A guide to Learning Technologies 2015

Posted on Jan 27, 2015

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More people than ever before are expected at this year’s learning technologies 2015 – Europe’s leading L&D conference on January 28 and 29 at London’s Olympia.

It’s the biggest event yet in its 16 year history with 7,000 visitors, 150 free seminars and 250 exhibitors in two massive exhibition halls.

But with such a lot going on, it can be hard to know where to go and who to see.

Here’s a short (discerning) guide to learning technologies 2015:

Awesome Keynotes

If you are lucky enough to have a conference pass, then this year’s opening speakers are not to be missed.

Professor Sugata Mitra from Newcastle University will share his inspiring vision of a future where children will teach themselves. The one million dollar TED prize winner will explain how his ‘School in the Cloud’ experiments challenge what we know about learning today. (09.40-10.40, Jan 28, Tracks 1-5.)

There’s also the instantly recognisable Professor Robert Winston. He has bought science to life in our living rooms for decades in award-winning TV shows such as Child of Our Time and The Human Body. At the conference, he will explore how the ability to learn has shaped humans and what can inhibit us from using our brains to their full potential. (09.40-10.40, Jan 29, Tracks 1-5.)

Elearning Legends

You may have read their books or blogs but now is the chance to see them in the flesh. The event attracts the industry’s leading thinkers and here are just a few we have picked out:

  • Patti Shank – The award-winning author has a passion for sharing her knowledge and skills about elearning. She will be asking Does instructional design have a future?in a thought-provoking conference session - surely, a must for all IDs. (T1S2, Jan 28, 13.50-15.00.)
  • David Kelly – Wearable technology has everyone talking, so who better to share his thoughts and experiences than Kelly, who is Program Director for the eLearning Guild. There are two chances to catch his thoughts in a session on New Technologies (T1S3, Jan 28, 15.30-16.40) and one on  Emerging Tech (T1S4, Jan 29, 11.10-12.20.)
  • Tom Kuhlmann – He’s Chief Learning Architect at Articulate and always generous with his practical tips and tricks. This year, he will be focusing on gamified elearning and how to build it using the popular Storyline authoring tool (Theatre 2, Jan 29, 15:30-1600.)

learning technologies 2015 Pick & Mix

There are more than 70 speakers at this year’s conference on every elearning subject you care to mention. Here are a few of our highlights:

  • Learning, technology and the future - Futurist, Gerd Leonhard will share his views of how the learning landscape will differ in the coming decades. From haptic presence to new human-machine interfaces, he will explore the impact on individual, group and societal behaviour (T1S1, Jan 28, 11:10-12:20.)
  • Building smart scenarios for great learning - Cathy Moore, one of the world's top instructional designers, will explore the key to creating a good scenario. In the format of a mini-workshop, she will focus on writing multiple-choice scenario questions. (T4S3, Jan 28, 15:30-16:40.)
  • The power of seeing it for real – Case studies are an important part of learning technologies 2015 and Lisa McCandless of the global snack manufacturer, United Biscuits will share an inspiring example. Working with Sponge, United Biscuits used powerful video featuring its own staff in an elearning module looking at performance management and dealing with tricky conversations. You can read more about the case study in a special edition of HR Grapevine Magazine, available in all conference packs. (T3S6, Jan 29, 15:30-1640.)

Free Seminars

One of the great things about learning technologies 2015 is the host of free seminars covering all manner of topics. With 150 on offer this time around you will need to be selective, so here’s a hand-picked selection:

Towards Maturity, the not-for-profit organisation which helps others to improve the impact of learning technologies 2015 at work, is offering two free seminars. The organisation’s MD, Laura Overton will be hosting a power-packed session with practical tips called How to get your L&D team in tip top condition for 2015(Theatre 10, Jan 28, 10:30). And TM’s Head of Advisory Services,Marnie Threapleton, will draw on insight from over 15,000 learners to deliver a session on Debunking the ‘Learner Centric’ Myths of L&D (Theatre 5, 29 Jan, 15:30). Towards Maturity’s Definite Guide is also a great source if you’re looking for some direction or inspiration about what to do at learning technologies 2015.

Games are a big talking point for the industry but discussions can often get bogged down in theory. Sponge is running a very practical seminar exploring the process of creation of an affordable elearning game on skills development. The session will provide an insight from coming up with the initial idea through to a live demonstration of the final product. Hosted by Sponge’s Managing Director, Louise Pasterfield and Creative Director, Kate Pasterfield, the seminar called Behind the Scenes: Creating Elearning Games Using Interactive Video is available on both days of the event (Theatre 4, Jan 28, 11:00-11:30) and (Theatre 9, Jan 29, 12:45-13:15).

Clive Shepherd, the renowned L&D Consultant, will be sharing ideas of how short, sharp video 'triggers' can emotionally engage a learner and change their behaviour in a session called Small videos, big learning: Using bite-size videos to drive behavioural change(Theatre 5, Jan 29, 10:15 - 10:45).

Badges, furballs and leaderboards: uses and abuses of gamification is one of the most imaginatively titled sessions! Igor Cenar from JollyDeck will look at the successes and mishaps of gamification (Theatre 6, Jan 29, 11:00-11:30).

Conference Quirks

There is always something different to catch your eye at learning technologies 2015. The more unusual offerings include:

  • Drones - Look up at learning technologies 2015 this year and you could see something unexpected. Touch screen software specialists, Pauley are demonstrating drone technology at the show and its possible use within future learning. Professional pilots will be flying the devices around to give people a taste of drone capability.
  • Starring Role - You could end up starring in a demonstration video being filmed around the exhibition by Omniplex who will turn the footage into an interactive video live on stage. (Theatre 5, Jan 29, 11:45-12:15).
  • Absorbing Giveaways - For one of the most unusual conference giveaways, head to Sponge at Stand 112 where you can claim a free natural, sustainably-sourced sponge.

Making life easier

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the scale of the event so follow a few golden rules to optimise your visit:

  • Get there early – Some of the most popular free seminars are likely to fill up quickly and space is limited so arrive early for your chosen sessions or you may be disappointed.
  • Use the app – There is an extremely useful app available with all the information you need to navigate your way successfully around the event.
  • Make a plan – Take some time to make a list or schedule of the talks you want to catch and the people you to meet. Account for the time it will take to move from one location to another, especially at busy periods.

But most of all have a great time!

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