World of Learning Conference & Exhibition 2011 preview

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This month, Birmingham’s NEC will host the World of Learning 2011 Conference & Exhibition, designed to equip learning and development (L&D) practitioners with the knowledge to help ensure their organisations employ the right people with the right skills.

On Tuesday 27 and Wednesday 28 September 2011, World of Learning will provide visitors with expert advice and solutions to help them handle talent management and leadership development in the wake of recent cutbacks, job losses and squeezed budgets.

World of Learning logo

The event incorporates a free exhibition, bringing together around 100 UK and international exhibitors offering the latest ideas across all sectors of L&D, from using e-learning and social media in learning processes, to experiential learning, coaching and informal forms of training.

The focus of World of Learning 2011 will be L&D’s need to deliver “more for less” in the current financial climate, resulting in the need for many practitioners to reassess their strategies, objectives and resources to succeed.

Valerie Todd

Valerie Todd, Crossrail’s director of talent and resources and commissioner for the UK Commission on Employment and Skills.

Andrew Gee, senior project manager for World of Learning, explains: “We have researched the knowledge and insight that L&D practitioners need to acquire to contribute effectively in these areas of HR management, and have developed the conference and seminar programme to deliver what they require, covering many of these crucial subjects.”

Debating major issues

Chaired by BBC News presenter Nicholas Owen, the conference features leading industry speakers from across the globe, who will debate the major issues affecting the sector.

Keynote speakers include: Valerie Todd, Crossrail’s director of talent and resources and commissioner for the UK Commission on Employment and Skills; Charles Jennings, managing director at learning, performance and productivity consultancy Duntroon Associates; and Laura Overton, managing director at Towards Maturity, an independent, not-for-profit organisation that helps employers improve the impact of learning technologies in their organisations.

Todd will deliver the opening address at the conference and will explore how L&D can help businesses develop, the role of skills in driving business growth and the critical role of L&D in engaging individuals and retaining talent.

Closing the first day of the conference, Jennings, one of UK L&D’s foremost commentators, will explain how to develop and manage a more effective L&D strategy through a united approach to learning and provide advice on working in collaboration with stakeholders to deliver what an organisation needs.

Charles Jennings

Charles Jennings, managing director at learning, performance and productivity consultancy Duntroon Associates.

Overton will close the conference with an interactive session focusing on adapting to change and influencing success. The session will use the audience’s experiences and research from more than 1,200 L&D organisations to provide delegates with practical ideas to take back to their organisations in order to influence change.

Benefits of e-learning 

There will also be a number of sessions looking at how technologies can aid learning processes. During one of these, delegates will hear from Philip Evans, head of e-learning at London Fire Brigade, about how the introduction of e-learning brought benefits to the organisation.

Evans summarises: “It has drastically cut the amount of on-call time lost through classroom training, allowing us to halve the number of days required. Introduced just two years ago, e-learning now saves the force £700,000 a year and has been widely adopted for a range of training needs, including management development, equality and diversity, IT support and operational improvement.”

In addition, the conference and exhibition features a comprehensive programme of free seminars, offering practical advice on the issues affecting L&D professionals via case studies and experts detailing their own experiences. Bearing in mind the current economic climate, these sessions are particularly tailored towards how to run an L&D function when budgets are tight and there is pressure to deliver.

Access to a wide range of suppliers

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to talk to a wide range of suppliers, including e-learning and technology-based companies and firms offering more specific approaches to training, such as management development and teaching dispute resolution.

Laura Overton

Laura Overton, managing director at Towards Maturity.

Gee comments: “About 20% of the companies here will be new to the show this year and, overall, we are expecting there to be more stands than last year. Despite all the gloom talked about the economy, there is continuing buoyancy and a positive attitude among L&D suppliers.”

Free features

There are also several free features that visitors to the exhibition can benefit from, including: the Professional Development Zone, where L&D professionals can gain advice on their career development; the International Zone, which attracts L&D buyers from overseas; and, new to 2011, the Leaders in Learning Zone, featuring consultations with senior managers leading some of the world’s most innovative learning providers.

Register for the World of Learning 2011 Conference & Exhibition for free on its website, where full details of the event are also available. For the latest news and updates about World of Learning 2011, follow the exhibition on Twitter, tweet about the event using #WOL11 and join the World of Learning Conference & Exhibition group on LinkedIn.

To book onto the conference, and for more details about the programme visit the conference website or call 020 8394 5171.

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