A hectic week to kick the year off

Written by Jon Kennard on 5 February 2018

After the chaos of Christmas time, I have no doubt that many people are probably relived to get back to work. At least it gives you a bit of structure back in your life, and we all know that Blue Monday is a PR stunt. But no-one goes back to work looking for the quiet life, and two events in the L&D industry that happen at the end of January make sure that doesn;t happen.

One of them is Learning Technologies and the other is The Learning Awards. Previously separated by seven days or so, they now tend to feature in the same week. After two days walking the talk and filling up on Quality Street, stress balls and AI hype, it's good to let your hair down and get the tuxedo out. 

This year I spent less time upstairs than ever before at Olympia, due in part to a packed diary of meetings with potential clients, site contributors and magazine subscribers, but also because the ten (10!) theatres downstairs featured talks which I just didn't want to miss, not least Donald Clark who was talking about chatbots in learning.

It's the same talk I was supposed to see him deliver at OEB back in December, but a schedule clash meant I missed the first part of his session so came in when he wrapped and a rather uninspiring case study was taking place.

I mean, it was probably great if you were a developer who wanted to know more about creating chatbots, but if you want a rant-filled overview in which the speaker takes down NLP and mindfulness along the way, Donald's your man. 

It was great moderating a Learning Exchange session for the good people of Towards Maturity too - Krystyna Gadd was a superb speaker and gave the delegates a tonne of ideas about how to align learning and business. Here's more from Krystyna on Storify. 

Reconnecting with several old faces from the industry, I feel like my integration back into L&D is now complete. I even braved the Hand & Flower for a pint after day one too.

On to the Learning Awards. We have our own awards programme, sure, but surely there's room for everyone in the market, right? Well that's my theory. Can we all co-exist? I'd like to hope so. And Pauline and the team do such a grand job with this and Learning Live. The awards winners are here

I was very honoured to be asked to present Learning Professional of the Year. Here's my presenting clip. I've definitely watched it all 1700 times on YouTube. As big Strictly fans, my mum, sister and daughter were all a bit start struck that I met Tess Daly. Bless them, they just don't mix in the same celebrity circles I do, you see. 

As a valued media partner of TJ, it was nice to kick off the year with an LPI event (and watch out for more collaborative projects between us in 2018 and beyond. Exciting!) 


About the author

Jon Kennard is editor of TJ.


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