Learning Technologies 2016: Session Details

Learning Technologies event logoFollowing on from my previous post on the Learning Technologies 2016 backchannel team, here are the nitty gritty details on who’s covering which sessions. Our dream team of contributors will be working hard to share insights and key takeaways from every single session of the conference. Remember, we use individual session hashtags so you can hone in on the specifics of certain topics or presentations. So if you particularly want to know what David Kelly has to say then you can just search #T1S3. All session tags are detailed below (we don’t have specific tags for the keynotes because SO many people share from these that you can just follow the overall #LT16UK hashtag and keep up!)

Day one: Keynote: Triggers – Creating Behaviours That Last, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith

goldsmith Dr. Marshall Goldsmith is the world authority in helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behaviour: for themselves, their people and their teams. In this interactive keynote, Marshall will begin with a discussion of how triggers in our environment can easily throw us off course and stop us from becoming the person we want to be. I’m looking forward to this as a bit of a change in direction from keynotes in recent years. Less focus on technology but should be fascinating as we all have behaviours we want to change or create!
Day one: 11.10 – 12.20

Day one: 13.50 – 15.00

Day one: 15.30 – 16.40

  • #T1S3 – A Look Ahead: The Now and the Next of Learning and Technology, David Kelly (Covered by Alistair Cockroft and Kim George)
  • #T2S3 – Getting the Blend Right for Project Management, Martina Donnelly and Sue Hawke (Covered by Dorian Dandridge and Sarah Hetherington)
  • #T3S3 – Creating a Social and Micro Learning Enterprise Culture, Emma Pace and Abel Henry (Covered by Andy Nock)
  • #T4S3 – Action Mapping – Throw Them in at the Deep End, Cathy Moore (Covered by Sam Taylor and Michelle Parry-Slater)
  • #T5S3 – Unconscious Bias and the Mind: Challenging the Way We Think About Thinking, Tesia Marshik (Covered by Julie Drybrough and Susie Finch)

Day two: Keynote: Today’s Change, Tomorrow’s Work: The Fundamental Shifts of the Future, Ben Hammersley

ben_hammersleyOpening day two of the conference, Ben Hammersley will scan the horizon of technological and societal change and ask how fit for purpose our traditional workplace models are. Technology, underpinned by the internet, is changing the way we work, live and learn. How will abundant information, ultra-connectivity and a global economy transform things? And how will our ideas of working and of learning have to shift to keep up?

Day two: 11.30 – 12.30

  • #T1S4 – The Latest in Mobile Delivery, Geoff Stead (Covered by Susie Finch)
  • #T2S4 – Leadership Development, Nigel Paine and Marc Jansen (Covered by Dorian Dandridge and Julie Drybrough)
  • #T3S4 – Marketing Learning, Shannon Tipton and Gavin Walsh (Covered by Alistair Cockroft and Sam Taylor)
  • #T4S4 – The Heart and the Head: The Vital Role of Story and Emotion in Online Learning, David Guralnick (Covered by Andy Nock and Sarah Hetherington)
  • #T5S4 – Forget the L&D Hype – What About the Learner? Dave Buglass (Covered by Kim George and Michelle Parry-Slater)

Day two: 13.50 – 15.00

Day two: 15.30 – 16.40

For the full conference programme and to pick which sessions you’d like to tune into, click here. There is also a programme of seminars in the exhibition which is full to bursting. In my next post I’ll be picking out some of the highlights and rounding up some of the other great activity that’s taking place in and around this ‘Learning Glastonbury’ as I christened it the other day!

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Learning Technologies 2016: A Taster

Last year’s Learning Technologies Summer Forum hosted one of the most engaging keynote sessions I have ever seen. Deborah Frances-White delivered a superb talk on the power of play and quite literally had everyone in the room on their feet by the end of it. I’ve never seen the same level of participation in a formal keynote setting before with so many hundreds of people. It was fantastic.

Whilst not a typical keynote, the great content and insights into learning *are* typical of what an attendee can find at Learning Technologies. I was lucky enough to interview Frances-White on Periscope immediately after her session. Interestingly enough, the use of Periscope was something new I was ‘playing with’ at the time. And as she herself says, creating a safe environment where it was OK to make mistakes i.e. trial the Periscope app as a new way of sharing updates from the event, meant that I learned a lot.

So in the build-up to this year’s conference in a couple of weeks time, I thought I’d share the interview again. The quality isn’t the best as it’s saved down from Periscope, but there are still some great insights there and I think it whets the appetite for all the learning to come in a couple of weeks time at London Olympia. Frances-White is presenting again on day one of the conference on ‘Creating the Ideal Learning State’.

Don’t forget to tune into the backchannel via #LT16UK if you can’t attend in person. Otherwise I’ll see you there.


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Learning Technologies 2016: Everything you need to know

IMG_20150129_171540932Yes it’s that time of year again and the build up to Learning Technologies 2016 has begun. It just wouldn’t be January without a massive to do list and lots of late nights working, but I wouldn’t have it any other way! As chair of the backchannel for the event, I am writing a number of posts between now and the event previewing all the different activity to try and help you get the most out of it, whether you are attending in person or following from afar.

The backchannel
It all starts with the main conference hashtag #LT16UK. This is used on all conference tweets and is used by exhibitors and attendees of the Learning Technologies part of the exhibition. There is also the Learning and Skills hashtag #LAS16UK but if you’re following the conference, then tune in via #LT16UK. In order to help followers cut through the huge numbers of tweets, we use individual session hashtags as well as the one for the overall event e.g. Welcome to this session on the future of technology #LT16Uk #T1S1. The details of the hashtags for each session will be published in a later (longer!) post. In addition to tweets, there will be blog posts, LinkedIn updates and live videos from Periscope.

Meet the team
In the meantime though, here is your fantastic team of L&D folk who will all bring their unique insights and perspectives to the backchannel. Some you might know, others you won’t. Hopefully this is an opportunity to make some new connections and expand your network as well as the chance to tune into all the action.

Michelle Parry-Slater Michelle Parry-Slater – @MiPS1608

Alistair Cockroft Alistair Cockroft – @acockroft

Susie Finch Susie Finch – @susiefinch

Julie Drybrough Julie Drybrough – @fuchsia_blue

Andy Nock Andy Nock – @andynock83

Sam Taylor Sam Taylor – @samt_el

Dorian Dandridge Dorian Dandridge – @ageingworkforce

Sarah Hetherington Sarah Hetherington – @SarahLHeth

Kim George Kim George – @KimSGeorge

Also don’t forget to follow:

Don Taylor (Conference Chairman) – @DonaldHTaylor
Learning Technologies official feed – @LT16UK
Learning and Skills official feed – @LAS16UK
(And me – @kategraham23)

My next post will detail who is covering which sessions. We are also once again running Google Hangouts and the ‘Room of Reflection’ so full details of that will also be shared over the next few days. In addition to the twet

Learning Technologies 2016 Survey
I am also excited to be a part of the new Learning Technologies 2016 research in my new role. Hundreds and hundreds of learning professionals have already taken part in the pre-event survey, and there are some fascinating results.These will be shared for the first time live on 3 and 4 February at the event, with a whole programme of insight to follow throughout the year. If you haven’t taken part yet then have your say here.

More to come soon and as always, if you have any feedback or thoughts on how we can make the most of this learning opportunity, let me know.


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When I started this blog back in 2011 a wise man (Sam Burrough) gave me some great advice. He told me to write for myself and if anyone read it then that’s a bonus. More often than not though, this has not been a terribly personal blog or a window into my soul and it does tend to focus more on work related matters. But when I saw a blog from Andrew Jacobs about 7 songs, and having seen a few people post on Facebook about it, I was inspired to try and find 7 songs that are important to me.

Music has always been a huge part of my life. My mum has always sung and still hits the top Cs in her choir, her partner (Brian Noyes – shameless plug) is a composer, conductor and music teacher of some 30+ years and I grew up playing a number of instruments (some better than others). Mr G is also *obsessed* with music and we still play vinyl and even have a MiniDisc player somewhere. So in short, there’s no way I could choose a truly definitive 7 songs (no Madonna here after all) but here’s a snapshot of some music I love.

Stereophonics – A Thousand Trees

This is the first song from their first album. I am a huge fan of their earlier music, especially as a girl from a small Welsh town albeit not in the Valleys. I don’t like their more recent songs as much in all honesty, but I still love watching them live and have seen them in concert too many times to count. The lyrics are clever (as always with Kelly Jones) and it mostly reminds me of my crazy, wonderful younger sister and I bouncing around singing at the top of our voices.

Blur – End Of A Century

I’m a child of the Britpop era and was totally Team Blur (although I do like some of the early Oasis music too). In the days before Spotify I had to wait eagerly for Christmas to get my hands on the cassette of Parklife and played it until the tape broke. Hard to choose one song, especially as it’s just brilliant listened to from start to finish (something I always love in an album, when it tells a story). But this is a cracker.

Zero 7 – Destiny

Andrew had a Sia song in his post and I too first discovered her with Zero 7 when I was living abroad between university and starting life in the real world. No words needed other than it’s rather beautiful and set the scene for our first dance at our wedding.

Portishead – Roads

Maintaining the mellow vibe and a song from an album (Dummy) I can listen to back to back, this song reminds me of being a teenager spending hours with my friends in whoever’s parent’s living room we could commandeer, doing *literally* nothing. Proper f*** all as Mickey Flanagan would say. As a busy working mum now I can not even begin to imagine the hours we whiled away just chewing the fat and enjoying the music and each other’s company. What a luxury!

DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World

I had a playlist on my iPod, and now have one on Spotify called ‘Kate’s Hip Hop Education’ created by my husband. This particular tune was an early inclusion on my first ever iPod and one that is easy even for non-hip hop lovers to appreciate. It isn’t about rap, it’s the sample, it’s the beat and it’s also very chilled out. It might take more than one listen but please don’t skip it because you think you don’t like hip hop. Possibly pour a glass of wine to go with it.

Mos Def – Miss Fat Booty

Continuing the hip hop theme, possibly more of an obvious choice for those not fans of the genre. This is about the rhymes and the lyrics for me (which are pretty entertaining if you listen properly).

Jack Garrett – The Love You’re Given

I thought I should also include something current in here as tragically most of my choices are from the 90s (showing my age). This guy has come up through the brilliant BBC Introducing initiative and creates really interesting music using loops all by himself. Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean but I think the song is fantastic too.

So. Possibly a bit more of a personal post than usual but I hope you found something that tickles your ear drums.

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Another update on me

I have some exciting news! After my update earlier this year I am delighted to share that I am taking up new role as head of content and communications with Fosway Group, formerly Elearnity.

The role is a really interesting one for me. The analysts at Fosway are focused on research into next generation HR and learning, with topics and themes covering everything from HR transformation to gamification. My remit is to work with them to share this content in a variety of formats and across a number of different channels. I’ll also be working with organisations using HR and learning technology ‘in anger’ to feed into the research agenda and extend Fosway’s Corporate Research Network. And to close the loop, I’ll be working with vendors too, helping share their latest innovations and how their solutions are helping organisations in practice.

It’s an opportunity for me to pull together the different threads of my experience in a collaborative role that ultimately aims to share research and best practice across the industry. David Wilson and his team have been analysing the market for more than 19 years now and I can’t wait to start sharing their work. The role also enables me to remain involved in my broader collaborations with events including Learning Technologies and HR Tech World Congress, and should give me a new dimension to my contributions on the TrainingZone podcast and a judge of the Elearning Awards. I’ll still be available via the usual social channels and my new email address is kate.graham@fosway.com. Drop me a line if you’d like to discuss the new role – or just fancy a catch up :)

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Highlights from day one at HR Tech World Congress

After a jam packed first day at HR Tech World Congress, I haven’t had time to fully reflect on everything I saw and heard. But whilst I do that (and get stuck into day two) I thought I’d do a quick round up of highlights from day one.

‘It’s not the boxes on the org chart but the way the boxes work together’

20151027_082911As I expected, Yves Morieux delivered another cracking keynote, evolving his session from last year with sharp insights and a practical outlook. His focus was on simplifying how we work in an increasingly complex world. I will go into what he said in more detail in a separate post, but he made the point that whilst technology has evolved rapidly in the last 40 years, the shape and structure of most organisations have not. And we have effectively now just digitised a whole lot of complexity and ‘mess’. He made an impassioned plea for us to stop thinking about the skeleton of the organisation i.e. the org chart and start thinking about the nervous system i.e. how the boxes work together. This he believes, will start to foster greater cooperation which is the key to real success. HR could unlock this potential and have the ability to make this happen and ‘save the world’. Sounds flippant but could it be true?! Read some more insights in Euan Semple’s excellent post here.

20151027_122353In the morning I attended the learning stream. HRN, the organisers of the event, had asked me to interview Mary Moloney of Coderdojo at lunchtime so I was keen to get to her session. Coderdojo is a not-for-profit organisation that organises free clubs for kids to learn how to code. It is an awesome initiative and I hope to be able to share the video of the interview at some point. But as well as being worthy, there were some great points that could be extrapolated for corporate learning. Moloney never uses the word training as they feel this is something that is ‘done to’ people. They don’t start with the kids by asking them what they want/need to learn. They begin by asking what they’re interested in, what they like, what they want to achieve (as someone else termed it later in the day – they use ‘appreciative inquiry’). And Coderdojo very deliberately don’t use a traditional classroom set up and try to make their physical environment relaxed and open in order to foster creativity. More organisations are trying things like hackathons now to generate ideas and solve problems. Maybe internal dojos should be something we could embrace too. I think the idea could work really well for many.

Collaboration and innovation
After lunch I specifically wanted to watch Matt Anderson’s session on fostering collaboration and innovation at Jaguar Landrover. From a HR standpoint, Matt has begun positively disrupting a very traditional engineering/manufacturing organisation. It’s a command and control type culture where things usually have to be perfect before they are launched, thanks to the precision involved in the production side of the business. Anderson urged us to be unafraid of ‘dancing in a field’. He posits that at a festival nobody tells the audience when to start dancing or indeed, how to dance. So he started ‘dancing’ by just doing the things he wanted and asking for forgiveness rather than permission. He implemented new tools and tech such as Google Docs and Gmail without explicit authorisation for example. He set up an ideation group with no senior level buy-in to start exploring how to meet certain business challenges. And whilst the change hasn’t happened over night, it is happening.

Anderson believes perseverance is the key but being a pioneer can be lonely. Try and find some heroes to support your vision. This is something you hear a lot about finding ‘champions’ internally, but Anderson went out and got in contact with someone at Google. That person then came in to talk to senior folk at Jaguar Landrover and influenced them in a way that Anderson probably couldn’t. I like this idea of external credibility and influence to help support change. When you’re in an organisation it is easy to accept the status quo but when someone from outside comes in, it can put a new perspective on things. His final words of advice were to take any opportunity to share and foster collaboration internally…oh and don’t be afraid to fail. None of us are scared of that though right?

20151027_125016The disruptHR zone here is awesome. It has evolved from last year and the organisers have set up simple, standardised areas for each start-up so there is no difference in their stand/backdrop. It works well because as a visitor you’re drawn in either by the exhibitors themselves or their short bio on their backdrop. I spoke to a few interesting companies including Workometry which is doing some, frankly quite terrifying but incredibly powerful stuff with predictive analytics! And the guys from a company called Klaxoon had a cool idea for making training sessions more interactive. You can read a great round up of the different solutions on show here thanks to fellow Blog Squadder Faye Holland.

Richard Branson’s arrival caused much excitement and I don’t think I have ever seen so many attendees in one session before! He initially shared some insights on how he establishes organisational culture and the importance of making sure ‘people look forward to going to work on a Monday morning’. Clearly building a brand that engages staff as well as customers is something that has helped build Virgin’s success. And in a world where ‘attention is the new currency’ as I heard someone say yesterday, this holds massive intangible value.

I am currently waiting for the day two keynote to come on stage so that’s all for now folks but I will be back some more in-depth reflection and highlights from some of the other sessions I attended later.

Au revoir for now!

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Preview: HR Tech World Congress

HR Tech WorldI have just arrived in Paris ahead of HR Tech World Congress. Having been swept onto a motorbike outside the Gare du Nord (complete with not so chic hairnet and helmet, ahem) I arrived at the Palais de Congres buzzing with excitement at the opportunities that await at this rapidly expanding event, in this most beautiful of cities.

Last year’s Amsterdam event got me thinking about what the organisation of the future will look like. This year’s agenda promises to continue pushing boundaries and challenging HR professionals across a broad remit from talent and recruitment, to learning, social and data and analytics. I am going to challenge myself to depart more from my learning heartland to hear more about the broader organisational view of people development and understand some of the other hot topics across HR.

Branson quoteThe keynote is Sir Richard Branson who I am looking forward to hearing from. How such an entrepreneurial mind approaches some of the processes and systems that surround (transactional) HR is interesting to me. He has also learnt a lot of what he knows on-the-job and as someone who often learns as they go (deliberate link to blog name) I am hoping for some real pearls of wisdom. Interestingly though not everyone feels the same and quite a few attendees I have spoken to prior to the event are not convinced of the value he will add. This surprised me a little so I await that session with great anticipation and am sure the #HRTechWorld stream will highlight the general reaction from the audience.

Another highlight on the main stage promises to be Yves Morieux who I thought quietly and intelligently blew attendees away in 2014. You can view his TED talk here which is similar to the session I saw in Amsterdam. This year he will be exploring ‘Smart simplicity in a complex world’ and with the (sometimes crazy) layers of bureaucracy and organisational hierarchy that often surround HR initiatives, I am looking forward to hearing some practical insights from him.

I love the concept from the organisers of the disruptHR lounge which showcases new start-ups. This kind of platform can get new entrepreneurs noticed in an arena that most could never afford to exhibit in. I am aiming to pop along to a few and will try and grab some of the founders for quick Periscope interviews.

The influencers panel featuring a number of industry analysts should provide some good – and I imagine impassioned – debate. The team at Fosway, formerly Elearnity, always share great real-world insights so I’ll be going along to David Wilson’s session. The case studies always interest me and I’m particularly keen to hear stories of social and collaborative working within large enterprises like Jaguar Land Rover. Encouragingly, I also think I have only seen one session title that has the word ‘millennial’ in it. Hurrah.

Intriguingly the event will close with a session from Marco Tempest who is an illusionist and Fellow of MIT. Not your everyday speaker at a HR event!

Stay tuned to the backchannel over the next two days and be sure to check out some of the excellent writing from my fellow Blog Squad contributors. There is expertise from every end of the HR spectrum and there will be immediate live reaction plus more considered reflection to absorb, whether you’re there in person or not.

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