Learnings in London: Technology and management engagement

Virginie Chassériau provides an insight into her personal learning at a recent gathering of the great and good in L&D.

This was my 10th, winter visit to London and I was excited about the prospect of meeting new people and investing some time in my professional development. I was excited about the insights and the latest trends in adults learning I would gain; the discovery of new technologies; the connecting to new L&D professionals and finally so excited to meet face-to-face some people from my personal network.

More features

How can you stay current in your field when work, jobs, and even professions are constantly changing?

Leading tomorrow’s world

Turning up the heat: Top tips for audience debate and discussion

Should you really be using gamification… or more likely game mechanics?

Learning Technologies was bigger this year and there were many parallel events running: the conference, table exchanges, free seminars, external events connected to the conference, private video recorded interviews of the conference speakers and much more. It was difficult to choose what to attend if you hadn’t prepared before!

So here are some insights of what I learnt…

New technologies

Virtual reality and augmented reality have stepped into our L&D world. It was a reminder about what didn’t exist when I was born! When I was a child, seems like yesterday, there were no tablets, mobile phones, laptops, touch screens or Internet! It seems so incredible – all this is so ingrained in our lifestyle nowadays, it is difficult to remember how life was before. Technologies are evolving faster than the time we need to learn and adapt to them. But, do they support learning or are they another barrier?

It seems like we in L&D have new toys… huh, I mean new tools, new technology but who is it for? There was a common agreement that technology should never, NEVER be at the heart of what we do. Start with the end in mind: what do we want to achieve and why? From there work out how technology will enhance and help you create the outcome you want.

How can L&D better engage with management?

Management support has always been, and remains a key element of learning success. Learners follow management instructions and behaviour. So adopting a new technology means getting the buy-in of management which means that they are onboard, love it and use it! Towards Maturity and their benchmark reports provide good references and date when it is time to discuss with management some of our most challenging problems.

Technology adoption

People do not come to work to learn. They come to work.

People do not come to work to learn. They come to work. And they are reluctant to learn a new or another technology. There are three components for technology adoption:

  1. Social
  2. Personal
  3. Mobile

Technologies are evolving the way we teach as we move from being teacher-led to learner-led. Learning should now be discursive: we want employees to question what they’ve learnt. But our strong learning orthodoxy is teaching – we haven’t evolved, we have automated. It is time now for L&D to overcome the learning convention and to adapt to what learners need and want. Younger generations will bring with them new ways of doing things we’ve never thought of and we must be prepared.

To conclude

As an L&D professional, learners have always been at the heart of what I do, although it is sometimes tempting to try new technologies. When it is time to discuss about learning needs, to me a consultative approach is the best. Taking the helicopter view and not focusing on the initial request helps to better understand the context and the need(s) associated. Using data helps to take the helicopter view and bring clarity.

We cannot predict what the future will be or how next generation will learn. I could see without realising it how fast technology has evolved in my lifetime. My son is learning at school on a tablet, not because they can predict the future but to prepare pupils to adapt to it more quickly.

To adapt and remain sustainable, L&D needs more than ever to work with management at early stages, to:

  • align the learning strategy on business needs
  • ingrain a learning culture
  • educate management about what learning is and why failure is a requirement
  • create space where people will connect and share

What L&D control is the learning methodology and by being more strategic is positioning L&D can become central to the business. To get the buy-in of management there must be a compelling need. This is where we need to focus more on the “why” rather than the “how” when discussing with management.

The question “are L&D professionals in danger of extinction?” was asked. I do not think so but our role is always evolving and changing. As Darwin said, isn’t evolution and change a must to survive?


About the author

Virginie Chassériau is the founder and CEO of A Cup of Learning and can be contacted here and on Twitter: @VirginieAlice


Read more about technology

Digital transformation – a new mind-set required

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *