Learning Live: Our reflections

Ross Garner and Gent Ahmetaj share their thoughts, insights and takeaways from this year’s Learning Live conference from the Learning Performance Institute (LPI).

Written by Mind Tools for Business
Published 21 September 2022
Learning Live: Our reflections

If you want to know what the learning industry cares about, there are few better ways than to attend a conference. Away from all the “Try-this!”, “Why-this”?’, “Do-you-want-to-buy-this?”, you gain an insight into what the organizers think is important – and what attendees care about.

At Learning Live 2022, sessions focused on measuring Return on Investment (ROI), learning culture, and, of course, how learning technologies are adapting to support a hybrid workforce. This focus aligns with our Mind Tools research, published in our 2022 Annual L&D Benchmark Report. Based on survey data from 722 L&D Leaders and their teams, we found that collaborative learning, use of data, people development, and culture were the four biggest challenges. 

This leads us to the following questions:  

  • What tools can we use to support learning?  

  • How do we ensure that our culture encourages the use of these tools?  

  • And how do we know that any of this is working? 

On Day 1 of Learning Live, speakers included the L&D Detective himself, Kevin M Yates, and digital learning consultant Myles Runham. Both discussed the return on investment of learning. If you’d like to hear more from themRoss and Nahdia at Learning Live 2022, Kevin and Myles have appeared on the Mind Tools L&D Podcast, and Kevin joined us for a live webinar back in 2020

Of particular interest to Ross was Shelley Hope and Dr Lee Rowland’s session, ‘How to use Behavorial Science to Embed a Digital Learning Culture’. This session offered some useful insights on the levers we can use to shape an organization’s learning culture. Some of the key takeaways from Shelley and Lee included: 

  • Culture doesn’t just shape behavior. Behaviors also shape culture! If we want to develop a learning culture, a good place to start is to identify the behaviors we want to see and then use insights from behavioral science to promote them internally. 

  • Those insights include putting learners in charge of their learning experiences, providing rewards for taking part in learning, using storytelling and social proof to encourage participation, and making changes to the learner’s context to promote desired behavior. 

While Shelley and Lee are still evaluating the case study they shared, and Ross didn’t agree with every aspect of their approach, it was a worthwhile case study that raised some interesting questions.

On Day 2 of the conference, keynote speaker Steven Bartlett talked about a range of experiences and topics around business, growth, and learning. He touched on a point particularly relevant to the L&D community, saying that: “… you can’t just ask to innovate, you have to build incentives, change structures, and shift behavior”.

This aligns with the primary research at Mind Tools for Business. For almost two decades we’ve explored the deep interdependence between L&D strategic achievements, practices and behaviors, structure and technology eco-system, and employee learning.

For Gent, two sessions stood out at Learning Live. The first was Pete Ashcroft’s neat introduction to what the metaverse is and its merits, especially related to learning and development. These included personalization, deep experiences, next-level gamification, and user-generated content. As he was closing the session, Pete remarked that the metaverse is “... how we are going to use the internet tomorrow”.

The second session was a panel discussion about how best to leverage and validate investment in learning - Gent can’t allow himself a day off when it comes to hearing something about data!

The discussion focused on what L&D teams collect data on, and why it is important to shift metrics from functional (e.g. learning hours or completion rates) to transformational (e.g. behavioral change, performance improvement). Panelist Satnam Sagoo highlighted why it’s also important not to glorify data but to scrutinize it. She pointed out that convincing business leaders is often about recognizing what they care about and being able to show findings that relate to that in thirty seconds.

Satnam’s comments are echoed in our annual research report, where we show that top-performing organizations prioritize developing their people, treating it as a continual and holistic process, and that they are six times more likely to integrate performance management into their learning strategies. What’s more, our report identifies the need to be data-led to prepare for the future, and that, above everybody else, top-performers use performance data to measure the impact of their learning strategy.

There’s much more to uncover in our report, which you can access here.  

Thank you to everyone who connected with us at Learning Live – it was a great couple of days! 

Were you at Learning Live? Do you agree with Ross and Gent’s observations? What were the highlights for you?  

If you didn’t have a chance to connect with us on the day, we’d love to hear from you.

About the author

Mind Tools for Business

Mind Tools for Business

Mind Tools for Business brings accessible, on-demand performance tools and resources focused on leadership, management and personal effectiveness that empower colleagues to perform in today’s progressive workplaces. Helping them build happy and successful careers and to contribute positively to the success of organizations, the world over. At Mind Tools for Business, empowering people to thrive at work has been our passion for 25 years.

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