New Ponies, Better Circus? Reflections on Learning Technologies 2018

19 februari 2018

I’m not so fond of Winter (I prefer Spring), but the best part of Winter is the Learning Technologies conference and exhibition in London. Year after year, Don Taylor brings together a great lineup of speakers for the conference. The variety of topics covered across the five tracks is perfect; the international perspectives offered by the speakers and visitors have grown over the years. The exhibition also has a lot to offer. It not only provides a huge overview of providers and solutions, but also offers many, interesting free presentations. The show is now too big for the Olympia Conference Center and will proceed to ExCel next year.


Much more than just learning technologies

Although the name of the conference is Learning Technologies, that just covers a part of the program. Business alignment, social learning and organizational learning are also on the agenda. The free exhibition also provides a good impression of what “‘is hot or not” and exhibitors share interesting case studies of their projects with new and emerging clients.

Chatbots, AI, virtual reality: do new ponies make a better circus?

So, what were the main topics at LT18? Social technologies and social learning are “still going strong”. Virtual reality is growing fast and wass at the center of attention, both at the conference and at the exhibition. Many cool applications could be experienced through the growing number of demo facilities. Artificial Intelligence and chatbots are knocking on the door, promising big changes for L&D in the near future. However, in the end, the most concrete demos leave the strongest impressions. It’s easy to become enthusiastic, and that is just what the conference and exhibition should do. On second thoughts, you have to be aware of the ‘one-trick pony’ effect because that is what the nicest solutions often seem to be. Don’t get me wrong here: some are very good ponies with very useful ‘tricks’. Overall, the challenge will remain to ask ourselves if these ‘new ponies make a better circus’ back home.

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