Exploring the AI Wave at DevLearn Las Vegas 2023

Looking over the Grand Canyon and into the future how will AI effect the learning and development industry?

As DevLearn 2023 concluded, it was evident that the surge of AI had become the central focal point, transforming the landscape of technology integration and learning methodologies. The event marked a significant departure from the prior year, which had spotlighted VR and AR innovations.

The evolution of DevLearn’s focus reflected the monumental advancements in AI technology, exemplified by the groundbreaking presence of ChatGPT and BARD. This year, encounters with Synthesia’s co-founder Steffen Tjerrild showcased the powerful impact of AI, especially in the domain of text-to-video platforms.

Among the many impressive demonstrations, one that stood out was the Descript video editing software. This tool allowed seamless editing of video transcripts, enabling the transformation of a 30-minute video into a concise, powerful 3-minute video by editing the accompanying transcript. This breakthrough exemplified the potential for efficient content transformation, revolutionizing the way we consume video content.

I talked about how learning and productivity tools
are converging

Amidst the technological strides, a critical question emerged: the future landscape of jobs in the era of AI. The query echoes Elon Musk’s vision. Will AI gradually replace all jobs, or will it provoke a shift towards different roles where human creativity and judgment prevail? The event sparked discussions on the role of AI in job landscapes, hinting that while some roles might be automated, it’s more about a redefinition of tasks, where AI aids in augmenting human capabilities rather than solely replacing them.

The dialogue pondered the prospects of a future where human ingenuity and innovation merge with AI’s efficiency, indicating a symbiotic relationship rather than an adversarial one. The future, it seemed, will likely see humans engaging in more cognitive, creative, and judgment-centric tasks, while AI handles repetitive, mundane duties.

Aura Robots manufactured in Cornwall converse with visitors at the Sphere in Las Vegas

We visited the Sphere Complex, experiencing the impressive interactive screens with immersive sound effects. Among the captivating displays, we witnessed Aura, the AI robot, engaging in conversations with the general public, showcasing its remarkable communication abilities and interacting seamlessly with visitors.

And DevLearn 2023 has not just showcased the ascendancy of AI but also has initiated conversations about the imminent changes in the professional sphere. The event has left us pondering the harmonious collaboration between human potential and AI, opening a new chapter in the evolution of work dynamics.

DevLearn 2023, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Panel Discussion at OLS23
July 12th

Online Learning Summit 23, The University of Leeds

Learning Summit Podcast – OLS23 Review

I had the privilege of attending The Online Learning Summit 2023 (OLS23) held at the University of Leeds on July 10-11, 2023. The summit brought together a remarkable gathering of industry experts, educators, and leaders with a shared goal of exploring the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in online education. Throughout the event, there was a strong emphasis on promoting equity, fostering inclusion, and driving innovation in the online learning landscape.

Margaret Korosec opened the Online Learning Summit 23 at The University of Leeds

OLS23 offered a diverse range of sessions and presentations that covered a wide spectrum of topics. These sessions provided valuable insights into various aspects of online education and showcased the remarkable work being done in the field. Attendees had the opportunity to engage with thought leaders, participate in panel discussions, and learn from the experiences of pioneers in online learning.

Neil Mosley looked at the growth of online learning students at UK HEIs

Day 1 Highlights

Neil Mosley: The Online Learning Landscape in UK Higher Education

Neil Mosley’s presentation set the stage by discussing the UK’s online learning landscape. He highlighted the growing applicability of online distance learning as a solution to challenges faced by UK higher education, including accommodating increasing numbers of students and addressing the student housing crisis. Mosley emphasized that online learning can help meet the demand for university education and provide flexibility for learners with other commitments. He also discussed the types of online education companies and courses available, showcasing the growing importance of online distance learning within higher education institutions.

Aaron Kessler from MIT explored The Learning Engineering Process

Applying the Learning Engineering Process: Continually and Iteratively Supporting Online Learning

This session, led by Aaron Kessler from MIT, focused on the learning engineering process (LEP) and its application in online learning. Participants explored how to address learner and instructor challenges, consider contextual factors, and leverage available team members to support online learning. The session highlighted the importance of engaging with examples from online learning contexts and emphasized the iterative and complex nature of the LEP within organizations and programs.

Donald talked about AI and Ethics in Higher Education

AI and Ethics Panel Discussion

Chaired by Jo-Anne Murray, this panel session explored the intersection of artificial intelligence (AI) and ethics in the context of online learning. Speakers such as Donald Clark, along with panelists Eric Atwell, Adam Nosal, and Andrew Kirton, discussed considerations when engaging with AI in learning, the roles of students and educators, and the impact of AI on humanity. The discussion delved into the potential benefits of AI in learning, such as improving learning outcomes, providing consistency, and offering fast feedback to learners. Ethical implications and the need for responsible AI implementation were also addressed.

What’s in a Name: MOOC, Short Course, Microcredential

In this session, Megan Kime chaired a panel consisting of Melissa Highton, Chrissi Nerantzi, Salha Abdo, and Steve Osborne. The discussion revolved around different online course models, such as MOOCs, short courses, and microcredentials, and their role in serving learners and society. The panel explored the potential for stacking credits and courses into a degree, the recognition of component parts of education, and the need for consensus around online pedagogy and delivery models.

Day 2 Highlights

Joann Kozyrev talked about Wicked Problems

Bringing Wicked Education Problems to Heel: Three Ways of Thinking

Chaired by Jo-Anne Murray, this session featured Joann Kozyrev and a panel discussing how three different ways of thinking—systems thinking, design thinking, and futures thinking—can help address complex educational problems. The session emphasized the need to identify root causes, engage in creative problem-solving, and consider future possibilities. By leveraging these different problem-solving mindsets, educators and institutions can untangle wicked problems, design executable solutions, and prevent new problems from emerging.

Bo Kelestyn talked about enhancing the student experience with podcasting

Podcasting for Engagement and Impact

James Pickering chaired this session, featuring Bo Kelestyn from the University of Warwick. Kelestyn shared her experiences using podcasting in educational practice, showcasing examples from teaching, community building, and profile development. The session explored the role of podcasting in enhancing student engagement, improving learning outcomes, and fostering community connections. Kelestyn highlighted the importance of diverse voices, co-creation with students, and the promotion of individual and institutional profiles through podcasting.

Margaret Korosec chaired a panel discussion on learning design maturity

Developing Learning Design Maturity

Margaret Korosec chaired this session led by Neil Mosley, with panelists Leonard Houx, Matt Cornock, and Marlies Gration. The session focused on the challenges and opportunities of embedding learning design in universities. The panel explored the organizational and individual challenges faced by learning designers, highlighting the need for a learning design maturity framework. The session emphasized the importance of observing, listening to, and learning from students, designing for scale, and adapting teaching approaches to meet the needs of global online learners.

These sessions at OLS23 provided valuable insights into various aspects of online learning, including the landscape, ethics, pedagogy, accessibility, and future possibilities. The summit fostered a collaborative and innovative environment, encouraging educators and leaders to reimagine education, address challenges, and strive for equitable and inclusive online learning experiences. As OLS23 came to a close, participants were inspired to continue the conversations, implement transformative practices, and shape the future of online education.

Learning Solutions 2023, Orlando, Florida
April 22nd

Learning Solutions 2023, Orlando, Florida

Learning Solutions 2023 Review

I had the opportunity to attend the Learning Solutions 2023 Conference hosted by the Learning Guild, held at the beautiful Rosen Shingle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida. As an avid learner and professional in the eLearning industry, I was thrilled to participate in this annual event that brings together learning and development professionals from around the world.

During my time at the conference, I had the chance to attend keynote presentations, participate in hands-on workshops, and network with fellow professionals in the industry. The sessions were informative, engaging, and covered a range of topics, including instructional design, eLearning development, performance support, and emerging technologies. Here a just a few reflections from Key Notes and Sessions I attended.

5 Lessons from KateTheChemist

KateTheChemist.com is the website of Dr. Kate Biberdorf, a scientist, professor, and science entertainer. Her website is a treasure trove of resources for science enthusiasts of all ages, featuring experiments, videos, and educational content that makes science fun and accessible. Here are five tips we can learn from KateTheChemist.com

Remember Williams James

William James, a pioneering psychologist, once said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” KateTheChemist.com embodies this philosophy, using the power of positive attitude and enthusiasm to make science accessible and fun. By adopting a positive attitude and looking for the fun in science, we can all become better science communicators and enthusiasts.

Look into your community

One of the things that sets KateTheChemist apart is its focus on community. Kate is passionate about reaching out to young people and underrepresented groups, bringing science to them in a way that is engaging and accessible. By looking into your own community and finding ways to engage with people who may not have access to science education, you can make a difference and inspire the next generation of scientists.

Consider your image

KateTheChemist.com is a great example of how important image can be when it comes to science communication. Kate’s bright pink lab coat and bubbly personality help to break down barriers and make science fun and accessible. When communicating science, it’s important to consider your image and how you are presenting yourself. By adopting a fun and approachable persona, you can help to make science more engaging and accessible to a wider audience.

Be a good mentor

KateTheChemist.com is not just about science experiments and videos – it’s also about mentorship. Kate is passionate about helping young people find their passion for science, and she serves as a mentor and role model for many aspiring scientists. As science enthusiasts, we can all strive to be good mentors and role models for others, whether it’s by volunteering at a local school or community center, or simply by sharing our enthusiasm for science with others.

Breathe fire

Finally, KateTheChemist.com is all about breathing fire – that is, being passionate and enthusiastic about science. By embracing our inner fire and sharing our love of science with others, we can inspire the next generation of scientists and make a real difference in the world. So let’s all take a page from KateTheChemist.com and breathe fire – who knows what amazing discoveries we might make!

Dr Greggory Wright - Fighting Isolationism
Dr Greggory Wright – Fighting Isolationism

Winning Against Isolation: 3 Types of Motivation for E-Learning Success

In the world of e-learning, motivation is a critical factor that can make or break a learner’s success. That’s why I was particularly excited to attend Dr. Gregory Wright’s presentation on “Winning Against Isolation: 3 Types of Motivation for E-Learning Success” at the Learning Solutions 2023 Conference hosted by the Learning Guild.

Dr. Wright is an accomplished author, speaker, and consultant in the fields of e-learning and instructional design, with over 25 years of experience in the industry. In his presentation, he shared his insights on the three types of motivation that can help learners succeed in e-learning, even in the face of isolation and other challenges.

Whether you are studying from home or working remotely, it can be difficult to stay motivated and engaged when you are alone. However, there are ways to overcome this challenge and win against isolation. In this blog post, we will explore three types of motivation and how they can help you stay motivated and achieve your goals.

Motivation 1.0: Survival

The first type of motivation is survival. This is the most basic form of motivation and is rooted in our biological need to survive. In an isolated environment, this type of motivation can be useful when it comes to completing essential tasks, such as eating, sleeping, and staying healthy. To tap into this type of motivation, you can focus on the benefits of completing these tasks, such as feeling energized and healthy, which can help you stay motivated.

Motivation 2.0: Rewards and Punishments

The second type of motivation is rewards and punishments, also known as carrots and sticks. This type of motivation is based on the idea that people will work harder if they are rewarded for their efforts or punished for their mistakes. While this type of motivation can be effective in the short term, it is not sustainable in the long term. In an isolated environment, it can be difficult to implement this type of motivation, as there are no immediate rewards or punishments. Instead, you can focus on setting goals and rewarding yourself when you achieve them. For example, you could treat yourself to a movie or a meal when you complete a challenging task.

Motivation 3.0: Autonomy, Intrinsic, and Self-Directed

The third type of motivation is autonomy, intrinsic, and self-directed motivation. This type of motivation is based on the idea that people are most motivated when they have control over their work and are doing something they find meaningful. In an isolated environment, this type of motivation can be particularly effective, as it allows you to take ownership of your learning and work. To tap into this type of motivation, you can focus on finding tasks that you find meaningful and that align with your interests and values. You can also set goals that are aligned with your personal and professional aspirations and create a plan to achieve them.

In conclusion, winning against isolation requires motivation, and there are three types of motivation that can help you stay motivated and achieve your goals. Survival motivation is useful for completing essential tasks, rewards and punishments can help you achieve short-term goals, while autonomy, intrinsic, and self-directed motivation can help you stay motivated and engaged in the long term. By understanding these types of motivation and how to tap into them, you can overcome the challenges of isolation and achieve success in your learning and work.

Social/Systems Assessment: Evaluating the Health of Your Organization

Mark Britz, Director of Events, Learning Guild
Mark Britz, Director of Events, Learning Guild talked about Social Learning

Mark Britz, Director of Events, gave a presentation on social learning and its impact on the learning industry. With his extensive experience in the field of learning and development, Mark shared his insights and best practices for creating effective social learning experiences. Mark has devised a social learning survey to evaluate how your organisation is performing when it comes to social learning.

In any organization, there are a variety of systems and processes in place that impact how employees work together, communicate, and achieve their goals. Social and systems assessments can be a useful tool to evaluate how well these systems are functioning and identify areas for improvement.

The assessment tool presented here includes nine statements related to key organizational design elements, such as decision-making rights, talent development, and recognition and rewards. By rating your level of agreement with each statement, you can gain insight into the health of your organization and identify areas for improvement.

Some of the key areas to pay attention to in the assessment include:

  • Decision-Making Rights: Do employees have a voice in decision-making processes that affect them? Are they able to offer input and feedback?
  • Talent Development: Are employees actively seeking out training and development opportunities? Are they giving and receiving feedback as part of the development process?
  • Leadership & Management: Are employees clear on the goals and vision of the organization? Are they comfortable approaching leaders and managers with ideas and concerns?
  • Knowledge Management: Are employees actively seeking out and using information and knowledge from various sources? Are they participating in knowledge-sharing initiatives and forums?
  • Recognition & Rewards: Are employees clear on the criteria and process for recognition and rewards? Are they providing feedback and suggestions for improvement?
  • Technology: Are employees actively using enterprise social technology tools to share information and collaborate with colleagues?
  • Roles & Responsibilities: Do employees understand their own roles and responsibilities within the organization? Are they communicating openly with managers and colleagues to ensure alignment?
  • Business Processes: Are employees collaborating with other departments and teams to streamline and optimize workflows and procedures? Is there ample space for employees to engage in deeper conversations about assignments and tasks?

Attending the Learning Solutions 2023 Conference was a great opportunity to connect with learning and development professionals from around the world. Whether it’s inspiring the future workforce as KateTheChemist does “breathing fire”, tips of fighting Isolationism from Dr Greggory Wright or how to advance social learning in your organisation by rewarding transparent this learning community of best practices continues to add value not just to individual and teams but to real businesses. The most important thing is to take any learnings away and share them with people who didn’t attend so that they can learn and develop.

Learning Summit Leeds 2023
March 28th

Learning Summit Leeds 2023, The Queens Hotel

Webanywhere held its Leeds user group at the Queens Hotel in Leeds. The event brought together a diverse group of customers, including Babington, Multiverse, NRLS, and Corgi Technical Services, for a day of learning and storytelling.

The event kicked off with introductions, followed by each customer sharing their story of how they implemented the learning management system and the learning experiences they currently offer. Interestingly, two apprenticeship organisations and two customers interested in all things property when it comes to health and safety, governance, and compliance were present.

Customer Storytelling and Sharing at The Queens Hotel, Leeds

Babington, one of the UK’s leading apprenticeship providers, spoke about the need for consolidation and a unified user experience across the myriad of systems they have within the business. They highlighted that there are opportunities around a seamless user experience and greater software integration to reduce the amount of administration within the business.

Multiverse, another leading Apprenticeship provider, shared stories about their online learning platform, which looks after not only apprenticeship managers but also coaches and internal support teams. They also discussed their key priorities, which include reducing the amount of administration time for Multiverse coaches and enhancing the user experience. They stressed the importance of unifying the learning experience and ensuring that there is tight systems integration so that platforms talk to each other.

Lunch and Learn at Learning Summit Leeds 2022, The Queens Hotel

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) shared how their business has been transformed following the pandemic. They have now created a content and e-learning design team, and online learning is now 80% of the delivery method. It was interesting to understand how members of the Association gain CPD credits that can be used then for discounts when purchasing other landlord services.

Finally, Corgi Technical Services described how they are at the beginning of their e-learning journey. They highlighted the need to create modern consumable courses and increase quality alongside a platform to house and deliver this material.

Overall, the event was a great success and an opportunity for customers to learn from one another. It was good to see the common groups with two businesses focused on the apprenticeship agenda and two on the needs of the property industry. Hopefully, the cross-pollination and relationships built will lead to property apprenticeship opportunities between the various organisations.

The Change Journey
March 5th

The Change Journey

The Change Journey – Sean Gilligan Podcast

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented changes in various aspects of our lives, and it’s important to understand the impact of change and how to handle it effectively. Dr. Britt Andreatta, an expert in leadership and learning, shares her insights on this topic.

One of the key issues with change is that not all change is created equal. Some changes are minor, and we can quickly adapt to them, while others are more significant and can take a lot of time to acclimate to. Dr. Andreatta suggests using a “Change Matrix” to assess the impact of change on individuals and teams. This matrix maps the amount of disruption to the time required for acclimation. By understanding how each change affects individuals, we can plan better and manage change effectively.

Leaders need to be thoughtful on how change can disrupt their teams over time

The brain’s resistance to change is also a critical factor to consider. The brain is wired for three things: survival, belonging, and becoming our best selves. Change can often trigger our survival instincts, causing us to resist it. The brain’s GPS system and habits also play a role in our response to change. It’s essential to understand how the brain works and why people react to change the way they do to manage change effectively.

Leaders play a crucial role in managing change, and they can fall into one of three categories: expedition designers, trailblazers, or guides. Each of these roles has a unique perspective on change, and they must work together to manage change effectively. 

Change is the only constant in life, and it is evident that organisations are constantly undergoing changes. However, not all changes are equal, and the effectiveness of change initiatives is not always guaranteed. In fact, research shows that 50-70% of change initiatives fail. Therefore, assessing the impact of change and understanding the brain science of resistance are critical for successful change initiatives.

Assessing the impact of change is essential as not all changes are the same, and different types of changes require varying levels of acclimation. Factors that influence the level of acclimation required include the amount of disruption, the total number of changes, and the duration of the change. To effectively manage change, organisations can use a change matrix that maps individuals’ capacity for change against the amount of change happening.

Emotions also play a significant role in the success of change initiatives. When change is announced, people often experience shock, fear, and denial, which may progress to stress, anger, frustration, depression, and confusion. Therefore, change leaders must plan how people are going to react to change and focus on the potential gains and state of hope to shorten the duration and lessen the disruption.

The brain is wired to resist change, and it is predisposed to survival, belonging, and becoming the best selves. To successfully lead change initiatives, leaders must understand the brain’s resistance to change, which is influenced by the fear, GPS, habits, and failure parts of the brain.

Change fatigue is another critical issue to consider when leading change initiatives. Research shows that 47% of senior executives experience change fatigue, which leads to disengagement, exhaustion, absenteeism, confusion, conflict, and cynicism. 

Change leaders can mitigate change fatigue by involving detractors and non-active participants, controlling the narrative, and managing resistance to change.

Effective change leadership involves three main types of leadership roles: expedition designers, trailblazers, and guides. Expedition designers have a long view of the organisation and are responsible for designing the change initiatives. Trailblazers enable change to happen by doing something before the change occurs, while guides, often managers and supervisors, lead people through the change.

Change is inevitable, and the success of change initiatives depends on the human side of change. Change leaders must understand the brain’s resistance to change, assess the impact of change, control the narrative, and manage resistance to change. Additionally, they should focus on involving all stakeholders in the change initiatives and ensuring effective handoffs between the leadership roles. Finally, to mitigate change fatigue, change leaders should focus on creating a culture of positivity, celebrating progress, and milestones, and holding people accountable for their goals.

Communication is also critical when it comes to change management. Leaders must control the narrative and involve detractors early to avoid resistance and address the concerns of non-active participants.

The pandemic has brought about significant changes, and people have been struggling to cope with the changes, leading to burnout. It’s essential to pay special attention to burnout and provide support to individuals and teams going through significant changes.

Change is a journey, and it’s important to understand the impact of change and how to handle it effectively. By understanding the science behind change and the role of leaders, we can manage change effectively, minimize resistance, and ensure a smooth transition to the new normal.

Learning Summit Katowice 2023
February 15th

Learning Summit, Katowice 2023

Learning professionals from different organisations and industries gathered at the Learning Summit in Katowice to discuss their experiences and insights on learning management systems (LMS). Companies and organisations included Croner-i, The British Safety Council, JetBlue, MCG Health and Babington.

Salesforce CRM and LMS Integration

The summit was a great platform to learn about how various organisations have integrated their LMS with Salesforce CRM and how they track continuing professional development (CPD) points. Here are some of the key insights shared by the participants:. One of the key topics discussed at the summit was how different organisations have integrated their LMS with Salesforce CRM. The speakers, including representatives from Croner-I, MCG Health, Babington, Medtronic, and The British Safety Council, shared their experiences and insights on how this integration has helped their organisations streamline their training programs and customer management. By integrating their LMS with Salesforce, organisations can easily track their learners’ progress, manage their customer database, and create personalised learning plans for their employees and customers.

LTI Content: Portable Learning

Another interesting topic discussed at the summit was the use of LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) content. Babington shared their experience of discovering 200 publishers of LTI content, which is portable and can be easily integrated into any LMS. LTI content is designed to work across different learning platforms and can be used to enhance the learning experience for students by providing them with access to a wide range of learning resources.

JetBlue Scholars: Reimbursing College Degrees

JetBlue Scholars shared how they support their flight crew to complete their college degrees online with content from study.com and sofia.org. The program provides reimbursement for the cost of the degree and allows the crew to continue working while studying. This innovative program has helped JetBlue improve employee retention and satisfaction, while also providing their employees with the opportunity to enhance their skills and knowledge.

ProductBoard with Jira: Planning Future Product Roadmaps

Martin at Medtronic shared how they use ProductBoard with Jira to plan future product roadmaps for Medtronic Academy. This integration has helped them to streamline their product planning process, while also improving communication and collaboration between team members. By using this approach, they are able to deliver high-quality products that meet the needs of their customers.

Latest Version of Totara

Meredith Henson of Totara streamed in a talk with the latest version of Totara, version 17. She shared how Totara has rewritten their report building and consolidated their notifications into one place, improving the overall user experience. She also announced that Totara 18 will be released in November 2023. Participants were excited to learn about the new features and improvements that will be available in the latest version of Totara.

JetBlue at the Katowice Learning Summit
JetBlue at the Katowice Learning Summit

Role of AI in LMS Development

The summit concluded by exploring the role of AI in future LMS developments and how UX UI is important for improving the learning experiences on desktops, mobile, and even TVs. The participants discussed how AI can be used to personalise the learning experience for each individual, making it more engaging and effective. They also emphasised the importance of UX UI design in creating an intuitive and user-friendly interface for learners, which can help to improve engagement and retention.

Arthur Howie, Solutions Architect at Webanywhere demonstrated how Chat GPT can create a video script which can then be fed into a video AI application such as Synthesia to create a life like e-learning video for delivery via an LMS. On the one hand this make video creation very cost effective and perhaps enhances the user experience. However there are questions around ethics and perhaps the robots taking away jobs. It was thought that for internal use only AI generated video could be used but not in customer education portals with external users. The technology is improving all the time but it has a way to go until you can’t spot the different between a real human video narrator and a computer complied presenter.

In conclusion, the Learning Summit in Katowice provided a great platform for learning professionals to share their experiences and insights on LMS and CRM integration, LTI content, college reimbursement programs, future product roadmaps, and the role of AI in LMS development. It was a great opportunity for participants to learn from each other and exchange ideas on how to improve the learning experience for their employees and customers.