This year’s Learning 2018 conference, held in Orlando, FL, brings together over 1,800 attendees from 25+ countries. Now that day 1 has come to a close, I wanted to reflect on the day’s exciting events and share some lessons learned. At the opening session, Elliott Masie, host of Learning 2018, asked the audience, “how is learning changing?” Throughout the first day of the conference, sessions and keynotes explored this question and provided attendees with their thoughts on how learning is evolving and provided considerations on what participants can do to ensure their organization is keeping up with the times.

In today’s fast-paced world, learners, learning technology, employer and employee expectations, and the economy are rapidly evolving. In such a tumultuous, chaotic world, I remain so inspired by HR and learning and development leaders and how committed they are to building ladders to the future for their employees and providing them with tools and resources to advance their professional development.  

As the day progressed, conference attendees had the opportunity to see keynotes and interviews with the 2018 National Teacher of the Year, Mandy Manning, best-selling author, Dan Pink, and former First Lady, Laura W. Bush.  Mrs. Bush’s quote, “the choices we make now will shape the world of the next generation” resonated with me. It confirms why we are all here at Learning 2018 – to provide today’s workforce with skills of the future and to support their growth. We’re all motivated to create the most engaging, collaborative, and social learning experience possible and I’m excited to see what ideas and actions attendees will take home with them.

Below are just a few of my insights from day 1 of the conference.

Companies with Strong Learning Cultures see Increases in Engagement

By effectively cultivating a learning culture, engagement in learning programs increases and employee and organizational performance. To effectively nurture learning and curiosity in employees, engage with them in meaningful dialogue to gather feedback on current initiatives and to better understand their needs. Constantly connect with employees and listen to their voice as you build, implement, and change learning experiences. By doing so, companies cultivate a continuous learning culture in your organization and better engage your workers through their learning journey.

Using Technology to Connect Rather than Isolate Us

Within the past few years, the influence of learning technologies has changed how learning is delivered. People nowadays are always connected, are expected to move and respond quickly, and are learning new skills daily. In today’s digital era, organizations have crafted multi-channel learning experiences to expand their reach and create more engaging ways for people to learn.

However, as organizations introduce new technologies to their workforce, we need to ensure that technology is connecting us instead of isolating us. More and more companies are developing ways to connect their global workforce in ways that enable their employees to learn and engage with each other and with coaches and mentors – online. In this way, technology is acting as an enabler of relationships and collaborative learning vs an inhibitor.

Measuring Learning Impact to Prove the Value of L&D

Metrics are transforming learning and development and are giving L&D a seat at the table. Any organization that lacks attention to metrics and measurement is going to have a difficult time making informed-decisions and building credibility for learning and development initiatives. Here are 4 keys to measuring learning impact from Kathy Tague, Head of FR Learning and Development at Guardian Life Insurance.

  • Focus on key performance indicators
    • Work with stakeholders to define what great looks like, analyze your current state of training, and determine how to move forward to get to great. Walk away with an agreement on learning priorities.
  • Build a strong business case
    • Understand the business impact of your learning program and select the right data to track, build systems to track the data, and recognize & reward performance
  • Interpret the data
    • Partner with your company’s data experts to better understand metrics collected and thoroughly question any surprises.
  • Get over your fear of numbers 
    • Empower your team to have increased data fluency and capability.

During the conference, our partner, Sara Ley, Digital Learning and Technology Leader at GE, shared GE’s journey and approach to transforming the in-classroom learning experience into a dynamic online learning environment. Read the blog and view the presentation, The Evolution of Workforce Development in the Digital Age, to learn how GE is transforming employees’ digital mindset and providing personalized, connected learning opportunities to employees across the globe.