Friday, 3 February 2017

Learning Technologies Event 2017 - findings and thoughts

On 1st and 2nd of February I visited the Learning Technologies event in London.  I've been to this a fair few times in the past and the free sessions are very useful to see good practice, new thinking and innovations.  I attended most of the free sessions and I acquired a small heap that we can use to progress our developments further, which are the following notes I took during the event.  This became a little report that I shared with my colleagues.  It was also good to review this against my new job and how they could be used within the organisation.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and adaptive learning

AI was a common theme. Social media services, adaptive learning, learning analytics and Amazon Web Servers (machine learning) were highlighted as tools to obtain user data that informs their behaviours, which results in recommendations and preferences. Essentially you won’t have to search for content, it will recommend content for you as it predicts on what you do.

AI is tied in with adaptive learning where learning materials and scores can be predicted – we need to think if this is any use to use in Higher Education/business or for CPD subscription courses. Coursera, Udacity and Khan Academy are now looking at adaptive learning. Moodle does have features to enable this, again is it useful to us?

Other common aspects:

  • AI is the new User Interface (UI)
  • Storytelling – in eLearning content design = more memorable and relatable 
  • Content curation – enabling users to collect and use as and when they need it 
  • Structural gamification - points, badges, achievements and levels
  • Content gamification – adding story elements or starting a course with a challenge instead of a list of objectives
  • Micro learning strategies – no need for 2 hours courses just content and finger tips to dip and out of
  • Courses are trainer constructs which can be restrictive. Just use competencies in the real world

Virtual reality

Growing and having more prominence in education. I suggest we explore this more diligently and seeing what we could develop or enhance using this innovation. Perhaps trial in the new practical room here at Sheffield?


Review. Plan. Do. Using agile more effectively for project management – alongside Asana for daily publishing and testing on developments. Ask more about ‘whys’ than ‘wants’. See as dolphins with small jumps rather than whales with big leaps.

Can bring project management into one timeframe – see image below. Maybe we could develop a framework for using Asana more effectively around an approach like this?


Explore further uses of Articulate 360 and the products we have access to. Some that were mentioned:

  • Replay – use more screen casting for training and ‘how to’s’
  • Review (instant feedback on eLearning designs – but we use Asana for this)
  • Content Library (items come with triggers)
  • New publishing options for mobile in Storyline 2

Modern workplace

Micro learning to be the growing innovation for workplace training. Learning is broken down into small chunks that can be dipped in and out and that last no longer than 20 mins – due to human attention and memory span.

PowerPoint tips

Productivity – faster and more efficient

  • Quick access toolbar. Enable. Things you can't find under ribbon
  • Selection pane. Record of anything on slides. Hide and unhide. Change stuff without moving stuff around
  • Alignment and distribution
  • Alignment centre etc. Distribute horizontally to slide

Design tips for non-designers

  • Use formatting tools to change focus
  • Artistic effects on images
  • Image blurs when clicked and can put text in better focus
  • Use text boxes not bullet points
  • Left and right margins in text boxes
  • Divide space – rule of thirds
  • Grid of three columns
  • Leave a third that is not a focal point
  • Or two columns straight down the middle


  • Basic motion path
  • Animation pane
  • Timings
  • Grow and shrink
  • Vertical. Only for graphs