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10 key points I got from the Learning Technologies event in London (part 2)

london learning technologies event 2016

Learning Technologies is Europe’s leading Learning and Development exhibition and conference, taking place in London around this time every year. This year’s numbers are impressive on their own: 150 free seminars, 70 conference speakers and 250 exhibitors and around 7,500 visitors.

It is always an eye-opener to attend events like this. You realize where you stand in the market and what the future trends are likely to be. Here are the 10 things you need to know if you did not attend.

Click here for Part 1

6. Gamification is the bomb!

There is no way you have not by now heard of gamification. It is one of the top buzz words and it is for a reason: if you apply it correctly, it does work.

According to Bernard Suits, a game is “the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles”. Gamification provides you with the tools and techniques to disguise a learning activity not as a game, but as an interesting and challenging mission.

BUT! Always keep in mind that just adding a few bits and bobs to make an eLearning course look and feel like Monopoly or Minecraft does not guarantee success. A prerequisite for both eLearning and gaming is engagement, and…

7. Interactivity is not engagement

Wait. What? How is this possible when interactivity is what all instructional designers and developers are after?

It is. Adding buttons or drag-and-drop activities in an eLearning course does not necessarily make it engaging.

The learner is engaged when they are given a reason to do something; when they are tasked with a personal objective, just like in games! Instead of asking them to click here and there, allow them the freedom to lay their own path.

Their sense of achievement at the end will function as positive reinforcement in the learning process.

8. Social learning is the next big thing

Social learning is the learning process that takes place in a social context while we observe and interact with others. The idea is simple: why force staff to sit through a boring class when they can team up to complete a task that could lead them to the same learning outcome?

Social learning includes coaching and mentorship programs, online fora, social media, virtual classrooms etc. Like with everything else, there is a catch: social learning is a seed that can bloom only when planted in a fertile land, that is a true learning organization where managers are willing to take ownership of informal training methods.

9. Are Virtual and Augmented Reality ready to go mainstream?

Highly unlikely. VR and AR are great and very fancy technologies, but they are still in their infancy. Gamers like them, innovators like them, but only few have a vague idea of how they could implement them in the workplace for learning purposes.

One of the biggest problems is the high cost. Buying the equipment is the easy thing. Having an application developed and tailored to your organization’s needs is the difficult and costly part. And then we have a series of other issues, like graphics, human interface, ergonomics etc.

10. Keep it simple

No one can stress enough how much more effective simplicity is over complexity. We are L&D professionals. We want to train our people for their and our organization’s benefit, so don’t go far.

Invest in an LMS and get to know what your staff like, what they respond to better and what they are more resistant to.

If your organization lacks in learning culture, fancy ideas are probably unlikely to work, at least in short-term. Reinforce what works and drop what doesn’t, but always set your compass to where the market goes.

Conclusion

If you are an L&D professional or you are simply interested in how training can benefit an organization, make sure you attend events like Learning Technologies. You will meet inspiring people, you will have interesting discussions, you will see demonstrations of powerful products and you will get to witness first-hand some of the innovative ideas that will be commonly used in a few years’ time.