Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Reflections on the Learning Technologies Conference (#LT18UK)

First thing: Plan to come to the Learning Technologies conference. Learning from L&D folks from the UK, Europe, and elsewhere gives you a wider view of workplace learning around the world. And having international L&D connections are priceless. How else would I have had the opportunity to meet Lesley Price's cats? And work with the amazing Mirjam Neelen?

Although US learning conferences often have some international presence, most of what we discuss relates to what we do in the US and Canada. Globalization has changed learning and work. It's not enough to know how workplace learning supports organizations where you live. Globalization means understanding work globally and how to support it.

The conference is a great place to meet, discuss, and learn from others. Donald Taylor knows how to put together a terrific conference and personally understands global workplace learning. The Expo is 10+ times larger than any you've been to in the USA. The conference is medium sized and you don't become a small dot in a sea of dots. It's easy to walk up to just about anyone and ask about their work (and it's a great way to learn).

I spent most of my time either talking to people, preparing for our presentation (Mirjam Neelen and I discussed how technology and globalization are changing the workplace and how that changes L&D's role), or answering questions about my work. Here are some impressions from the sessions I was able to attend.
  • A LOT of people are investing in microlearning like it's THE ANSWER. I'm writing an evidence-based (research-driven) response and it'll be out soon.
  • There is a wide disparity among organizations in the use of learning technologies. Some are just getting started and others are looking at ways to use virtual reality and augmented reality. We need to be very careful to meet organizations where they are.
  • There was a terrific session on globalization and women in our field. I saw that globalization has impacted the careers of other women just as has affected and is continuing to impact mine. 
  • Connie Malamud, Will Thalheimer, Mirjam Neelan, and I discussed research-driven approaches! Thank you, Don Taylor, for allowing us to put forth our research-driven L&D practices coalition (I just made this term up... it's not a thing. Yet.)
To help you adopt a more global understanding of our field, here are just a few of the L&D peeps I got to meet at Learning Technologies to follow on Twitter:

Jo Cook @LightbulbJo

Kate Graham @kategraham23

Mirjam Neelen @mirjamn

Lesley Price @lesleywprice

Julie Drybrough @fuchsia_blue

Barbara Thompson @CaribThompson

Rob Hubbard @RobHubbard

As usual, the best part of conferences is learning from each other. Learning Technologies is an especially good conference for this!

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