Last week marked the eLearning Network’s 5th annual conference. It also marked my first industry outing with Red Mirror’s fabulous new addition to the LD team: Ella! And what a day it was…
The theme of the day was culture, and specifically creating
a culture of curious learners.
Nicole Bradfield kicked things off, by encouraging us to get
inquisitive about our own notions of leadership:
Are the stories we hold onto about what makes a successful
leader still fit for purpose?
…Or is there some un-learning to do?
It came to light that the aesthetically-pleasing cards on
our table were not, in fact, a colour swatch for my dream house, but instead
represented eight key values which are upheld by great leaders of today:
By sharing a personal story of her own, Nicole demonstrated
perfectly how embracing vulnerability could contribute to creating an
environment in which others (read: us, the audience) could also let their guard
down and feel comfortable to share their own experiences. After a decent chunk of collaborative self-enquiry,
participants worked out which of the values had been most pervasive in their
lives to date, and which was the one that needed some un-learning.
By 10 am the room was a veritable Wonderland of curious
Alices, keen to get on with session two. The room was sliced into four and the
What ensued was a pick-and-mix from the line-up of
intriguing sessions. Firstly, Neusha Milanian invited us to consider what
success really means to us, and engaged her audience in a series of activities rooted
in improv comedy. (Ella’s rendition of the Lord of the Rings line: “You shall
not pass!” was a personal highlight.) All this larking about provided a
memorable way of showcasing the importance of learners making a choice to personally
commit to content, and approaching projects with an inquisitive, can-do
At this point, Ella and I went our separate ways. While she
debated how L&D underestimates digital and what we need to do to capitalise
on its opportunity, I honed in on what makes effective translation and
localisation, and how this can be achieved to harness learner engagement. Maths
has never been my strong point, but Phily Hayes’ subsequent whistle-stop tour
of his winning formula was as entertaining as it was accessible:
Meanwhile, Ella unearthed ways of future-proofing learning
by incorporating novel approaches and techniques, and pondered the importance
of self-directed learning.
Between sessions we found ourselves immersed in a spot of virtual reality. This sparked my desire to attend Make Real’s session, which provided an excellent rundown of the capabilities of VR and AR in achieving better learning outcomes. Particularly refreshing was that it was underpinned by sound methodology and a keenness for products only to be incorporated with integrity. (Pet peeve: seeing amazing tech used in way that adds nothing in terms of LD).
As the day drew closer to an end, it fell on the shoulders
of Robin Hoyle to keep the curiosity juices flowing – a challenge he met with
great aplomb. As well as collating some of the key themes and discussions of
the day, Robin reminded the audience (in no uncertain terms!) of the importance
of keeping criticality at the forefront of practice, and using data to draw meaningful
conclusions about behaviour change and performance.
And there we had it. A day of tip-top talks and
bond-building chit-chat (a.k.a networking),
bookended with insightful and rousing keynotes.
Ella and I made our way to the bar area (thank you, Good Practice) for a quick tipple before heading back to our respective corners of the UK, all fired up to continue with our mission of designing the most compelling, curiosity-invoking eLearning around.
We spent the breaks discussing our most notable takeaways (with, admittedly, varying degrees of verbal dexterity as the day progressed and our minds became increasingly overwhelmed with input!) – check out the video above!