mention above about VR/AR/MR but there was still a lot of content and blended learning talks.  What is the future?  How do we balance individual knowledge/skills growth with shorter term engagement/empowerment?  What should be the balance of individual career development, long term wider workforce planning and short term performance?
    1. There still seems to be a lot of push on concepts that have been around longer than I have.  However, it is difficult to challenge this considering I am more than aware that even my own organization is still very face-to-face orientated!
    2. There were more interesting bits though – including TTS and their performance support system (that offers some interesting possibilities for exposing knowledge out to the point of need – not buried in an LMS or Intranet).
  5. Future of Learning within organizations.  The Learning Tech show always involves some navel-gazing and there continues to be the feeling of a split between the “performance” element and more of the “corporate university” type model.  Are they mutually exclusive?
    1. To do my own bit of gazing, I’d say not.  An approach for, say, leadership development can incorporate formal learning and certifications.  Indeed there’s the option to revenue generate if you open your doors.  The apprenticeship levy will also influence how L&D teams tackle these issues and it was interesting to see the likes of bksb and Tribal on the exhibition floor.
    2. Curation remained a theme but it is one that remains a concern for me.  Kate Graham puts it on her blog “In L&D we trust”, however, I fear this may be wishful thinking considering what has happened to library/information teams.  This comes back to my own view on the need for merging/bleeding of skills between marketing, learning, knowledge and more.  Curation is of value but how this works in practice must add value and capture the needs of the organization.  Again, the TTS style approach may be a useful way to break from the “LMS first” dynamics of too many L&D teams.

Avoiding cynicism during tradeshow season

This week and next I’ll be doing my usual pilgrimages to the BETT and Learning Technologies exhibitions.  Some of my notes from previous years are on this site (BETT16; BETT14; LT16; LT15; LT14).

On reflecting about what I want to get out of these shows this year I realised the growing levels of cynicism in my previous reviews.

I then read Laura Overton’s mind shifts for 2017 piece and realized that it is perhaps as I’ve just now just been around a while!  Obviously I don’t hold Laura’s level of experience but her fourth point resonated:

I’ve been going since it started years ago and it is great to catch up with old friends. However it’s a time when cynicism can abound, particularly with those who have been around a bit.

After all, we’ve been talking about how the latest tech will change the world, about performance, the need to get managers on board, to communicate more for decades.

These are not new ideas but our cynicism and fixed mindset thinking kicks in when we believe we see no change.

Whilst the concept of disruption is all the rage right now in L&D, fundamentally we need to apply the idea of radically transforming the norm to our own thinking, especially our cynicism. A growth mindset will ask – why no change? Was it that the time wasn’t right? Is the time right now? What can I do to make a difference now?

One weakness I have is that I perhaps do not take enough positive feeling from the change and impact I’m having – instead frustrated by the slow pace (or lack of) clear change.  Rather than just thinking “yeah, heard this before” I’m keen, this year, to get more out of the events:

  1. Get a feel for what may be possible from BETT – 3D/VR/AR are of real interest to me at the time being as the practical skills in my workplace would lend themselves to these types of technologies – making virtual learning far more real whilst maintaining a safe learning environment (well VR would at least).  If Microsoft don’t have a Hololens, to try their take on AR, I’m going to be disappointed.
  2. More generally BETT should be a good opportunity to get a feel for what is happening in schools – as I’ve argued before: an understanding of this is essential for workplace learning pros who want to build suitable inductions and optimize future readiness.
  3. At Learning Tech I’m going to be more of a ‘guide’ as I’m taking my head of department to the show and she will be a ‘newbie’.  As we have a meeting in the morning we’re likely to be restricted to about half a day in the exhibition so I suspect it will be something of a whistle-stop tour – that should be good as it will stop me listening to as many of the free presentations.  I think last year, in-particular, a number of those sounded like broken records.  It should be a great opportunity to drive home some key messages and some of the things I keep banging on about…

and on that last point – Laura’s 6th point (“believe in yourself”) is another worth reflecting on.  This time last year I was looking for work and was increasingly frustrated – both with (only some it has to be said) agencies (due to lack of contact/followups/etc) and with conversations/interviews where I felt I could contribute to an organisation but the recruitment processes were frustrating or annoying.  Thankfully I’ve found an organisation where my skills and experience are a good fit – now just to avoid the cynicism and keep on driving on performance improvement and employee empowerment!

Learning Pool Live 2016

Learning Pool Live was another ‘roaring success‘ for the company – even in its enlarged form having incorporated the MindClick user base as well all the ‘potential’ customers like me.

The event was, as in previous years, full of energy and good sessions.  Unfortunately I was feeling very rough so didn’t take as much out of it as I might have previously – I skipped the closing keynote to get some air – which is possibly why its taken me so long to reflect and make some notes!

David Meade

Like last year – a really invigorating start to the day.  The humour he brings stops this being too cheesy and it is a great start point for thinking how we can make eLearning as engaging as his activities/presentation.

I’d agree that, with the right establishment of environments and mindsets, change is possible.

Deborah Frances White

Another presenter I’ve seen before who is also always very engaging – including on her recent RHLSTP appearance.

The focus of this session was on some of the tweaks you can make to be better at communication, especially presentations, largely common sense but certainly some ‘ah yes’ moments:

  • not some kind of magic, most people are coached to be better – even the most polished communicators have developed their skills and charisma
  • can learn from the comedy circuit, new talent night is full of people who develop self confidence over time
  • if you want to develop your confidence do an open mic night, or karaoke…SOBER
  • corporate world presentations set a very low bar, can be relatively good quite easily!
  • weight on front foot for posture, avoid being ‘prey’. Act like the hunter: purposeful movement, decisive, don’t hide behind lecterns or furniture, etc.
  • PowerPoint should not be used to distract from you or the message
  • yes, be authentic, but not if that means being crap – be your best self
  • think how you want people to FEEL by turning up to a session
  • you are Lady Gaga – slides are back up dancers.

Cathy Moore

Anyone with an Instructional Design (ID) background will know Cathy’s work, indeed I used to reference her in my MSc papers.

Lots of valid points made, albeit that I’m more than aware I fall down on implementing this best practice [why included as sub bullets]:

  • design activities not information, activities to fix a real world challenge and use information as the evidence
    • I’d say the issue here is that SMEs often think it terms of chunks of knowledge dumps – whilst you sometimes get to the bottom of issues through performance consulting too often people struggle to articulate what they really do or how they need other people to change
  • if quizzing you’ll be encouraging short term memory for people to pass the test
    • yep, I tend to avoid this as much as possible.  However, it is one approach to ensure key messages are actually being picked up and I find is useful to check that someone going through a branching exercise still sees the bigger picture.  Also, pretesting is, of course, very valuable in relation to compliance and the like.
  • feedback in eLearning can be presented as from HR or another character – not just a ‘god’ type voice
    • yes, one of the best outcomes I’ve had working with a vendor on a bespoke project was where an ex-boss character acted as a coach throughout, effectively introducing models and information via feedback.
  • shift from ‘what they need to know’ to ‘what do they need to do’
    • I normally always try the second question but the challenge is moving sponsors away from the first position.
  • space the activities, with rising challenge if possible. Can cap off with live chat if needed to allow for discussion and reflection
    • I’m always keen to break things on an LMS but mobile is realistically the only way try spacing is going to work.
  • her action mapping is one approach to changing this, use with SME to ask questions. First question is ‘what is the goal?’ then ‘what they need to do’, ‘why aren’t they doing it’, etc.

e-Learning for Healthcare

Into the client case studies and examples with this one…

They have 20,000 learning objects but this focused on a particular project (MindEd) where the audience was less clear than some other pieces of content.  This led to a pretty exemplar ID project including bringing in a wide variety of stakeholders to the design process.  One advantage of this was to capture stories from people directly impacted by the issues and these testimonials became valuable narrative for the learning.  The end product was also more visual and designed for mobile, with rich graphic design, compared to previous work.  This won Adapt project of the year in the day’s award ceremony.


The particular learning team presenting realised they needed to accelerate innovation to avoid extinction.

Mindclick were also facing a challenge from digital agencies moving into learning – challenge to up their game around fantastic design.  Started to think of ‘players’ not ‘learners’ – create exploration where rules are clear and failure accepted.

Barclays UK academy set out their six user experience principles, meeting different profiles of learner they’d identified, and started working in more agile (less waterfall) kinds of ways.  One outcome of this is a secondary gamification platform that sits outside of their firewall but leverages the LMS.

Summary and link to slides: evolve to survive.

MindClick Gamification

Mostly another look at their Boots game – challenging the knowledge retention issues of traditional learning.

Summary: give choice, add element of risk, encourage healthy competition.  Keep it relevant though and learn through failure.