The Learning Technologies event returns to the ExCel in London on 4th and 5th May after a Covid enforced gap of 27 months. Attending these events is seen as a must for some learning professionals whilst others will find the whole experience bewildering and overwhelming.
The world has changed considerably during the last few years. Attitudes to work, learning and our expectation of employers have moved on. Learning teams have had to embrace new ways of delivery and learning to survive and support their organisations through unprecedented uncertainty.
However, it looks as though the Learning Technologies Event has not really changed. There are 200 free seminars and 200 plus leading L&D suppliers, in addition the paid workshops and conference. Even the speaker list looks remarkably familiar.
So, what can you expect? If you are spending £1,300 to £1,500 to attend the conference you will be able to sit through sessions on a variety of topics with learning tech, data, skills and neuroscience being prominent themes.
The free programme of events which take place in the exhibition floor showcase particular suppliers and usually will have a focus on their USP in the market, new features they are promoting or customer case studies.
The Exhibition showcases 200 suppliers and allows you to interact and see demos of different products and for many of you stock up on mugs, notebooks and pens if you have exhausted your previous supply over the past two years.
Making Your Visit Count If you are planning on attending, make sure you plan ahead to get the most from your visit.
1. Think about why you wish to attend:
Networking and catching up with peers
To see what is new, looking for inspiration
My current learning tech is up for renewal
What I have currently is not doing what I need
We need to deliver more with our budget
I have a specific business challenge I need to solve
2. Prepare and Plan
Set objectives for the day
Do your research beforehand – narrow down who you are going to see - seeing too many suppliers can be overwhelming and exhausting and they will begin to merge into one. A plan helps you spend quality time where you need to
You can do a lot of research beforehand to ensure your time on the day is best spent. If you want help planning your visit you can book a free 30 minute call to help you plan your visit
Think about your travel to and from the event what time will you arrive – can you pre-book slots with suppliers you wish to see
Avoid the graveyard slots – the end of day one, start of day two and end of day two tend to see suppliers at their worst. They are often exhausted at the end of the days and socialising after the first day can see many suppliers being slow starters on day two
3. On the Day
Stick to your plan -it’s easy to be drawn to the glitzy big stands but are they you need or do they just have the best marketing and sweets
Beware of the demo - demos at exhibitions are designed to show you the best features of the product – focus on the business challenges and ask them to show how they can help you solve these
Manage your energy levels – if you are selective in who you meet then you can get the most from your visit. Take breaks and capture notes feedback and reflections as you go
Protect your details – lots of suppliers will want to swipe your details – be discerning over who you let swipe you
Make notes/capture your thoughts – capture your thoughts and reflections as you go – use a method which works for you
Challenge and ask questions – the world of learning tech is full of nonsense phrases, if someone if using jargon or glossing over detail challenge and ask them to explain
Value your time – if something is not right for you move on, be polite and direct and let the supplier focus on someone who may be a better fit
Get a second opinion – if you have question, concerns or queries or just someone to talk things through with, get in touch we will be at the event and it would be great to catch up and help you see the wood for the trees
Have fun – enjoy the event, its great to be back around people, network, connect and stay curious, follow us on twitter where we will be taking a light-hearted look at the event
4. After the event
Capture your thoughts – take time whether on the way back or shortly after to collate your thoughts – work and life will quickly take over
Set yourself a follow up plan – this may be follow up conversations, demos or questions you need to answer within your business. If you need help with what you do next please get in touch
Use your swag responsibly – You will probably walk away with a selection of freebies, please make sure they it goes to good use rather than landfill