Finally, the in-person conferences are back! And the timing couldn’t get better with Harbinger attending the Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2022 after a long hiatus. To give you a sense of this L&D event, it brings professionals together to exchange thought-provoking ideas on new innovations, tools, and services in the industry. This year, Rohan Bhosle, Associate Director – Business Development at Harbinger Group, attended the three-day conference and came back with some great experiences to share.
Here are the excerpts from a quick chat with our L&D expert about his experience attending the Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2022:
Can you give us a sense of what the Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2022 was about?
Rohan:The conference was a gathering of learning professionals in the fields of instructional design and eLearning development and different L&D stakeholders including the leadership of various organizations.
The objective of this conference was to bring together experts from the L&D industry as well as learning platforms and custom content service providers under one roof to share their ideas, products, and services which could help in achieving their learning and training development goals. Besides, with the dynamic L&D landscape and the ever-evolving technology, how some of this can be leveraged by different organizations to skill, upskill, and reskill their employees was the talk of the town.
The profiles of the attendees included instructional designers, graphic designers, visual artists, eLearning developers, L&D managers, decision-makers, and other stakeholders. From the vendor side, there were mainly product owners and sales professionals.
How was the atmosphere at the conference? Were there any interesting discussion points?
Rohan:Though the attendees were fewer as compared to previous years as many were attending their first in-person event after the pandemic, it was overall a great experience. The conference was well structured with each attendee given the option to select between green, yellow, and red bands which indicated how comfortable one was with either a handshake, fist bump, or no contact at all.
There were some great sessions and speakers who spoke on various topics like AR and VR, microlearning, gamification, instructional design, development tools, and platforms. I observed that there was a strong focus on incorporating microlearning and converting bigger modules to shorter self-paced eLearning formats and videos.
AR and VR, as always, was a hot topic. However, after talking to a few attendees, I realized it’s a good-to-have type of solution rather than a must-have. Moreover, it is not yet scalable and has very limited use cases. Furthermore, making VR accessible is challenging for the differently-abled audiences as there are various senses in play during this immersive experience.
There was definitely a trend and buzz towards incorporating accessibility in all learning programs. Many organizations want to include eLearning accessibility, but unfortunately, they don’t know how to go about it.
Apart from this, I had conversations around organizations wanting to aggregate different systems like HRIS, LMS, LCMS, content repositories, WordPress sites, and so on under one common place for learners to access.
How were the interactions with the fellow attendees? Any technology or offerings trends that you noticed?
Rohan:I met a mix of professionals from different organizations. A majority of them were solution providers, learning products, and platform companies. I also got an opportunity to meet some of the L&D leaders who are helping enterprises achieve their learning objectives.
The discussions revolved around what new Harbinger is doing in the custom content development and learning technology development space, and nudge learning for reinforcement which was an eye-opener for many, and people did see a need and use cases for that.
There is a strong push for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI). It is a key focus of enterprises now, and they are in different stages of implementing it. We spoke about how it could be incorporated into their learning modules and how Harbinger can help give a facelift to courses by making them accessible and DEI-friendly.
In one of my discussions with a participant, we touched upon the whole learner-centric and learner-driven ecosystem where they rely a lot on different content sources like YouTube, Udemy, and Coursera as well as some specific modules developed for them in-house. There was also a buzz around enabling learning in the flow of work, making sure content can be accessed not only from the LMS but from tools like MS Teams, Slack, and so on.
With things getting back to normal, there were ideas shared around adopting a more blended way, with a mix of classroom, VILT, and self-paced eLearning.
Top 5 Things Attendees Were Expecting at The Conference
- How and why to implement accessibility
- Enable learning in the flow of work by integrating different platforms
- Diversity, Inclusivity, and Equity
- Metaverse (seemed more like a buzz)
- Learning about state-of-the-art authoring tools and learning technologies
How did the conference add value to you as an L&D professional?
Rohan:I attended an in-person conference for the first time after the pandemic. So, meeting exhibitors, attendees, and participants in person was a wonderful treat. We spent some good time over lunch and coffee sessions, discussing the outlook of the L&D industry as well as what they are currently witnessing.
This time, at the conference, there were a lot of learning platform companies who had their booths, trying to solve different challenges. Every individual whom I spoke with had different perspectives of where we are headed with a boost of technology in learning.
For me, I got a chance to learn a lot about new platforms, solutions, and pain points of different organizations. It was great to learn from different content creation and delivery platforms out there. I also got to dive deep into a few known challenges like learner retention and engagement and how organizations are using more game-based or gamification-based learning to resolve them.
Attending the Learning Solutions Conference & Expo was a great experience and Harbinger looks forward to connecting with L&D stakeholders for their various eLearning needs. For any questions on how Harbinger can help with gamification, eLearning accessibility, and learning technology development, do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.