7 fascinating conference talks to catch at #LT19UK

Posted on Jan 10, 2019

If Learning Technologies 2019 is a barometer of where the industry is currently, then I think we should all be very excited! So many inspirational speakers, and some great examples of how innovation in learning is helping L&D to deliver results.

Equally exciting is the show’s move to its new venue, ExCeL London in London’s Docklands, making the event on 13-14 February even bigger and better than before and confirming its status as the leading workplace learning exhibition and conference in Europe.  

In the conference rooms, there are 30-plus conference sessions with 70 leading speakers and facilitators. We’ve picked out seven talks not to miss.

1. The future of work: technology, myths and the importance of learning (Opening address, Conference Room 1, 09:30 - 10:30, 13 Feb)

Dr Daniel Susskind

When Dr Daniel Susskind speaks, people listen: he previously worked as a policy adviser for the British Government, and his TED talk on the future of work has been viewed over 1.4 million times on its website and YouTube stream. Dr Susskind, an author and a Fellow in Economics at Balliol College, Oxford University, coined the phrase “automation anxiety” – a fear that robots will take over our jobs. In his address, he will explore the anxiety surrounding technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and dispel some of the myths. He’ll also be highlighting the opportunities and risks and suggesting that workplace jobs – including L&D – might be very different in the future.

2. Emerging technologies (T1S1, Conference Room 1, 11:15 - 12:25, 13 Feb)

Steve Wheeler

Chair Steve Wheeler (learning innovations consultant) and speakers Dani Johnson (Principal Analyst, RedThread Research) and David Kelly (Executive Director, The eLearning Guild) cut through the noise to state which technologies are having an impact now and which ones will be making a real difference to corporate learning in the years to come. Confused about AI, AR and VR and their place in learning? Struggling to keep up with the latest innovation trends? Need inspiration with updating your learning? This session is for you!

3. Virtual and augmented reality (T1S2, Conference Room 1, 13:55 - 15:05, 13 Feb)

One of the reasons we should be getting excited about learning technologies is that we are now seeing how tech such as augmented reality and virtual reality are achieving real results in the workplace. Better still, they’re becoming more accessible and affordable so can be delivered on a budget. Among the speakers explaining how this immersive technology has gone “from hype to reality” is James Barton, Online Learning Manager at Royal Mail, where VR learning created by Sponge is being used to deliver dog safety awareness training to its postmen and women. This talk explains where AR and VR work well and has practical tips on how L&D can include them as part of their learning offering.

4. Compliance (T3S2, Conference Room 3, 13:55 - 15:05, 13 Feb)

Louise Vamvoukaki

Sub-titled Compliance training for the information age, this session illustrates how compliance training can be innovative and engaging – if L&D embraces creativity and technology. Delegates will hear examples of where this is happening to scale, including an inspiring example from global biopharmaceutical business, AstraZeneca. Louise Vamvoukaki, the Global Sustainability Education and Engagement Lead at AstraZeneca will explain how the company worked with Sponge to implement a “seriously creative” learning solution to shift compliance training from a “must do” to a “want to do” activity, embedding core ethics, values, behaviours and principles into the company’s DNA.

5. Games and learning (T1S3, Conference Room 1, 15:50 - 17:00, 13 Feb)

Karl Kapp

The benefits of using game theory in learning are established – but there’s an art in designing them correctly. In this session, Stop thinking like an instructional designer; start thinking like a game designer, world-renowned learning games expert Professor Karl Kapp describes what it takes to create successful learning games – and it could require a change of mind-set. He also explains why curiosity and making mistakes are important in learning.

6. Can we be candid? Learning at the intersection of risk, change, machine and meaning (09:30 - 10:30, 14 Feb)

Marcia Conner

Expect plenty of provocative questions and “unspoken truths” from keynote speaker Marcia Conner, as she dissects why, for some, learning is “confined to box-checking”.  With over 20 years of experience in corporate learning and development, Conner is famed for getting straight to the heart of what doesn’t work in L&D. In her talk, she will say what L&D needs to do, to adapt to tech-driven changes. Some of her key words might surprise you – “simplify,” “connect” and “personal meaning”.

7. Artificial intelligence (T1S6, Conference Room 1, 15:50 - 17:00, 14 Feb)

David Kelly

David Kelly, Executive Director of The eLearning Guild, returns to take the chair for this session, sub-headed: It's here: the extraordinary ways that AI is already changing the ways we learn. The talk assesses the impact of AI across society and explores how it can benefit workplace learning. Yes, AI will lead to some jobs going. But for many employees, it will improve how they work and open up new things they’ve not been able to do before. This practical session puts the case for working with AI to improve L&D.

This year marks the 20th year of Learning Technologies, as well as its move to a new venue. With so much to see and do, it’s worth planning ahead to get the best out of Europe’s biggest and brightest learning event. 

As always Sponge will be there showcasing our latest innovations and seriously creative approach to digital learning. Pop over for a chat on Stand D50; it’s our 15th birthday this year and we’re still loving our time as the rebellious teenager of elearning!

Meet us on stand D50

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