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Learning Technologies 2018: A View From the Conference

As usual Learning Technologies 2018 offered a wealth of insights and a chance to reset, refresh and reconsider approaches.

This year, I was attending with a slightly different hat on. My primary focus was on gaining insights which I could use in our internal training and development planning.

At LEO Learning’s parent company, Learning Technologies Group, we are actively engaged in practicing what we preach, and are extending the LEO Learning approach to the measurement of our internal learning provision. Discover more about the LEO Learning approach to measurement and data strategies.

It’s helpful that we can use the excellent NetDimensions Talent Suite platform, from our NetDimensions colleagues, which allows us to add pre- and post-surveys to our internal sessions. Of course, these surveys aren’t standard ‘happy sheets’ but measures of confidence and understanding that can be used pre- and post-session. I was lucky to be able catch-up briefly with Will Thalheimer about his work in this area. His book, Performance-Focused Smile Sheets, is a great place to start.

Engaging learners with Nudge Theory

It was really interesting to hear more about what others are doing in the world of measurement. I enjoyed Trish Uhl’s talk about how data science, the science of decision-making and behavioural science all come together in learning analytics. She talked about ‘hyperbolic discounting’ which is a term that comes from Nudge Theory.

By her account, this term is all about how we humans tend to prioritise the immediate and concrete over the long-term and abstract. This certainly resonates with my own research into learning – people often say that they make plans to learn, but then something urgent comes up and the planned learning gets postponed.

The benefits of completing a learning programme may feel more long-term and abstract, whereas the reward that comes from dealing with the distraction feels more concrete and immediate.

One way we can counter the challenges of hyperbolic discounting is to design learning that can be delivered in smaller chunks, and to give people nudges and tasks to tick off at relatively short intervals.

This helps provide rewards for completion that are more short-term and immediate. Doing this helps learning compete with the more short-term and immediate emotional rewards of attending to urgent emails, and completing other more short-term work-related tasks. We use NetDimensions Talent Suite reminder emails and completion features to help with this.

Evidence-based assessments: should they stay or go?

Another highlight of the Learning Technologies 2018 conference, for me, was Ulrich Bose’s opening talk on the 10 things that will help learners to learn. I always appreciate evidence-based direction on effective learning techniques, and Bose’s talk was firmly evidence-based. It sparked some lively debate towards the end, as to whether we should ditch multiple choice questions in elearning on the grounds that as the options are presented on screen, they don’t stimulate recall.

Bose’s take was that we should view these questions as a trade-off – while perhaps not perfect for stimulating recall, they do test understanding.

So all in all, Learning Technologies 2018 was a vibrant and busy session that just seemed to fly by. In addition to the conference, I also spent some time down on the exhibition floor and caught up with a lot of people at the LEO Learning, NetDimensions, Watershed and Gomo stands – looking great as usual – they just get better every year!

If you’d like to discover how LEO Learning’s award-winning solutions can help your organisation, contact us today.

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