I met futurist and Learning Technologies 2013 keynote speaker Gerd Leonhard in the pub at Curation Camp, which proves you should always go to fringe events!

Gerd was engaging an entertaining as the day two keynote speaker.


He highlighted something that IT departments around the world seem not be embracing, that “learners are leading innovation. We sometimes have better tools than the company do” and that this causes a “huge amount of disruption and opportunity… are we still going to be learning for later, as I did when I was a kid?”

The key immediate point for me was Ger saying that “user generated content is important, but we need to filter; it’s useless unless we find a way to make it meaningful, until you’ve chewed on it”.

What is the future role of learning?

I attended Robert O. Brinkerhoff’s session around the future role of learning (#T1S4). Robert’s “toxic assumption” was that “if L&D is only seen as a staff benefit, it is vastly under leveraged, putting the future of company at risk and the future of your career” and went on to say that “people who don’t apply the training are unrealised value” to the company.


They key encouragement for my current practice is that we need “quality learning interventions, but support performance afterwards; learning is most gradual when it’s new and it’s easy for learning to get undone quite quickly when back in the toxic work environment”. Later I also told Robert that he reminded me of The A-Team TV show creator, the late Stephen J. Cannell…

Performance consulting

Still on the theme of transforming learning, the Bersin/Deloitte session (#T3S5) had less immediate things I could apply, despite the huge amount of research that had gone into the package we were hearing. Robert Danna said in the Q&A that “high performing organisations are taking a performance consulting approach; engaging with the business”.

The key point to me, which many L&D teams either don’t get or need to drastically improve is the “need to be asking the right business questions”. I think that’s something most of us can improve upon.

Line manager engagement

Simon Brown from Lloyds Banking Group talked about his two year journey, probably the midpoint, in changing L&D. The key point for me being how it is “absolutely key to get line managers engaged to support the performance of their staff and the L&D function needs to provide the support tools”.


The last key point is the why we attend conferences and don’t rely on the blogs and back channel… The quality conversations where I’ve supported, received advice and had a laugh.

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