Last month, I attended Elliott Maise’s Learning 2017 conference in Orlando Florida.  The conference, attended by 2,000 people from across the world, offered an eclectic mix of sessions that were surprising, enjoyable and great to learn from.  Here are some things I learned from keynote speakers during the event:

Elliott Masie

Learning is changing, but not because of new products coming to market. Change is being driven by learners who are demanding the same technologies that they have outside of work to be present in their professional lives.

Andrea Wong

User experience is critical to a good learning experience. Andrea Wong, User Experience Researcher at Google advised: “If you are an instructional designer you need to be into user experience.”

Richard Culatta

Research is becoming increasingly important in helping to create better learning experiences, according to Richard Culatta, CEO,  International Society for Training in Education. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conducted research into microlearning during the conference.  

Michelle Obama

"Women need to put themselves first: women are socialised to put themselves down their priority list. Women need to ask themselves: why are you not doing what you need to do look after yourself?" Michelle Obama, the former First Lady told the conference. 

She acknowledged that women worry that they are not being a good mother. “We think we have to do it all,” she said. “It is not good for your family if you don’t get a break.  Be healthy, schedule time for you before you schedule the work”.

Michelle explained how she starts the year putting her priorities first, i.e. school events with her children, workout time, holidays etc. What's left is for work. This allows her to say 'no' to requests for her to do things well in advance. She said: “I am worth being higher on my priority list.”

Jon Lithgow

The actor, John Lithgow made the case for storytelling as a natural part of learning and something that humans love to share.  He gave a mini masterclass in the power of silence by simply stopping and looking at the audience.  In this moment, he asserted extraordinary power over the audience.  We all stopped and waited.  His key message: learn the power of silence in storytelling.

Robots

Artificial intelligence (AI) enhances human capability. Guillermo Miranda introduced the conference to a robot powered by IBM Watson.  Guillermo described the current state of AI development as similar to the early days of the internet, when the internet was just a curiosity. He said: “We are just uncovering what AI can do to augment human capacity and how we can empower all professions not just learning.”

Machine Learning 

AI can be layered on top of our learning experiences to extract data and insights. The LMS is decreasing in importance and is now only one component in the learning ecosystem, as frequently workers learn outside of the LMS.

Curation for learning 

Companies are beginning to decouple their operational learning from compliance training, with learning budgets now held outside of L&D and are beginning to seek out alternative LMS/curation services. Curation of resources for learning content continues to grow both inside and outside of organisations. 

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Julie Wedgwood, Head of Learning Strategy, Sponge UK

Julie Wedgwood heads Learning Design at Sponge UK, leading an accomplished team to bring modern, effective learning design.

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