Learning Technologies Conference and Exhibition - Day 2

Unicorn Training Learning Technologies Stand

Day 2 at Learning Technologies came around quickly and the team were raring to go, after a busy and fun first day. There was a lot in store for the second day of the show, including another seminar talk and competitions.

As we mentioned in our blog yesterday, our main stand this year was a collaboration between ourselves and our microlearning content partners MicroLearn. We wanted to offer visitors the opportunity to speak to us about all things Unicorn, from our award-winning LMS to our digital content offerings and also the opportunity to speak directly to our bite size content partners.

Our second day at LT18 had lots more in store, including lots of little unicorns to give away in our Learning Ecosphere social media competition and another chance to win a giant unicorn by playing Quizcom. As with day 1 we had a lot of visitors trying their luck with Quizcom, hoping to get the high score so they could win one of our giant unicorns.

We also hid more segments of our Learning Ecosphere all around the exhibition hall, with hints being shared on our Twitter @unicorntraining. Visitors were quick off the mark on day 2 and were hunting down our Ecosphere segements rapidly.

With the competitions creating such a storm in the morning, it was soon time to head over to Theatre 9 to hear our Head of Marketing, Abigail Pears and MicroLearn's Creative Director, Alison Soper talk about how to engage learners through campaign learning. We're glad we got there early, as it was already busy before it had kicked off!

Abi opened the session explaining how marketers and L&D professionals share the same challenges - trying to get people engaged and keeping them interested. Abi has discussed the parallels between marketing and the learning community before and that not only are some of the challenges similar, but established marketing practices can easily be translated into practical and easy to apply techniques for L&D professionals to use.

Abi then went onto to talk about the Learning Ecosphere, a concept which we first shared at Learning Technologies last year. The Ecosphere looks to help the learning and development community balance traditional training methods, with more modern technological advances such as serious games and mobile-first technology. If you didn't manage to get hold of a copy of our Learning Ecosphere whitepaper, can can download it here.

Abi went on to explain how using a variety of training methods is essential to keep learners engaged and just as with a good marketing campaign you need to reach your audience in a way that keeps them engaged throughout the duration of your campaign (or learning programme). Much to the delight of the audience, Abi then shared a series of dog memes, although very funny they were a humorous way to illustrate a point - people are busy, overloaded with information, stressed and overwhelmed and both marketing and L&D professionals need to cut through the noise and stresses of life to successfully capture people's attention.

With all these life stresses, how do you capture your audiences attention? Abi suggested it's paramount to review how you are delivering content to your learners, looking at what platforms or devices training can be accessed on, how flexible the training is and then working out how effective this is. Alison shared some research The Associated Press completed, confirming attention spans are indeed shrinking, therefore it makes sense to allow learners to access bite-size eLearning they can complete anywhere, on any device and at their own convenience.

Abi then started to discuss the marketing funnel and how this can easily be applied to L&D by creating awareness, engagement, action and then advocacy. This further ties into the concept of marketing campaigns and how this technique can be applied very easily to a learning programme. The next slide displayed an all too familiar example in learning programmes, whereby learners are given a piece of initial training and do not have any follow-up training until a year later - extremely common with compliance training.

The problem with this model is that learners are not given the opportunity to reinforce their knowledge throughout the year. The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve, a model which L&D professionals are very familiar with, illustrates this point perfectly and if learners aren't engaged and frequently given training their knowledge will be forgotten over time.

So what can L&D professionals do? The time between training interventions should be much shorter and if you can create regular interventions throughout the learning programme, learners are much more likely to be engaged, remember their learning and be able to put into place what they have been taught.

Ali then helped to put this all together with a fictional business case study, but first some stats! Ali shared that the average 18-25 year old checks their mobile phone 52 times a day, spends over 2 hours online on their smartphones and their attention spans are rapidly shrinking!

Ali then shared a slide illustrating 'mobile moments', which is something we've talked about before at Unicorn. The graphic shows on averages the typical way someone engages with their mobile phone throughout the day and it's a lot! So if learners are already habituated to using their phones in this way and it's part of everyday life, it is a great opportunity for L&D to engage with their learners - through their phones, in the form of bite size eLearning.

Abi then talked about how this can all be pulled together with a learning intervention example. Instead of engaging with learners once or twice a year, if you want to successfully engage your learners creating a learning campaign is key. Think quizzes, eLearning, serious games and apps, whilst having engaging internal comms to tie it all together.

The final point from Abi was around ROI. As marketers ROI is an extremely important element to any campaign, and the same should be said for learning campaigns. By having clear goals, metrics and measurement in place, L&D professionals should be able to establish quickly and easily which interventions have worked well and which haven't worked so well. This is then a great opportunity to define and sculpt future campaigns, increasing their success and engagement as more data and insight comes into play.

The closing remark was that training should be an integral part of every organisation and learners should be engaged and willing to complete training. This cultural shift can be achieved with learning campaigns, getting learners to feel so involved with training they begin to 'pull' rather than have training 'pushed' onto them. A free whitepaper will be released on campaign learning very soon, if you would like to receive a copy please let us know by registering your interest here.

After the talk it was back to the stand for more competition winners and Quizcom players. It was a busy afternoon and it was soon time to announce our giant unicorn winner...Well done to Victoria Thorn and thank you for playing Quizcom, we hope you enjoy your unicorn!


We had a great time at Learning Technologies this year and we'll be back again next year at its new home, ExCel London. We've got a busy event calendar this year, which you can view here and we hope to see you all again soon. Thanks to everyone who visited our stand and participated in our competitions, we had a blast and hope you did too!

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