Learning Technologies 2017 Day 1 review

Optimus Learning Services had the pleasure of attending both days at Learning Technologies this year. Here’s a quick round-up from Managing Director Blake Henegan from Day 1. Day 2 is covered by Les Heath.

Mind was blown. Sensory overload. Lively debate. The future of learning has arrived.

AI and Jill the chatbot
Away from the main exhibition, I had the pleasure of listening to Donald Clark, one of the experts in Artificial Intelligence (AI). A very informative seminar, with a balanced view of what AI can do compared to us humans and what it lacks. What was very clear was how much AI is all around us, and perhaps we don’t even realise.

It’s already impacted on learning and is going to continue to do so. Donald recalled a great story of when a US Tech professor built a chatbot to be his teaching assistant to a class studying AI. He named it Jill Watson and was that good the students nominated ‘Jill’ for the tutor of the year!

VR and embracing technology
I had the pleasure after hours of attending the Learn Patch bar camp with my fellow peers. Time spent discussing ways of engaging employees, pushing back when being asked for ‘training’ and a very level headed discussion around the pros and cons of VR with Immerse Learning.

So how can L&D use technology?
The use of learning technology will only grow, the key challenge is to know when and how to use it. Remember, consider your organisation’s culture and how it embraces (or doesn’t) technology. If it struggles to embrace new technology then perhaps this is the first thing to be fixed, before introducing any new tool.

For our review of Learning Technologies Day 2 read more.

Learning Technologies 2017 Day 2 review

Wow, this year was the best so far.

The exhibition was enormous with what appeared to be more exhibitors than ever. This year I attended with a mission; to find out what is new in Learning Management. Alongside this I chose 3 seminars that best related to our clients’ challenges:

  • How to prove ROI and gain organisational support for L&D
  • How L&D becomes a trusted business partner
  • The science of motivation: Why workplace motivation is so hard and how to overcome resistance.

Learning technologies seminar takeaways

Return on Investment: It’s not rocket science!

The first seminar, delivered by Steve Finch, Head of Business Development for CDSM Interactive Solutions Ltd, we were given thought provoking insight into measuring and maximising ROI, covering topics such as Kirkpatrick and Blooms Taxonomy.

The most important thing is to know what the purpose of the learning is and how it is expected to impact the business and develop the evaluation model from there.

We are not just TRAINING

Paul Matthews, Managing Director, People Alchemy Ltd led the 2nd seminar, posing the question – How as L&D practitioners do we become trusted business partners?

I think that this can most easily be expressed as ‘We are not just TRAINING’. Challenge the business when they approach you for training. Put on a new hat, become a performance consultant and clearly identify the ‘issue’ to be resolved. Focus on performance and that training might not always be the answer. There may be a need for a process, system or environmental change to resolve the issue.

For L&D practitioners it’s all about demonstrating your value. By giving good advice early on the business will see us for what we really are, a business-critical resource.

Motivation, it’s not about the money

Lastly, from David Meade, Saba, the message was clear: Motivation; It’s not about the money!

In companies where staff are most highly motivated it is because they are engaged in the business, they are involved, appreciate and treated as individuals. How has this been achieved? Enable employees to, at speed, access people and information they need to do their jobs – and to acknowledge their contribution with a heartfelt ‘Thanks, we couldn’t do it without you.’

LMS or LEP’s?

For my second objective of the day I was keen to see what’s new in the world of LMS systems. The first thing I came across was that the emphasis is not on ‘Management’ so much. Management implies control. In the past L&D were the owners of learning and controlled the application of learning. Now, people can learn in so many ways much of which is not managed; YouTube, Google, Yammer and a myriad of other platforms.

All the stands I visited on the day still included an element of learning management but were clearly adopting a new approach as ‘Learning Engagement Platforms’ (LEP’s: You saw it here first folks!)

It’s all about providing the access to, capturing and sharing of information. Systems that allow you to be key contributors to you companies learning.

The impact on L&D

Making sure I had time to consider the information I was absorbing, I considered the impact of these learning technologies. They are supporting learners in a way that L&D have always wanted – easy access and reinforcing learning for example – and making it easy for people to learn.

Embrace these technologies and learning and development will begin moving away from managing training to the valuable governance of learning.

For our review of Learning Technologies Day 1 read more.


Hello Optimus Learning Services

New name, same committed and thriving managed learning services team.

We’ve been working across all aspects of L&D since 2009 so we thought it’s about time we changed our name to show exactly how much we love learning and show off what we know!

It may seem like a small difference but our change to Optimus Learning Services is significant and fully reflects the wide range of L&D support and expertise we are providing to our clients.

Whether you’ve worked with us for years, or you’re taking a look around to find the right managed learning services partner for you, you’ll soon find we do business through excellent relationships and delivering exceptional service.

People work with people they like, trust and who deliver – which is why we’re chuffed that all of our clients stay with us for the long term.

We’re on a mission

To help the world of L&D showcase what they can do, Continue reading “Hello Optimus Learning Services”

5 metrics to measure for effective learning & development management

Measuring the learning metrics that matter

There was a time when the Learning & Development department was only accountable for the number of people that were put through training and the cost, in other words, basic effectiveness and efficiency.  Continue reading “5 metrics to measure for effective learning & development management”

The 5 keys to successful learning and development planning

When planning for a year, plant corn. When planning for a decade, plant trees. When planning for life, train and educate people. -Old Chinese Proverb

Working in learning and development can be a challenging role.  The company looks to you to understand the business, the people and then create solutions to the problems that arise.  Often this is in a reactive manner, fixing a problem after the event.

Continue reading “The 5 keys to successful learning and development planning”

We’ve archived our blogs

Hi there.

As a result of a new website launch, we decided to archive some of the older blogs, including the one you were looking to access.

You might be interested in some of our recent blog posts which are on your right*

We can send you the original blog you were looking for – simply email us and we’ll whizz it over to you.

We also have lots more blogs you can access via the Categories section on the right of your screen*.

Thank you for visiting,

The Optimus Learning Services team

* If you are reading this on a mobile device you’ll have to scroll down to access the information

How to be more assertive at work

Do you always make yourself heard at work? Are you able to express yourself clearly and openly? Or do you hold back? Say ‘yes’, when you mean ‘no’? Put on a ‘work personality’ different to that which you display in your private life?

In asking people which personal attribute they would most like to improve at work, ‘assertiveness’ is one of the most prominent. So what blocks you from being assertive at work? For me, it is down to the fears we have around others’ reactions to our open communication. If you want to be more assertive, you have to be able to identify and examine how these fears are affecting you. Continue reading “How to be more assertive at work”

Spinning Rubber Plates – aka visual prioritisation

If you asked people how busy they are they’d probably say “too busy”.  However, according to the BBC we aren’t as busy as we actually think. Which begs the question, why do we think we are busier than what we are. And can we do anything to be less busy?

Continue reading “Spinning Rubber Plates – aka visual prioritisation”

What is a bigger motivator – rewarding successes or punishing failures?

Our recent blog ‘What would be the one piece of advice you would give to yourself when you were 20 which you wish you had received’ looked at a LinkedIn discussion we started that recorded some fantastic answers. Another discussion we started called ‘What is a bigger motivator – rewarding successes or punishing failures?’ also attracted a lot of attention and here is a summary of the answers we got given from the L&D community.

Continue reading “What is a bigger motivator – rewarding successes or punishing failures?”

Overcoming the fear to make yourself heard

“I’d like to feel more heard at work” is one of the most common complaints I hear. And when I ask ‘Why don’t you make yourself heard?’, the answer is generally ‘I’m afraid of authority/my boss and what they will think if I speak my mind”.  Continue reading “Overcoming the fear to make yourself heard”