Big names join the show

Major employers join those presenting case studies at this year’s Learning Solutions event, and focus their thoughts on improving company performance through skills development

A practical approach distinguishes the conference element of this year’s Learning Solutions event. Designed to focus on the practicalities of putting solutions in place, the programme covers key learning issues including proving the business case. This is looked at in terms of justifying training spend and how company performance can be enhanced through management and leadership training.

Free sessions

Learning Solutions 2004 is topped and tailed each day with high-profile speakers presenting very useable concepts in free sessions. For example, the opening address on day one will explain ‘How to harness the potential of informal learning’.

During this session Gunnar Bruckner, former chief learning officer of the United Nations Development Programme and now chief executive of Coaching Platform will give a step-by-step analysis of how effective, collaborative and peer group learning can be encouraged and how its tangible outcomes can be managed.

The closing speech at the end of day one asks the age-old conundrum “Is learning for everyone achievable?”. Here Professor Bob Fyer, chief executive of NHSU will look at the benefits in encouraging lifelong learning and the role which the training function should play in individual lifelong learning.

Day two opens with a potentially valuable address on ‘Improving the learner’s experience’ and asks how training experts can cater for different learning styles while also questioning the meaning of instructional design. It will be delivered by Professor John Stephenson, head of the International Centre for Learner Managed Learning at Middlesex University, who also promises to go back to basics and examine how learning theory can be put into practice. The day, and the conference closes with a seminar by Keith Duckitt, head of ICT at the Learning Skills Council (LSC) national head office, on ‘How to achieve LSC funding’ which covers the type of funding available and how to take advantage of the National Learning Network.

Conference strands

Sandwiched in between these illustrious speakers is a selection of practical seminars which are bookable in a ‘pick-and-pay’ format. All 11 sessions cover useful topics such as ‘Persuading line managers to play a part in staff learning’ or ‘How to create time for learning in your organisation’.

“The conference programme has been put together following extensive research and consultation,” says senior conference producer Alison Church. “It addresses the most pressing topics in the industry today and the combination of the expertise of industry leaders and practical case studies will ensure that delegates leave armed with ideas and solutions for their specific circumstances.”

Among the big names presenting case studies are Diageo, Siemens, Sun Microsystems and BAE Systems.

“The pick-and-pay format of the conference allows delegates to select and attend only those seminar that expressly meet their needs,”says Church. She advises that conference sessions can be booked via the Learning Solutions website or by calling the events hotline (see box).


Set around the exhibition are workshops, product demonstrations and advice clinics. For example, company presentations will be held by Hyperwave, Media Logic Systems, ebc and Intelligo Systems.

And, of course, exhibitors will be making the most of the opportunities to demonstrate their latest ideas and innovations.

For example, CTD Quickstep is launching an online e-portfolio system incorporating tracking assessment verification functions for all competency -based qualifications and AON Consulting is launching its learning management system.

Going interactive is Skill Boosters which will be hosting a demonstration and free disc giveaway of Disability Confident – the interactive learning resource which has been designed to help organisations prepare for the new provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act and to unlock the potential of their clients.

Ashridge will be launching the Ashridge Leadership Learning Guide, analysing the latest leadership theory.

Also making its presence felt will be the British Learning Association. Launched on 1 January this year, the organisation now incorporates the British Association for Open Learning and the Forum for Technology in Training.

On its stand at Learning Solutions the association will be offering 20 per cent discount on membership for visitors.

“The British Learning Association (BLA) vision is to be the premier independent organisation with global reach, committed to excellence and best practice in learning, through innovative and well-established techniques and technologies,” says general manager Brian Merison.

Already numbering 300-plus organisations, with 600 individuals such as directors of CPD and managers of open and lifelong flexible, distance learning, the BLA aims to offer impartial advice on techniques and technologies in learning and to generate opportunities for networking. Later this year the BLA will be launching a quality mark, which it forecasts “will be unique to the industry”.


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