Guest post by Kate Graham

Last week, was the Learning and Performance Institute’s annual conference, LEARNING LIVE. I was there both as the official ‘tweeter’ as well as representing the eLearning Network. When I was asked to sum up the event, I knew it would be a challenge as there was so much covered, but I wanted to try and distill some of my main highlights and take aways.

Day one

Donald H Taylor, Chairman of The Learning and Performance Institute

The packed programme covered a variety of topics with breakout sessions hosted by learning providers and an International Think Tank exploring how we can collaborate across the global learning community.

On the first day there was an open exhibition and several workshops hosted by learning providers. The sessions and exhibitors in attendance were a real demonstration of some of the hot topics in training at the moment.

I attended two workshops on mobile learning and using Facebook as a learning tool. Stephanie Dedhar of BP explored how they are adopting a ‘courses not resources’ approach, Laura Overton of Towards Maturity discussed ‘What learners really want’ and experiential learning and performance support were also on programme. The LPI has definitely moved the agenda on from a classroom training focus.

An after dinner…webinar…

There was then a tremendously enjoyable evening event which included dinner and a webinar style session with Elliott Masie beaming in live from The States.

It was one of those things that with the technology, the time difference and a slightly tipsy audience (if I can say that!) could have gone horribly wrong. But the technology worked like a charm and Masie also worked his charm on the audience.

He engaged us with a variety of props and really captured everyone’s attention with some Q&A in what was an interactive and entertaining half an hour. A few feathers were ruffled when he categorised mobile learning as an area of hype, but he certainly got the discussion going. It wasn’t your usual webinar, but a great example of how well the medium can work!

Day two

The second day began with a keynote from Professor Greg Whyte.

Greg Whyte

Whyte is best known for his work with the likes of Eddie Izzard and David Walliams on their crazy physical challenges for Sports Relief. Using sporting and athletic achievements, Whyte explored the importance of coaching, training and effective leadership.

Success, he told us, is not a chance event. He advocates having great vision and not being afraid to set audacious goals. But in order to achieve these goals, we need to plan carefully, prepare for every eventuality and ensure we have the right skills and experience to get the job done. He was very inspirational and really brought home that we should never limit ourselves and strive to be the ‘best we can be’.

Other sessions then included the exploration of learning trends and technologies from the likes of Nigel Paine and Steve Wheeler. Andy Tedd busted some myths around the concept of the digital native very successfully. Jane Bozarth, who jetted in from the US, revealed some of her social learning tips for trainers, whilst David Perring and Neil Lasher asked if mobile learning is finally becoming a reality.

All interesting topics and hard to do justice to in one blog post.

One of the most pertinent sessions was from Ben Betts on curation. This is an area we’ve seen rising in importance and increasingly embraced by L+D professionals. And the LPI really put an emphasis on capturing as much of LEARNING LIVE as they could, with dedicated official tweeters such as myself and a live Chat2Lrn taking place right at the end of the event.

Such was the focus on curating the event for use afterwards, and the interest from the back channel (i.e. those following the event online but not actually present) that the Twitter stream became the top trending topic in the UK! David Kelly (a.k.a LnDDave) has done a marvellous job of curating resources from the event which you can view here.

Betts emphasised that curation is not about creating perfect content, it’s about helping learners to make connections, to collaborate and learn from each other. He discussed the ‘rule of thirds’ in relation to learning content; one third is content we create from scratch, one third is utilising content we already have and the final third comes from outside our organisation.

At a time when budgets are being cut, we need to be smart about how we provide access to and share learning content – making sure we’re maximising everything at our disposal. Whether that’s something we’ve created ourselves or utilising what someone else has created (adhering to all copyrights etc in the process!).

The lively backchannel and ongoing curation of resources from LEARNING LIVE really demonstrates how this can work in reality. I’ve been able to revisit my own thoughts from the event via the Twitter stream and catch up with sessions I couldn’t attend through the blogs and reflections of other attendees.

Other L&D professionals who weren’t even there have found it useful because of the wealth of user generated content that has emerged both during and after the event. And that, I think, is a pretty marvellous example of curation – and learning – in action.

Kate Graham is a director of Ascot Communications and co-creator of the Learning and Talent Management Digest. Check it out here: