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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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, 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 2022 in Orlando, Florida came quickly off the back of our attendance at DevLearn. My last 2 trips to America involved lost baggage and myself scrabbling for help from colleagues whilst visiting clothes shops for emergency provisions. Perhaps this time my travel experience would be smoother.
The last time I visited Learning 2022 approximately 10 years ago Captain “Sully” Sullenberger received a standing ovation for his heroic efforts in landing a distressed plane on the Hudson river in New York. The Learning Leaders Conference was set up by Elliott Massie who coined the phrase e-learning and is now owned and operated by Closer Still Media which host the Learning Technologies Show in London, Online Educa in Berlin, DevLearn in Las Vegas and Learning Solutions in Orlando.
Learning 2022 was back for the first time in 3 years in-person with approximately 1,000 attendees much smaller than DevLearn 2022 and indeed ATD 22 however the conference felt like going back to school with more focus on sessions and talks rather than the expo area.
One of the stand-out talks of the show was a keynote talk given by Duncan Wardle the former VP of Creativity and Innovation at Disney. In his talk he said when delivering a presentation you are much better off printing out the slides and putting them up on the walls around a room. You can then take the audience on a journey walking them through each slide. This gets people away from their tables which are guarded and lets people join in the conversation more freely. In another exercise, Duncan ran an experiment with participants. At first, Duncan got us to talk about an idea with one person saying “no” all the time similar to Eeyore out of Winney the Poo. Secondly, we talked through ideas again but this time using the phrase “yes and” to each idea. Not only did this make the ideas more diverse and wide-ranging but a sense of shared ownership was instilled. Sharing ideas ultimately means it’s more likely to happen and this technique is most certainly something I will try back in the office when we next have a brainstorming session.
One of the more bizarre talks was CEO of the Learning Guild David Kelly interviewing a robot called Sophia on stage. Sophia the robot was equipped with a camera and all sorts of high-tech widgets. It was particularly funny watching Sophia change her body language to mirror David’s as part of the demonstration. Sophia hardly had any technical hiccups and it is quite scary how fast robotics and artificial intelligence is now happening.
Donald H. Taylor who Chairs the Learning Technologies Conference in London gave a session on What Makes a Great Chief Learning Officer where people debated whether it’s better to come from an L&D background or from outside of the industry. Donald’s talk took us on a journey up a mountain where in the foothills the skills needed for learning and development management are quite different to the strategy skills required for a successful CLO. In the foothills of the mountain, you need your walking boots and a good walking stick. When you reach the ice cap at the top of a mountain a pick axe is needed and perhaps an oxygen cylinder instead of a rucksack. Most people concluded it was better to come from within the L&D industry. The question asked is whether the learning function should be called learning & development or learning & performance. Performance seems to resonate more with C-suite executives so but most learning professionals refer to the industry as L&D.
I myself gave a talk entitled Building Empathy into Learning Experiences which examined new ways of working and learning in this post-pandemic “Work from Anywhere’ era. People have become siloed and the distribution of people getting the work done means new approaches are needed. I explained how Sound Branch can open access to everyone for making podcasting quick and easy with no editing or scheduling needed. Sound Branch works by building podcasts from voice notes where traditional podcasts are scheduled for live recording Sound Branch playlists record podcasts with voice notes meaning no editing is needed. In addition hosts and guests have greater flexibility to their schedule as they can record the voice notes when and where they please. Instead of recording a podcast over 1-hour session, you can create the podcast over a few days giving time for reflection and preparation.
Async video is a big opportunity for remote communication and learning and we should default to screencasts not Zoom calls for certain types of learning engagements. I explain how Watch and Learn can be used for one-way communication where posting a video is more empathetic than text-based mediums. Finally, I discuss opportunities for social learning with virtual career fairs or internally in a business with virtual coffees to foster more informal conversations in the workplace.
Shortly, after we arrived in Florida a weather warning was issued with Storm Nicole in the Bahamas and making its way inland towards the Sunshine State. Our networking event at Disney’s Epcot was made interesting by the wet and wild weather adding another dimension to the pub crawl as we kept looking for shelter whilst hopping over puddles.
Orlando airport closed for two days delaying our return to the UK. On the final day in Florida, the sun was shining and I wasn’t particularly looking forward to the cold weather back home. It was my 3rd time in Orlando this year so perhaps we will be back soon on business or pleasure. I think in-person events are more valuable now than ever with more people working from home the need for human connection is in demand. Bring on Learning 2023!
We are now onto the second day of the Learning Technologies Exhibition in London, and so far the show has been a real success for Webanywhere.
It began yesterday, with a seminar by our very own Kristine Clough. Kristine presented ‘Successful Onboarding With e-Learning’ – a study into how Webanywhere’s Totara solution met the needs of University College London Hospitals (UCLH). The fact that UCLH’s Rob Beer agreed to co-present the seminar with Kristine was a fantastic bonus, and resulted in standing room only at Theatre 6!
If you’re visiting the Learning Technologies Exhibition today, there’s the chance to win an iPad with Webanywhere and another of our prestigious clients, the British Safety Council. All visitors need to do is visit our stand (158), and then visit British Safety Council’s stand (100), and they’ll be entered into the draw!
Our Workplace Learning team have also put together a guide to Learning Tech – it’s called 7 Things To Look Out For At Learning Technologies 2014 and can be downloaded here.
Welcome! As MD of Webanywhere Ltd, I'm interested in everything to do with e-learning and the web.
Amongst my random thoughts and witterings, I'll keep this blog up to date with some of the best ideas and resources that I find online, plus snippets from our company news.