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Home / Resources / Five perspectives on Learning Technologies 2016

Five perspectives on Learning Technologies 2016


It’s the biggest event of its kind in Europe and draws thousands of people from across the learning space to see and experience the latest the industry has to offer.

But Learning Technologies 2016 means different things to different people so we’ve taken the temperature of this year’s event by getting a cross-section of perspectives.

“Why I’m back at Learning Technologies for the first time in 10 years.”  

Dave Buglass, Head of Organisational Capability and Development, Tesco Bank

Dave Buglass is an award-winning L&D professional with more than 20 years’ experience. He’s returned to Learning Technologies for the first time in over 10 years to give a conference talk about putting the consumer (or learner) at the heart of L&D. 

“Probably the reason I haven’t been here for over ten years is that fundamentally I don’t think a lot of organisations have been ready for the pace of change of technology. I was curious to come back this year to see what has changed. I’m not a fan of shiny technology and shiny content. I don’t think we are putting the learner at the centre of our thinking. If you look at the world we live in, outside of work and inside work is very blurred now. We should be treating colleagues much more like we treat them outside of work, as consumers. I just don’t think L&D has quite got its head around that yet.”

“The biggest and busiest I’ve ever seen it.”

Dan Roddy Director, The Elearning Network and Elearning Consultant, Aviva

Dan Roddy is a veteran of Learning Technologies and in his new role as one of the Directors at The Elearning Network he’s been keen to assess what the event reveals about the state of the elearning industry.

“I’ve been coming to Learning Technologies for 10 or 11 years and this is the biggest and busiest I’ve ever seen it. I think that’s a good sign that the elearning industry is in really good health. What’s exciting this year is to see a lot of the trends that people have been talking about for the last couple of years finally coming into maturity. We’re seeing people implementing things like XApi and gamification. I think we are reaching a maturing point where elearning is beginning to drop the ‘e’ and become part of what L&D does - it’s really exciting.” 

“It gives us an opportunity as an industry to pause and look at what’s going on.”

David Kelly, Vice President and Executive Director, The Elearning Guild

“An event like this always appeals to me because it gives us an opportunity as an industry to pause and look at what’s going on, look at what people are doing, how they are doing it and what new doors are opened by that. I come from the United States but being able to come here I get to see a little bit more of a European perspective. It’s interesting to see parallels but also differences between the conversations that I’m participating in in the US, compared to what’s going on here. There’s always the central theme of people being curious about what these technologies are doing and how it might be a transformative enabler for us when it applies to Learning and Development.”

“Until you put on a headset you don’t fully get how immersive it is.”

David MacHale, Olive Learning 

Virtual Reality (VR) for learning has been talked about for a few years now but at Learning Technologies 2016 the concept appeared to move a step forward. The use of an Oculus Rift headset as part of an elearning application by Olive Learning gave L&D a new perspective on the potential of VR.

“We’re on the edge of something new here and I think the world of learning technologies and L&D is waiting for this. Simulators are already being used in areas such as the aviation industry and mining, where there’s high risk or a high cost to train people but the cost is coming way down. The thing with Oculus is that you can look at it on a screen but until you put on a headset you don’t fully get how immersive it is.”

“There are a lot of people really wanting to find new ways to engage with learners.”

Louise Pasterfield, Managing Director, Sponge

“The elearning market is shifting and maturing and learning professionals want new ways they can interact with learners. There are a lot of people really wanting to find new ways to engage with learners. People are interested in bespoke games for management training, health and safety and compliance. There’s also interest in the use of interactive video, particularly for leadership skills. It’s been great to see so many people at the show and get feedback on their learning needs and interests.”

Stay up to date throughout the year on the latest elearning news, trends and insights with Sponge’s Elearning Insider newsletter and watch out for the Sponge Elearning Podcast coming soon.