As I prepared for this year’s Learning Live event, it struck me that the Learning and Performance Institute (LPI) go to great lengths so make their flagship conference stand out from the crowd. It keeps evolving every year and initiatives like providing personalised learning agendas and lecture free zones show how the Institute is walking the walk. Events are tough to manage – the traditional model has been set for so many years – and much like training itself, getting people out of their comfort zone is a challenge. So what the LPI does is no mean feat.
I thought I’d dig a little deeper behind the scenes and managed to grab some time with the LPI’s Managing Director, Ed Monk.
KG: What makes Learning Live different to other L&D events?
EM: I do believe Learning Live is genuinely different. First and foremost we always push the word ‘efficacy’ with everything we do at LPI. We’re committed to providing real, demonstrable impact in all of our services. With Learning Live, this means practical solutions, guidance and learning which lasts longer than the train journey home. We want to improve the performance of anyone who attends, and their organisations when they get back to work.
What does this mean in reality? Well, it means that we avoid the traditional ‘chalk and talk’ sessions; last year was the first year we announced Learning Live as a ‘lecture-free’ conference which was an important shift. This year we have gone further – and this is really different – in that we created a personalised conference experience. We spoke to our delegates, identified the sessions they should go to, suggested people to follow on social media, and coordinated meetings for them at the event. This will deliver a very different experience to wandering aimlessly around an exhibition hall, hoping that by chance you may bump into someone of interest! We identify the exhibitors that provide real value to delegates based on what people are asking for, and what they said they wanted last year. This is a carefully curated event, and in essence it isn’t another L&D event as this is about L&P – learning and *performance*.
KG: I have a few stand out moments from Learning Live over the years – what are your key takeaways from previous years?
EM: I will never forget Lord Winston’s keynote many years ago; we were the first to secure him for a conference in our industry which was a real coup. He was captivating and really thought-provoking.
But for me, the best speaker was Professor Steve Peters. Steve really did blow people’s minds in one hour. He made us think differently, and more intelligently, about how we act as human beings. Everything you would want from a keynote was there in his session. He was charismatic, humble, effortlessly polished, and provocative. And he backed it up with facts.
(I got over excited at this point as Steve Peters was also my stand out moment. If you haven’t read his book The Chimp Paradox, both Ed and I highly recommend it!)
EM: The takeaways from Learning Live in previous years, for me, have always been about the change we make in the weeks after the event to those who attended. It’s about bringing awareness, demystifying concepts, destroying urban myths, and pointing to the future – and ultimately, preparing learning professionals for a fantastic career.
KG: What are your tips for making the most of the event?
EM: Our motto for this year is #makeithappen. So if you’re coming along, make sure you speak to people, ask LPI staff to make introductions, raise your hand and ask that question in sessions, get the contact details for speakers you enjoyed.
Ask yourself before you arrive, ‘what do I want to get out of this?’ Basically, set objectives for yourself and return to them to see if they were met on Thursday evening. I mean, that is what as learning professionals, we do ourselves – set objectives, and return to them. The LPI’s organisational mantra is ‘involve, inform, inspire’ and that is what we expect our speakers to do.
KG: Who or what are you most looking forward to this year?
EM: There are some incredible speakers this year; we are flying in people from across the globe, reflecting the international status LPI now has. But I am specifically looking forward to seeing the robot that Volume are bringing to the conference, the simulator that Serious Games International will be demonstrating, and the Creativity Zone which will teach people how to actually do the things everyone theorises about. For example, if you want to create video content, we will show you how to do that at the event.
I’ve introduced these new concepts this year as we want to demystify concepts and point to the future. It is a great two days; my team are excited about it, and I know delegates are from the messages I’m receiving via email, Twitter etc.
On a final note, LPI is raising money for Dreamflight and we will be launching a new charity calendar with a twist on Wednesday – featuring senior learning professionals as you’ve never seen them before!
I hope everyone has a great two days, and if you can’t be there, get involved through social media using #LearningLive
I couldn’t have summed it up better myself! I’d like to thank Ed for taking the time to answer my questions during one of his busiest weeks of the year. And I look forward to sharing as many highlights as I can over the next two days.