This month saw us make the journey to Olympia to discover what was new at the Learning Technologies Summer Forum.
It’s no secret that Learning and Development is going through a major overhaul. From reduced budgets, difficult to access budgets (you know who you are Apprenticeship Levy!), reduced learning time, shorter learner attention spans and technology disrupting traditional methods of learning, so many approaches that have been standard in the world of L&D have been thrown up in the air. There’s no way of knowing where (or if) things will land.
Here’s what we took from the exhibition.
Unsurprisingly, most learning tech appeared to be pitched at people with relatively short attention spans. Soundbites, stats, pictures, short-sharp bursts of information, all aimed at keeping learners engaged.
According to Microsoft’s 2015 report, a consumer’s attention span is now less than that of your average goldfish!
How about this? The average time spent learning each week is a meagre 24 minutes (Deloitte). And the average attention span when viewing video content? Just 2.4 minutes.
Bottom line: Learning content has to be engaging, relevant and delivered quickly. Same rules apply for online and face to face learning.
Content is King (or Queen)
It is no longer acceptable to have mediocre content. Tech advancements mean that it’s easy to produce stunning content. According to Panopto, 75% of people are more likely to watch a video than read an email or article, so video creation just jumped to the top of the content charts. Get ready for your 15 minutes of fame!
“Your own employees are perhaps the most qualified instructors available to you”
Google’s ‘Googler to Googler’ learning programme
For years we’ve heard executives referring to people as their greatest asset, so creating a culture where it is expected that people learn from each other makes perfect sense. Why does learning have to come just from L&D? With social media pervading almost every aspect of our lives, it was just a matter of time before it entered the L&D market. Technology makes it easier to set up social learning programmes where groups of people from across the business can pass on their own experience, expertise and knowledge, without having to leave their desk/coffee shop or shared work hub.
Set up costs are minimal, having a moderator is critical and learning exchanges can be instant. It’s a great way to network (virtually) and share the love when it comes to knowledge and expertise. Too much institutional knowledge remains with the individual so what a great way to keep it in the business.
The Game Changer
Some of the approaches on show at Learning Tech weren’t aimed at companies like ours. We don’t have offices around the world with thousands of staff that need their in-role and career development mapped out neatly on an LMS.
We are agile and work on a project basis with different clients in different sectors and need to provide tailored content on a much smaller scale. The great news for us is that technology is allowing us to compete with much bigger organisations. In the past we would source a Creative agency when we needed one….now we ARE the Creative agency! Technology is enabling us to create content that looks like it has been designed professionally.
Here are some examples of things we have done (just in the last two weeks);
- Produced infographics for an in-development product
- Designed new product summaries for our Aspiring Manager programme that matches our new branding
- Produced an interactive video to be used to welcome and brief a group of participants on a face to face training programme
- Produced a personalised animated video letting one of our clients know how much we love working with them!
- Curated the content for a social learning programme to embed the skills learnt at a global workshop earlier this year
- Designed follow up questions for a microlearning programme designed to help participants keep their knowledge levels high in the weeks and months following a training programme
Here’s the big thing that we took from the Learning Technologies exhibition….L&D is still all about people.
It’s easy to get swept away with the excitement of new technology but the tech is there to enable the magic to happen…the magic where the learner ‘gets it’, ‘uses it’ and ‘refines it’ so they can be more productive. To do all of these things it’s not just the learner that needs to be engaged in the process, it’s their manager too.
According to the LinkedIn 2018 Workplace Learning Report, number two on the list of challenges for talent development in 2018 is ‘increased manager involvement’. More than half of employees say that they would spend more time learning if their manager directed them to complete a specific course in order to gain or improve their skills.
So, the biggest thing that our visit to Learning Technologies got us thinking was this…with all this amazing content and technology aimed at the learner, we have got to be able to use it to support the Manager so that the real magic can happen.
Get in touch to find out what we can do to engage your learners and their managers.