5 Nuggets From AITD 2017

Sep 6, 2019

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending the AITD 2017 conference in Sydney. As expected, the line-up of keynote speakers was second to none, the exhibitors were cutting edge and the room was full of people whose job it is to help people learn at work. What a recipe!

After a few hours it was easy to identify a clear pattern emerging in the field of learning and development. This was not only highlighted in various keynote addresses, but also during the enthusiastic networking breaks. I identified 5 major themes running through the conference that I’d like to share.

1. Get Tech Happy

If you’ve not yet embraced technology in your business, then you’ve been lapped. Technology is ever increasing and we now have a modern learner who is inundated with an abundance of learning platforms, most of which are informal. What I mean is that the modern learner, you and I, learns via YouTube, Yammer, LinkedIn, Vimeo, TED talks, Slack, WordPress, and Facebook (that’s a sample). These are all informal modes, unlike classroom learning and webinars. We need to begin to integrate these learning opportunities into our learning strategies and allow for informal, asynchronous learning to take place. There’s still a place for classroom workshops; we just have to make those count.

2. Video is Hot

This is one of the fastest growing and evolving content types right now. Posts on Facebook and Instagram have more reach if they have video content. We learn how to repair dishwashers, turn old jeans into shorts, administer medicine to cats and install rainwater systems via YouTube. Surely we can use this mode for staff inductions, teaching students about body language or safety. The possibilities are astonishing. So why aren’t we using videos on our company websites to educate about company culture and norms?

3. Maslow was Right

Learners are still humans who want to belong to a group. This is why knowledge networks are so important. Despite all the technological advancement, even Gen Ys and beyond are craving human contact, even if it is virtual. They want to learn collaboratively and that’s great news, since most companies want workers to collaborate while performing duties. How does this work in the learning and development field? Why not create online learning cohorts for each group of enrolments? This allows for peer coaching and informal mentoring. Other opportunities to connect and learn is are via LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups, Yammer and Slack.

4. Micro Learning Wins the Mind

Right now we’re pressed for time. We’ve become urgency addicts and seekers of instant gratification. Memory isn’t as important as it used to be. So we need to design for forgetting. We Google everything. It’s far easier than memorising facts and processes. The human brain can only hold about seven pieces of information at a time, so we need to design nuggets of learning to support those nine to five workshops.

5. Mobile Me

I’ll say it again. We Google EVERYTHING. Mobiles are ubiquitous. We all have them and use them for most tasks. So how can we encourage our designers and trainers to incorporate this into the world of the learner? We can support learning using Apps and games, Google, FaceBook groups, SharePoint, MediaWiki, articles and dare I say old-school PDFs. Mobiles really do help the modern learner with the ‘I want to know, I want to learn, I want to do, I want to work’ moments. And we can facilitate that. We simply have to ‘start thinking resources, not courses.’ @David Swaddle.