7 talks shaping the future at Learning Technologies 2020

Now 21 years’ old, Learning Technologies 2020 is back on 12-13 February and once again demonstrates its importance in the industry with another fantastic line-up of speakers and an exhibition packed with the latest technologies, hands-on features, innovation and best practice.

LT Conference Chair, Donald H Taylor, explains: “Expect the spotlight to fall on the most exciting tools and technologies transforming learning today, including AI, predictive analytics and virtual reality. We'll also look more broadly at learning design, the role of L&D and functional areas such as onboarding and compliance.” 

In addition to two packed exhibition halls, this year’s show features more than 200+ free L&D seminars, with more than 30 conference sessions across five streams - Big Issues, Content; Implementation, Tactical Matters and Technologies - and over 70 speakers from the UK and around the world, providing a great opportunity to listen to some of the leading thinkers, visionaries and practitioners in workplace learning today.

With so many great talks and inspiring speakers to choose from, we’ve picked out seven not to be missed events:

1 Opening address – Life, Work & Learning in the Personalised Century (Track 1 – Technologies, 9:30 – 10:30, 12 Feb)

Writer, broadcaster and presenter, Timandra Harkness, looks set to kick-off the conference programme with a bang, setting the agenda for what’s shaping up to be a hot topic at the show – personalisation. We’re promised surprises, some laughs and uncomfortable moments as we consider the likely benefits and possible casualties of the personalised century.

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2 Emerging technologies (Track 1 – Technologies, 11:15 - 12:25, 12 Feb)

Learning Innovations Consultant, and author of Digital Learning in Organizations (a book featured in our top 10 learning theory books blog), Steve Wheeler, returns for his annual review of the ever-changing technology landscape, exploring what’s hot and what’s not! Joined by speakers from The eLearning Guild and The Learning Futures Group, Steve takes us on a journey into the future, to glimpse the art of the possible and explore which technologies L&D might be using one day. While there may be no ‘silver bullet’, their talk could help you in your search for your next platform, tool or app shaping the future of learning.

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3 Virtual reality (Track 1 – Technologies, 15:50 – 17:00, 12 Feb)

From health & safety to compliance, virtual reality is no longer a pipe dream. This exciting technology is now being used to support L&D in organisations worldwide with measurable results. Chaired by Digital Learning Manager at Markel International, Matt Brewer, this talk looks at creating safe environments with kit that is increasingly accessible.

It’s a subject close to our hearts at Sponge, having delivered Royal Mail’s first VR training for dog safety. With a team of three on the panel, we’re excited to see and hear from Lloyds Banking Group, as well as QinetiQ.

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4 Onboarding (Track 5 – Implementation, 11:15 – 12:25, 13 Feb)

Sally Atkinson, Director of Learning at Tetra Pak, global leader in processing and packaging solutions, joins Rich Dawson, Digital Academy Manager at Avanti West Coast, to discuss how important it is to get people off on the right foot from day one - and even beforehand.

Sally explains how Tetra Pak worked with Sponge to harness the latest digital learning strategies to deliver a fully immersive global onboarding solution, which uses an interactive map and 360˚ video to virtually induct new employees wherever they are in the world.

So, if you’re reviewing your onboarding process, this is the talk for you! Join Sally and Rich as they share invaluable insights and L&D best practice to help you save valuable time and money whilst improving engagement.

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5 Women in learning (Track 5 - Implementation, 12:40 – 13:20, 13 Feb)

With a strong female leadership at Sponge, including our founder and Managing Director, Louise Pasterfield, and Chief Innovation Officer, Kate Pasterfield, we’re proud to support the #womeninlearning movement, championed by the brilliant Kate Graham, Head of Content at Fosway Group.

With over 800 L&D professionals now part of the growing movement, this discussion creates a unique opportunity to hear invaluable first-hand stories, experiences and key lessons learnt from leading female L&D professionals.

Open to everyone of any gender, join this session to explore what women can do to tailor their learning careers, how women build confidence to overcome barriers, achieve goals and tackle new roles; as well as what new career and executive pathways exist in L&D.

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6 xAPI (Track 1 - Technologies, 13:55 – 15:05, 13 Feb)

Chairperson Andrew Jacobs, L&D Transformation Lead at HMRC, is joined by Richard Pedley, Learning Project Manager at Fidelity International, to highlight the need for L&D to embrace learning data and analytics to help create better learning experiences.

The talk covers the data organisations need to make a difference, how they capture the right data and how this can personalise learning journeys and communications. Join this talk to see how xAPI is creating a path to an improved analysis of learning data and applying the results in practice.

If you’re excited by the potential of data, we’d also encourage you to attend our Chief Innovation Officer, Kate Pasterfield’s seminar: ‘Six inspiring ways to enhance the learning experience using data’ in a practical talk inspired by real-world examples in Theatre 10 on both days of the event (11:45 – 12:15, 12 Feb, and 14:00 – 14:30, 13 Feb).

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7 Compliance (Track 5 – Implementation, 15:50 – 17:00, 13 Feb)

It might be the last session of day 2 at Leaning Technologies but this one’s not to be missed for L&Ds looking to reimagine the compliance experience!

Chaired by Costa Coffee’s Global Learning Manger, Anthony Williams, join Louise Vamvoukaki, Director – Sustainability, Education and Engagement as AstraZeneca, in a talk that dispels the myth that mandatory compliance training is merely a ‘tick box’ exercise. Watch Louise’s conference preview here.

Louise shares two very recent examples of compliance training: ‘Speak Up’ and ‘Code of Ethics 2019’ that prove that compliance can and should be engaging and exciting for learners. Working in partnership with Sponge, AstraZeneca’s 2018 Code won a Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Award and Training Journal Award in 2019 and is shortlisted for an LPI Learning Award this year.

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Visit LT’s conference booking page to sign up. 

Find us at @_wearesponge_ and follow the conversation at #LT20UK

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