October 1, 2015

3 take-aways from the World of Learning conference 2015

The World of Learning Conference and Exhibition took place in Birmingham this week. Here, we distil some of the key take-aways from the conference sessions.

1 Help your learners learn
Financial services organisation Capital One has topped the best place to work in the UK for the last three years. How? By creating a learning culture, according to its HR Director Karen Bowes.

Citing Dan Pink’s book Drive, she said that employees need to have a sense of autonomy, mastery and purpose. These are the three factors that motive humans.

So trust your people to get on with their jobs and support them when they need support. Through this support and by providing opportunities to develop, employees can gain mastery in what they do. However, it is having purpose that separates true excellence in the workplace versus the ordinary. If you can help people be brilliant you unleash something pretty special, Bowes said.

2 Use game mechanics wisely
Gamification is about applying game elements to non-gaming environments, not creating and playing games. It is important to remember that gamification is not about sugar coating the things we don’t like, according to Tim Hall, managing director at Cognify.

So how can you add game mechanics to your content? First find the fun in what you are creating the content for. If there isn’t any then maybe game mechanics won’t work. Once you have found the fun in the activity make sure you accentuate it in order to encourage people to do it.

Talking about how law firm Wragge and Co had implemented game mechanics on compliance content, Jemma O’Reilly said that by creating challenges you create purpose. We had to find the fun in mandatory training, she told delegates. She said that to make gamification work you need to:

Call in the experts on gamification.
Test and learn. Test it on end users by creating a focus group, for example.
Take the time in development to consider where you are going and whether that is still the right place.

3 Be the advocate for your learners
Robert Todd, former head of learning technologies at LinkedIn urged delegates to be the advocates for learners. He said that whilst technology had dramatically changed the way we create and consume content over the last 20 years, L&D had not changed significantly.

But all that was about to change as a result of learning being driven by learner needs and the growth of high-quality educational alternatives – such as developments in higher education technology.

He told delegates that L&D should be the advocates for the learner – this is what people want and need. Don’t tell learners what they need. The future for L&D is knowing more about employees (how they learn, what motivates them etc) than anyone else in the business. He suggested the following tips to stay current:

Carve out a place to experiment and take risks
Look beyond traditional tools and technologies. Old paradigms are built into current learning technologies
Be a champion for your learners