World of Learning 2019: Our Key Takeaways

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Steve Finch
Thinqi Ambassador
World of Learning 2019: Our Key Takeaways

Last week, we joined thousands of other learning professionals at the UK’s most comprehensive event for all aspects of L&D. It was a fantastic opportunity to hear from leading industry thinkers, discover the latest developments and to showcase how Thinqi helps solve some of the challenges facing the L&D community.

We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who visited the Thinqi stand for a chat, and look forward to sharing the next steps of your journey with you.

In between chatting to delegates, demonstrating our modern learning solution and delivering seminar talks, we were busy keeping our eyes and ears open for the latest trends and developments in the industry.

Missed the event or just need a recap? Here’s what we learned.

L&D practitioners in the changing workplace

We Need to Adapt to High-Frequency Change

Do you ever feel as though change happens faster now? You’re not alone – the majority of us often refer to the changing business environment in terms of speed. In his opening keynote, applied futurist Tom Cheesewright challenged this notion by instead presenting us with the concept of change in terms of frequency. In other words, the business landscape is not going through a rapid change but a high-frequency change, perpetuated by globalisation and advancements in technology. This consists of rapid, smaller waves – each of them powerful enough to disrupt an industry.

In order to best adapt, Tom suggests we start creating what he calls ‘athletic organisations’. These are built on three key things:

    1. Heightening the senses – Organisations need to be continually aware of what other organisations are doing. This is key to informing and adapting the current business model to better prepare for the future.
    2. Accelerating decisions – Organisations must be hyper-decisive and able to take in new information quickly. Power must be pushed to the very edge of the organisation and all employees encouraged to make their own decisions.
    3. Getting in shape for change – Organisations must be able to quickly flex and reconfigure in response to change and new ideas. Using an example of how Amazon’s businesses are built of multiple ‘blocks’ of technology (Amazon Web Services, for example, is built out of these blocks), Tom showed how the company was built to be adaptable. Likewise, our own organisations must be prepared to break down barriers and focus on creating networks, not monoliths.

 

L&D practitioners looking at reports digitally to support modern learners

The Role of the L&D Practitioner is Changing to Support the Needs of the Modern Learner

Speaking of change, we’ve written in the past about how the learning landscape of the modern workforce is undergoing a radical transformation. As learners become more independent and skills requirements evolve, L&D is having to find new ways to respond. 

This is exactly what I talked about in my seminar session, ‘The Changing Role of L&D: What Do Practitioners Need to Be?’. I was delighted that so many people showed a genuine interest in the skills they need to equip themselves with for the future. These skills include:

  • Coaching
  • Collaborating
  • Analysing data
  • Curating content

If you want to learn more about each of these skills, take a look at my blog post, ‘The Changing Role of L&D: What Do Practitioners Need to Be?’.

In her engaging conference session, Dr Valentina Battista also discussed the impact of the changing world of work on L&D. Focusing on the impact of technology in particular, Valentina highlighted how there is huge growth in the use of the latest sophisticated technology in the workplace. As a result of this, 47% of US jobs are in the high risk category (jobs which will be automated in the next decade).

The key takeaway from this session resonated with a fear that has presented itself at previous events this year – the fear that AI and robots are about to take people’s jobs. However, Valentina suggested that rather than worrying, we need to find practical examples of how AI is being used to support L&D. She believes that rather than being a threat, AI can help organisations better analyse individual learning patterns and provide a more personalised, flexible L&D experience. It’s an approach that’s perfectly aligned to the needs of the modern learner.

Colourful picture of happy employees healthy and positive

Healthy Minds Achieve More

As organisations face increasing pressure to deliver more for less, you’ve probably noticed that there has been a lot more focus on wellbeing as a hot topic this year. As the world of work changes, it is paramount that we look after our greatest assets – our people.

In her session, Dr Valentina Battista highlighted the fact that “we need to think more about our employees’ wellbeing and how we can support them in succeeding as individuals. That will be a big challenge for L&D departments in the future.” This was a sentiment echoed by Hugo Metcalf and Jess Hutchinson in their session, ‘What is the Leader’s Role in Wellbeing and Mental Health Issues in Their Organisations?’. They outlined the three core areas that help to measure wellbeing in the workplace. This included focusing on the importance of creating a physical environment that promotes wellbeing – something which is all too easily overlooked.

In her seminar session, Lou Banks of Rising Vibe explored the power of encouraging all emotions to enable high performance and business results. Have you ever noticed how emotions are rarely encouraged or spoken about in business? Lou’s session proved that it is perfectly possible to have the human interactions necessary to build connections while at the same time holding people to account around performance. It’s something we’ve also explored in detail in our previous blog post, ‘Wellbeing at Work: What’s It Got to Do With Performance?’. Further to this, the popularity of workshops held in the designated ‘Mental Wellbeing Zone’ only confirmed how wellbeing is absolutely vital in today’s workplace – something which we noted was a core focus at this year’s CIPD Festival of Work

Employee wellbeing isn’t just a HR issue. If we’re going to get the best out of our people and be prepared for the future of work, we all have a responsibility to care about it.

In Summary…

The sheer range of topics on offer at World of Learning 2019 made for an impressive and insightful event, and feedback across the backchannels of social media was resoundingly positive. 

The key message from the World of Learning 2019? The world of work is changing – and with it, so is the role of L&D in the workplace. It may at first seem a daunting prospect, but as humans we’re naturally fearful of change. Rather than shy away, we need to step forward and embrace it. 

L&D practitioner, it’s your time to shine.

To do this, you’ll first want to get to know what the modern learning landscape looks like. We’ve got just the thing to guide you in your modern learning journey.

Our FREE expert guide will help you to: 

  • Describe what the modern learning landscape looks like 
  • Identify the needs of the modern learner
  • Explain why learning has changed in the workplace
  • Cultivate a culture of learning in the modern workplace

We’re going to be exploring each of these trends and others in coming weeks, so keep an eye on our blog and social media channels to see when these insights are published:

 

 

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Steve Finch
Thinqi Ambassador
Steve Finch is Head of Marketing and Brand Ambassador for Thinqi, the modern learning system. With a background in customer success and digital learning programme delivery, Steve has been helping organisations deliver effective modern learning for nearly 20 years.