Top Trends from Learning Technologies 2012

Any trade show is always an eye opener, you can’t help it. You meet so many interesting people, see and hear so many different ideas and get extracted from your little bubble for a few precious moments. PIXELearning and Intellego recently held a stand at Learning Technologies 2012, PIXEL’s first trade show in a good couple of years, but as the show was drawing to a close we’re already making plans to be back next year!

With 2012 drawing a record breaking crowd for Learning Technologies, almost 7000 registered attendees visited interacted and engaged with 100’s of exhibitors,…combined with the many free seminars and there weren’t enough hours in the two days to fit everything in, but what we did see and hear gave us a great boost and got the adrenaline pumping!

We wanted to take a few moments to share with you a few trends we saw coming through and what we learnt from our experience.

1.       L&D is looking for innovation, but in general the marketplace is not offering innovation

The first thing numerous attendees said to us when they came up to our stand was that they had been looking for something innovative all day and we were the first they had found. Yes this was lovely to hear, but without trying to fluff our feathers or pump egos, I also find this concerning. Learning Technologies should be show casing best in practice technologies that can be used for learning, not the same old technologies that have been around for 10 years.

2.       People are selling old tricks in new shiny wrappers but L&D is starting to see the tarnish

Amongst these old technologies there were many who had had a makeover. Yes they may look shiny and new, but they were the same, just delivered on an ipad or other tablet device.

3.       Six Sigma is making a comeback

I had the pleasure of presenting at Learning Technologies with Kate Smith of Capella Associates. We were talking about innovation in learning and Six Sigma. What became very clear after we had finished was a great level of interest in this area – time to dust off the old six sigma manual or better yet replace it with our new serious game coming Q2 2012!

4.       Education is storming ahead in terms of innovation and training

 For those of the PIXEL crew who attended Learning without Frontiers and Learning Technologies they both reported back far more innovation in LwF. Perhaps these two leading conferences should be further merged next year so one group can learn from the other.

5.       Open source was a big pull but no one was talking about it in a practical sense

Open source seemed to be a big buzz word for 2012. However not enough people were talking about the practical applications such as stability, access, sharing what was developed – one thing that we want to do is have a discussion about open source so people can truly understand what it’s all about.

6.       Power point should be banned next year!

Almost all presentations used powerpoint – where are the learning technologies? This was in sharp contrast to LwF where almost all presentations used Prezi.

7.       People are beginning to appreciate that gamification is not deep immersive learning

Yes the buzzword of 2011 continues to haunt us. However the tone around Gamification has changed somewhat, yes it’s still trendy, and as an industry it’s still finding its feat, but people were more weary of it, more questioning. There was definitely a greater distinction between gamification and deep immersive learning.

8.       Everyone is talking about mobile apps but not so many actually doing them yet

Mobile; another buzz word for 2012. To be fair yes this needs to be addressed pretty sharpish. We can’t ignore the mobile revolution, that to be fair happened some time ago, and learning needs to play catch up, but there still seems to be uncertainty and a lack of progress in this area.

9.       The ‘curse’ of rapid development

I call it a curse because it seems to promise the world and deliver something that is far from perfect. Rapid development can now been seen in mobile development to gamification but what we need to ask ourselves is, do we focus on quality or quality. What did the rapid e-learning space do for training previously? It generated a lot of noise and a lot of power point slides which were hosted online. Yes you might have a tool that allows you to development a mobile app in 15 minutes, or apply a gamification layer to your website but is it any good?

10.   Less what’s a serious game? And more ROI focused discussions

 This was a great one for us to hear and brought smiles to all our faces. There was an awful lot of interest in serious games (yey) but less questions over what they are and more serious questions over ROI and best practice (double yey). This highlights to us the sector is growing up, it’s now being taken seriously by the wider L&D community.


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