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Savoring the NextSteps 2017 experience in New Orleans

Ahh, New Orleans in late Spring… Hot. Steamy. Streets humming with energy. Perfect setting for the NextSteps 2017 conference organised by LEO Learning’s partner company NetDimensions, featuring appearances by a cadre of our top thinkers and industry leaders. In fact, other than a few pounds of fried chicken and andouille sausage, the absolute best part of the conference was spending time with the big brains behind NetDimensions, founding members of Learning Technologies Group (LTG), thought leaders from LEO Learning, Rustici Software and Watershed, not to mention cameos by measurement experts at LTG and Brandon Hall Group.

Driving elearning trends: LTG has big plans for the future

The NetDimensions team did a great job of coordinating speakers and guests, providing tasty and authentic Louisiana food and, most importantly, bringing in expert voices from the learning community. Hot topics included NetDimensions Managing Director Peter Gordon’s welcome and discussion of NetDimensions’ future priorities, LTG Chief Executive Jonathan Satchell’s passionate opening about who and what LTG is, and the subject of measuring learning impact (a big topic!).

Peter Gordon’s welcome and explanation of NetDimension’s priorities was exciting for our customers. Among the items high up on the list are new cloud-based hosting (Amazon Web Services) and enhancing client services by more availability in time zones, fewer steps between the customer and support, and deeper expertise in tier 1 support.

LEO Learning was a sponsor at NextSteps 2017 in New Orleans

Jonathan Satchell’s opening and reminder of what LTG is all about was inspiring and energizing. Our customers applauded his passionate reminder of what it’s like to work with LTG: first-class customer experience every time, and a philosophy that our senior management and industry thought leaders are involved at all levels and always available to help. Particularly interesting was Jonathan’s explanation that trends we see in the web lead trends we see in elearning by about 9-10 months, and his encouragement to focus on measurement.

The importance of measuring learning impact

Our own Piers Lea and David Wentworth of Brandon Hall both talked about measurement, making the business case as well as insights from Piers’ research on the growing appetite for measuring the impact of learning at work. ROI and measurement as a topic is getting real now, whereas in the past you might have heard, “it’s impossible to measure the impact of training since there are so many other variables, or costs, or…[insert myriad excuses]!” David also gave me some tips on creating winning Brandon Hall Excellence Award submissions and, you guessed it, the key is measurement.

And I have to make mention of one of the best talks at the conference: Going Beyond Content Categorization by yours truly. All jokes aside, it was a great presentation informed by recent partnerships between me and some favorite clients. We have been focusing on creating access to types of content based on actual learner stories. Think hubs created based on the learner’s whole story (backstory, emotion, reason for coming to the learning), versus pushing content based on competency, category or linear/time alone.

LEO Learning's Rose Benedicks presenting at NextSteps 2017 in New Orleans

Presenting at NextSteps 2017

What’s next after NextSteps?

All in all, it was a great opportunity to mingle with the top minds (and let them mingle with me), meet the amazingly loyal and open NetDimensions customers, and get reminded of why I love every project and team I get to work with. I am happy to talk more to anyone, make introductions or whatever I can do to bring us closer together.

LEO Learning and NetDimensions staff at NextSteps 2017 in New Orleans
Rose Benedicks is a Program Director at LEO Learning.

Want to know more? Read LEO Learning’s insights into the top 10 components for measuring the business impact of learning