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Learning Management

Unlocking the Future of Learning Tech: Insider Insights from Learning Technologies 2024

It was great to be back at Learning Technologies 2024. It was a full event space with what felt like thousands of attendees, all keen to see the latest innovations in the ever-expanding learning space.

The other great thing was that we got to see the show from ‘the other side of the fence’. Let me explain:

In previous years we’ve attended in the capacity of an exhibitor alongside our partner LMS365 (recently renamed to Zensai) but this time I took the opportunity to visit the show as a ‘regular Joe’ attendee.

Experiencing the event this way gave me the opportunity to discover first-hand the sales pitches and ‘futures messaging’ from myriad different vendors.  In some cases the sales tactics and approaches were refreshing – others were a reminder of how not to do it!

Armed with my hypothetical learning need, I spoke with many friendly sales folk that were eager to showcase their platform, and sat through many seminars.

This is what I learned:

The Importance of Addressing User Challenges

Amidst the flashy features and promises of greatness, something seemed to be missing: a genuine conversation about my actual needs and how their tech could solve them.  

It was like all the L&D tech vendors were singing their own praises without bothering to ask what tune I wanted to hear.

This reminded me that effective learning tech isn’t just about bells and whistles; it’s about understanding the real struggles that organisations face.  

Whether it’s streamlining onboarding processes, fostering remote collaboration, or enhancing skills development, the focus should be on understanding and addressing the needs of those that use the system.

In other words, it’s not enough to have a fancy platform; the crucial aspect of a great L&D tech solution is customer-centricity.  For example, offering a learning solution that maps squarely onto wider business needs and providing the support, guidance, and training to help customers get the most out of the platform.

AI in Learning: Everyone’s Talking About It (But Use it Where it Makes Sense)

Now, let’s talk about AI.   Every vendor at the show was trumpeting their AI capability.

Using AI to streamline content creation and, for example, automatically generate quizzes is something our customers are actively using to save time. AI can be particularly good at providing plausible multiple-choice answers. We always advise checking that the ‘bot’ hasn’t gone off on a flight of fancy.

Using AI to deliver a better personalised learning experience, and, for example, target bite-sized learning, is also something AI is positioned to help with. Many concerns over privacy were raised in the various seminars I sat through, however:

  • “With AI processing all our data to tailor our learning experiences, who’s making sure our information stays secure?”

Other red flags included:

  • Cost: “Will AI functionality have a big impact on licence prices?”
  • Job displacement: “Will AI leave L&D professionals out in the cold?”

We predict there will always be a need for in-person content creation and assessing, as well as human-led training, mentoring, coaching.

Perhaps AI should be used better utilised to make in-person training happen more readily. 

For instance, imagine receiving automatic notifications when your designated coach or team members are planning an in-person visit to the office. This feature could ensure that valuable face-to-face interactions are maximised

There are also other practical ways to target and ‘surface’ relevant training without the risks and potential added expense of using AI.

Learning is Still About Humans

As we reflect on lessons and insights gained from Learning Technologies 2024, it’s clear that we need to find a balance between innovation and empathy.

Technology should make our lives easier, not just dazzle us with fancy features, such as immersive learning that leverages VR.

We must prioritise understanding the unique challenges faced by organisations and individuals, offering solutions that are not just technologically advanced but also address the needs of humans.

Similarly, as AI continues to reshape the learning landscape, let’s keep the conversation open and honest: let’s harness the transformative potential of AI while mitigating its potential drawbacks.

So, here’s to a future where learning technology isn’t just about the tech—it’s about the people using it. Let’s keep the dialogue going, keep asking the tough questions, and keep pushing for tech that works for us, not against us.


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