With the upcoming Learning Solutions 2014 Conference and Expo, which will take place March 19-21 in Orlando, just a week away, I wanted to share some of the sessions that I am looking forward to, as well as some of the companies I would recommend people check out more information. The event is surely one of the highlights of the year in the L&D world.
The keynote sessions will be delivered by Soren Kaplan, Douglas Merrill and Cathy Davidson. Kaplan will present on how individuals, organizations, and business functions can “leapfrog” over assumptions and barriers to identify future opportunities for breakthroughs. Merrill will look at Big Data and how it can be leveraged for effective corporate training, while Davidson will trace “the myth of monotasking” to the Industrial Revolution; things have changed, and it’s only right for our brains to change with them. “It’s time for our schools, our workplaces, and our whole approach to attention to change as well.”
Companies to Look Out For
- WalkMe – WalkMe provides in-work performance support guidance to employees as they work. Like a GPS, WalkMe guides employees through business software in real-time. As they work, employees receive immediate, onscreen step-by-step guidance, in the moment of need, helping them to successfully perform their most important tasks, no matter how complex. What’s nice about a solution like WalkMe is that they look at the learning process not as a single event, but rather, in fact, a long-term process, one which continues as employees perform their daily responsibilities. Be sure to visit them at booth #116.
- Axonify – Axonify really does a nice job taking brain research into how people absorb information with practical business solutions. The company combines principles of behavioral science with the best qualities of gamified and social software to result in a new approach to e-learning and employee awareness—one that empowers organizations to train faster, retain information effectively and perform better. The Axonify system creates a real-time, personalized knowledge map employee by employee, which identifies and closes information gaps. Axonify will be located at booth #607.
- Designing Digitally – Finally, also in the gamification theme, another company that looks worth learning more about is Designing Digitally, who have developed a suite of serious game development services. The company works with companies to create engaging interactive solutions which make learning both fun and impactful. You’ll be able to learn more from them at booth #313.
Hot Topics – Sessions to Be Sure to Attend
I think when you look at the current state of learning technologies, the major trend is personalization, mobility, speed and access. The goal is that learners will be able to find the information they need, from a variety of courses, wherever they are and from whichever device they choose to use. With that said, we’re going to be hearing a lot about gamification, performance support, mobile learning, social learning, MOOC’s, and more. A couple of sessions that look interesting to me:
1. Where Does the Learning Occur in Games? – Wednesday March 19, 1:00pm – 2:00pm. Learning games consultant Rick Blunt will give an introduction to gamification in employee training. There’s been a lot of research the last several years about using games to learn and their positive outcomes. However, the process of designing games for learning is still more an art than a science. Only recently has there been research that helps us identify where people learn in games. This can help instructional designers better collaborate with game designers resulting in better games for learning. In a nutshell, there are four places in games where learning occurs: game mechanics, context, goals, and challenges. The session will provide tips on how to proactively design learning games.
2. “Beyond Blending Learning: Creating a Learning Experience” – Wednesday March 19 from 4:00pm to 5:00pm. Roslyn Gkekas, Learning Advisor at Spectrum Health, will lead this session which will give a personal company story of how Spectrum Health modernized the learning strategy, forming the ‘Spectrum Health University’. According to the conference website, in this case-study session, “participants will learn about the formation of the Spectrum Health University and its directive to rethink their approach to leadership development. You’ll learn how they created a set of structured programs that rely on “learning experiences,” an approach that incorporates a variety of components blended together.”
3. “Dispelling the Myths of Mobile”- Thursday, March 20 at 02:30pm – 3:30pm. David Johnson, Senior Solutions Architect for C² Technologies, examine the various degrees to which companies can incorporate mobile devices into their learning strategies. The session will look at some of the common misunderstanding around adding mobile learning, the present and potential future of mobile learning, and some of the tools available for adopting an m-learning strategy.