Lessons for business

This year’s Learning Technologies conference will kick off with a challenge: stop thinking about learning as an abstraction and think more about people and their collective learning needs and preferences.

The issuer of thisa challenge, Professor Bob Fryer CBE, national director for widening participation within the Department of Health, who opens the conference, says this is imperative because learners and employers are changing. Learners are becoming more independent while employers want less ad hoc training and more structure, and more learning and development in line with their business goals.

Fryer’s words will set the tone for what looks set to be an interesting event. Now in its sixth year, the Learning Technologies exhibition and conference, which takes place on 26-27 January at London’s Olympia 2, has become one of the leading learning and skills events.

More than 50 exhibitors will be at this year’s show and products and services demonstrated will span instructor-led solutions to virtual classroom technologies, and all points in between as the exhibitor snapshot listed right demonstates.


“With growth returning to the European learning sector, the supplier community is keen to showcase its latest innovations,” says Learning Technologies organiser Mark Penton. “Blended and customised learning programs remain a popular theme for exhibitors, with learning platform infrastructures, employee assessment, testing and certification, training programme measurement, managed services and innovations to reduce training costs.”

The two-day conference, which this year comprises main sessions and interactive masterclasses, has earned a reputation as generating interesting and timely debate. In line with Fryer’s opening charge, change looks like being a recurrent theme throughout the programme, as does discussion on issues that relate to training becoming more business-driven.

Sweeping change

“Some organisations are putting the right kind of value on training but I don’t believe we’re seeing a wholesale, sweeping change yet,” says Nige Howarth, director of learning and performance consultancy Inspired Age and chair of one of the sessions at the conference. “People still have a risk-averse mindset and remain in survival mode, which is why we need events that aim to focus on the core contribution learning can make to business.”

Another of the show’s chairmen, Vaughan Waller, who is also chairman of the e-Learning Network, which promotes best practices in the application of learning technologies, says it is a pre-requisite for training to be more targeted to business but this is distinct from impacting on the bottom line.

“There are people who think return on investment is the priority and those who recognise that training is something they will always have to do to survive,” he says. “It’s very hard to assess the impact training has on the bottom line when there is no real way to measure it.”


There will be plenty of tales of learning in action across the two days. Richard West, head of organisational e-learning at BAE Systems, will talk about how the aerospace company has delivered both structured and informal learning through its corporate university. Danielle Every, assistant technical co-ordinator of the Football Association (FA), will talk about a totally contrasting training challenge: how you engage the general public with learning.

Another perspective will be covered by independent consultant Kathy Mortimer as she describes how she helped a large international law firm deploy the SFIA skills framework to 800 IT professionals across four continents.

Exhibitor snapshot

AdVal Keyknowledge Stand 66
Peruse a portfolio of off-the-shelf learning materials, including the FT Knowledge Library and the accredited
e-learning BTEC Certificate in Management

Ashridge Stand 25
Find out more about the business school’s Virtual Learning Resource Centre, which gives just-in-time access via the web to a range of learning materials.

e2train Stand 23
Latest developments to its Kallidus learning management system (LMS), which has expanded integration with HR systems. e2train recently released a free White paper on business benefits of implementing an LMS.

Fuel Stand S6
One of the most innovative learning providers in the UK will be showcasing its range of bespoke and generic solutions.

KnowledgePool e-learning Stand 46
Find out more about Livebooker, its new web-based training administration system which simplifies the management of internal and external training.

SumTotal Stand 34
The company formed from Docent and Click2Learn, whose products span major enterprise learning systems to tools that let you create your own learning materials.

Training D6
Where you’ll find Training magazine, alongside its sister title Personnel Today and personneltoday.com

WebEx S4
Online, on-demand web meeting applications that can help build a virtual classroom and extend learning around the world (see news page 4).

Other exhibitors include AdVal Group, ASTD, Atrium Communications, Auralog, BBC Worldwide Learning, Centra Software, Consensus, ebc, Echelon Learning, e-Learning Foundation, Epic Group, Futuremedia, Global Knowledge, Government Business, HP Education Services, Hyperwave, Institute of IT Training, Intelligent Training Solutions, Intuition, Knowledge Solutions, Learning Skills Council, LINE Communications, Parity, Pearson Education, Question Mark Computing, Tandem Software (UK), TATA Interactive Systems, The Synergy Group, Thomson NETg and Watsonia Publishing.

For a current exhibitor list, see www.learningtechnologies.co.uk/exhibition/exhibitors.cfm

Where and when:

Learning Technologies 2005 Exhibition
Olympia 2, London
26-27 January 2005, 10am-5pm daily
Pre-registration is recommended; entry is free of charge to the exhibition and the conference delegate rate is 895 plus VAT. Conference delegates will receive a free portable DVD player. There is a free seminar programme and details of this will be published on the event website in January. The site also features details of the free online sessions.

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