Learning from the best at the the Learning Tech Conference

8 February 2016 | Lisa Stubbs | About a 4 minute read
Tags: Academy, ANDacademy, Development, Learning, Meetups

Last week I was at the Learning Technologies Conference at Olympia, London. I’ve never been before and truth be known, I was a little skeptical about the value I would get from it. Two days out of work, £1000 for a ticket – what would I really gain?

At the end of the two days, I’m so glad I went. It gave me a good mix of insight and vision, with a sprinkle of practical tips and case studies. I’ve learnt from some great people and organisations, and I’m feeling inspired to do a few things differently here at AND Digital. I’m also proud that our ANDacademy is doing so many of the wonderful things I’ve heard about in the learning space over the past two days.  I’ll definitely be signing up to next year’s.

Here’s what I learnt…

The Checklist Manifesto

The conference kicked off with an upbeat, witty and self-reflecting keynote speech from Marshall Goldsmith – the coach to the world’s CEO stars. This guy has written a lot of books, one of which we were given at the conference called ’Triggers’. In true coaching style, Marshall made you think inwardly throughout the session. As Academy Lead at AND Digital, one of the questions on my mind is ‘how do I make learning stick?’ Marshall’s tool – the question checklist, aims to change behaviour and sustain that change long term by using a simple spreadsheet! Think of 6 questions to ask yourself every day and put them as rows in a spreadsheet, add 7 columns next to the questions for each day of the week. Now, ask yourself those questions every day and give yourself a score out of 10. How well are you doing against those important questions in your life? By the end of each week, you’ve got some pretty good data to show what behaviours you need to change and whether you’re changing them week on week. Marshall even pays someone to ask him these questions every day – there are no excuses! I’m going to give this a try next week and think about how we can add this to our leadership programme. You can also join the study by visiting his website

Learning Strategy

As I was devising the strategy for the Academy this year, ideas were not the problem. I can come up with ideas until the cows come home! But I began to think – are these ideas really aligned to our business needs? Yes, we’ll be doing cool, funky stuff for our people, but is this delivering business benefit? Andrew Jacob’s advice (Organisational Learning and Talent Manager at London Borough of Lewisham) is that there shouldn’t be a separate L&D strategy from the Business Strategy. Instead L&D should move fluidly between the business strategy, tactical learning, commissioning projects and delivering those projects, ultimately adding business value and not operating as a separate department. He detests the word ‘alignment’ – don’t align yourself to the business strategy, be part of it. Check out his blog at

The Future of Technology

Day two’s keynote speech was awesome. Ben Hemmersley, who was introduced as a Futurist, gave us a look at the new technology that will be taking over our lives in the next 3 years. He talked about the Amazon Echo , [email protected], Amazon PrimeAir – all fascinating stuff that will change the landscape we live in, just like Social Media and Smart Phones did 10 years ago. His thoughts on skills for the future – they need to be ‘symbiotic with systems, bringing an ease with complexity’. As L&D professionals, we’ll get left behind if we don’t get on board with the way technology is changing our lives and how people are learning.

Leadership Development

My favourite session of the day. Not only because I got to see the great eLearning and blended leadership programme the NHS have developed, but also as I got to hear from Marc Jansen, Director of Talent and Learning at Marc brought to life’s ‘recipe’ for management development – a blended approach that has been developed in an agile way by speaking and listening to the people who the programme is there to help. I really loved the idea of managers providing video blogs of their journeys through the programme – speaking about what they are learning along the way. Thanks Marc!

Time to get implementing!



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