What to Watch in 2020: Key Takeaways from Learning Technologies

by Saba Software | Posted | Learning

What to Watch in 2020: Key Takeaways from Learning Technologies

Last week, the ever-popular, annual Learning Technologies exhibition landed at ExCeL London. Attendees queued to get in and once they hit the show floor, the event did not disappoint. The Saba team was excited to attend and hear about what is up and coming in learning and show the learning world what we've been up to!

Personalisation and experience: The learning mandate for 2020 and beyond

In the opening address for the conference, writer, radio presenter and comedian Timandra Harkness set the tone for the next two days. If the twentieth century was the 'mass century' – the age of mass media, mass production and mass marketing – then the 21st century is the 'personalised century'.

She made an interesting observation: People are so driven towards personalising their experiences that we're not questioning what we lose in the process. Can we grow, learn and develop while moving away from shared experiences? Food for thought indeed...

Building on the theme of experience, Hannah Gore, Talent Development Manager at Solera Holdings talked about building a modern learning environment and the need for a coherent learning experience regardless of the delivery channels. In her words, we need to focus on "an approach that feels multi-layered but seamless and easy for your people to discover and interact with anywhere they want to."

Why is personalisation and experience so important? Down on the exhibition floor, Saba's own Andrea Miles, VP Digital Content, and Carole Bower, Head of Learning, answered that question in their standing room only session, Talent 2025 – This time it's personal. Their key message? We need to widen our definition of talent and think more along the lines of human. Ignore age, gender, location, type of hire and other attributes that define your workforce. Understand that everyone is an individual, then focus on building an experience for your talent which fosters creativity, autonomy and collaboration.

Andrea Miles and Carole Bower presenting at LT20Andrea Miles and Carole Bower delivering their session, Talent 2025 – This time it's personal

Whilst the Talent 2025 session explored WHY personalised experiences are so important, it was the job of David Lyons, Solution Consultant Team Leader at Saba, to show the learning masses how to deliver this for their workforce, during his demo of me:time – the 'just for me' learning experience platform. David walked the audience through creating a highly personalised, engaging learning experience, guided by the unique interests, preferences and aspirations of every person – at scale.

David Lyons presenting metime at LT20
David Lyons presenting me:time – delivering the 'just for me' learning experience

The continuing focus on upskilling and reskilling

The topic of skills and the ever-widening 'gap' was a recurring theme throughout the sessions at LT20. And while this discussion topic is by no means new, it was great to see some refreshing approaches in the mix for addressing it in the future. In the panel session, Supporting performance and pivot points in people's careers, Chloe Walton, Director, Hello2Morrow, brought up some valuable points alongside panelists, Ariel Wrona, Management Consulting Analyst, Accenture Capability Network, and Ian Borkett, Service Manager at TUC unionlearn. Whilst analysing skills gaps and creating development paths to fill the gap is on the agenda for most organisations, what isn't common is enabling space for reflection and encouraging your employees to take the time to consider how they can adapt. Autonomy, self-directed development, self-reflection and resilience should be top of mind for any organisation tackling talent shortages.

The mind and AI

There was no shortage of talking points and discussions about the future of the workforce and how learning is being disrupted including:

  • Artificial intelligence and its impact on the talent landscape
  • The power of the human mind and how we can use that to our advantage when developing strategies and experiences for our people

Daniel J. Hulme, CEO of Stalia, discussed AI and its role in the development of the future workforce. His session, Artificial Intelligence: The risk, the reward and the extraordinary possibilities talked about how AI is fundamentally changing the nature of business, society and the talent landscape. He reiterated that "companies are talking about AI but very few know what to do with it," but offered up the advice that in order to succeed in the future, organisations need to use AI and machine learning to boldly decentralise core functions and allow the workforce to move forward without hierarchies, targets or boundaries.

In his session, Dr. Itiel Dror, Cognitive Neuroscientist at UCL told the audience that in order to gain the attention of learners, you must break through cognitive barriers and present unusual and unfamiliar content. Once you have caught the learner's attention, you then need to 'attach' this to the existing and familiar so that it's remembered. Some interesting points to mull over for any learning strategist!

Building on the importance of the human mind, Stella Collins, Chief Learning Officer at Stellar Labs posed a thought-provoking question: how can L&D nurture curiosity and achieve the goal of fueling the workforce to respond to changing requirements and commit to lifelong learning?

Demo at Learning TechnologiesSaba helps organisations grow and develop their talent through self-driven learning experiences

What about the tech itself?

Aside from the practical takeaways and in-depth discussions, Learning Technologies – true to its name – provided a wealth of technology to review. From the traditional LMS through to disruptive new apps and everything in between, it was an educational experience to remember!

On stage, David Wilson and David Perring from Europe's leading analyst firm Fosway, talked the audience through how to navigate the overwhelming amount of information available in the search for the perfect tech solution. Their key takeaway? Ensure you make your decisions based on your own strategies and what you're trying to achieve.

Each year, Fosway releases The Fosway Group 9-Grid™ report for Learning Systems – a multi-dimensional model that can be used to understand the relative position of solutions and providers predominantly in the UK and European markets. For the sixth consecutive year, Saba has been recognised as a Strategic Leader on the 9-Grid. This placement recognises Saba for its continued market growth and innovation in its learning experience capabilities, as well as our continued customer advocacy and market presence in Europe.

The future is bright for L&D

There was no shortage of insight into the future of learning and development and what it means for organisations around the world! With the personalised learning revolution underway, we're looking forward to playing a part in your learning and development experience.

The Definitive Handbook for Creating Exceptional Experiences at Work

Arm yourself with 101 effective talent experience strategies from industry experts.


Download Now
Cover of the book
Cover of the book

The Definitive Handbook for Creating Exceptional Experiences at Work

Arm yourself with 101 effective talent experience strategies from industry experts.


Download Now


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