Key take-aways from the AITD Conference 2019

My 5 key-takeaways

I attended the AITD conference in Sydney last week. What a great 2-day event for everyone working in L&D! A good mix of well-known presenters, like Dr Louise Mahler,  DJ Dillon and Charles Jennings, and less known AITD members who all shared their knowledge and experience. I had another look at my notes today and would love to share some of my key take-aways with you.

1. Build a smarter learning ecosystem – JD Dillon (LearnGeek)

Learning in the workplace should be continuous, less pushing and pulling, but based on sharing knowledge. According to JD Dillon, we need to recognise that most learning happens in the workplace and appreciate that people drive their own learning. The ecosystem should support continuous learning for all roles in the organisation and cover all topics. Building the ecosystem does require a mindshift (and patience).

2. Go off the beaten track and build a Dreamliner – Roslyn Colagrossi (Qantas) & Robyn Essex (Rialto Consulting)

Sometimes you have to think outside the box, like Roslyn and Robyn did. Before the new Dreamliner planes arrived at Qantas, they had the challenge to train their staff with minimal disruption. Robyn came up with the brilliant idea to build a mock-up interior out of plywood and then fabric to test and train staff around the globe. Via Yammer they kept their trainers up to date as the training program kept evolving and they ensured there was at least one person awake somewhere in the world to answer any questions about the training. Online refresher training did not work well for this project due to the hands-on nature of their employees and the continuously changing training content.

3. Increase trust through breathing – Louise Mahler

Louise had us all singing at 9.30am on the second day with her presentation about breathing. We learnt that the voice of leadership is low, slow and loud, but only when it is authentic. The real secret of speaking and presenting is in the breathing and the consistent air flow. Hands also play a key role in your presentation. Trust can be increased by spreading your arms and showing your palms. When you’re sitting, your hands should be to the front, one hand holding the other wrist. From now on, I will probably watch every politician to read their body language!

4. Nudge behaviour, not more learning – Arun Pradhan

L&D should focus on behavioural change instead of more learning, according to Arun. He presented his EAST approach that stands for Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely. At first we should make it easy: reduce or increase friction to gently steer employees in the right direction. Then we need to attract positive actions with or without rewards. The positive action should be displayed as normal, using peer influencing. And last but not least, it should be timely. Prompt employees when they’re most receptive to change their behaviour.

5. No ‘sheep-dipping’ – Beth Hall (Cotton-On Group)

Beth surprised me with the Cotton-on Group (COG) approach to L&D. After the induction training, there is no mandatory learning. They only give suggestions what the new team members could learn in the first 3 months. All their training is easy accessible and continuous learning is encouraged. Employees are challenged to ask questions instead of referring to past experiences. COG don’t do ‘sheep-dipping’: pushing every employee through the same learning program. This approach works well for their younger workforce. I know, this is only a snapshot of the conference. But I just wanted to give you an idea of the rapidly evolving L&D sector and the great work that is happening at the moment. In the coming year we might see the use of chatbots take off, like Coach M made by Bayer and Lever Learning, or the change from LMS to Learning Experience platform or a LRS? How exciting!

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