It’s January and for some in the UK, time for post-Christmas bloat, New Year’s resolutions and the Learning Technology/Learning and Skills show!

I’ve attended what’s referred to as Learning Tech or LAS for a few years now, engaging with, enjoying and learning from each year more than the last. I know that 2013 isn’t going to be any different, so I thought I’d reflect on last year’s exhibition and conversations prior to planning this year’s.

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The live Twitter wall showing who’s posting on social media… oh look, there’s Jo!

Intimate conference conversations

In 2012 I met Laura Overton, MD of Towards Maturity, as I’ve blogged about here, during a Learning eXchange. These eXchanges were hosted by Towards Maturity and Training Journal to give free-exhibition attendees a chance to interact with some of the ticket-only conference speakers. These are small groups and focused around a particular topic.

Last year’s event was where I had some of my early ventures into social media for work purposes – I recall finding out about the eXchanges through Twitter and reading the webpage to find out more.

I’ll admit to not really understanding at the time what I was signing up for, but it sounded like a good thing! This year’s eXchange is explained here, as well as the topics and speakers of the sessions you can book on for free, or just turn up to if you don’t mind chancing a space. I think this year’s is explained much better – however having just looked up last years article, maybe it was more about my lack of understanding…

Learning strategy and the business

At the session I attended with Laura Overton I met, amongst others, Ben Betts, MD of HT2, where we discussed “How do we ensure our learning strategy remains responsive to business change?” This lead to me following Ben’s and Laura’s tweets.

This year I’m looking forward to hearing Ben speak about content curation at the free evening event Curation Camp. Also speaking at Curation Camp is my colleague from Bupa International, Learning Technologies Manager Craig Taylor.

Musical endeavour

At the TJ Learning eXchange I had a fascinating conversation with Ben Hines, who is the Founder and Director of Moving Performance, about his work where music is used to help organisations deal with learning and change.

Martyn Sloman was another great conversationalist – a research academic and principal consultant to the TJ L&D 2020 project. It was fascinating speaking with someone with such a broad understanding of the industry and with an academic angle.

It’s not all about the numbers

Charles Jennings, Jeff Kortenbosch and Jo Cook working together at a conference, a few years after this original post

I met and talked with conference speaker Charles Jennings, thought leader, learning and performance consultant and MD of Duntroon Associates. We spoke about  workplace learning and the challenges and applications of 70:20:10, which I’d heard Charles speak eloquently about at previous Learning Technologies events. You can find out more about 70:20:10 through this Youtube video, this slideshare or this blog, all from Charles, who is also on Twitter.

A little spark

Debbie Carter and Jo Cook, working together at the TJ Awards, some years after first meeting, as noted below

One of the most important people I met was Debbie Carter, Research Director for Training Journal. We spoke for a while and have kept in contact, resulting in me submitting a feature published in TJ and writing about the L&D 2020 events, which I’ve linked to in my blog posts.

This year’s learning eXchange looks no less fascinating and, for me, is probably the best part of the two days. I’ll see you there!