Reflecting on Learning Solutions 2017

Axonify was literally EVERYWHERE during the Learning Solutions 2017 Conference! Our team hosted 6 sessions, including a rousing game of The Family Feud—L&D Edition. We had great conversations with some amazing L&D practitioners at the expo. Heck, we were even the wifi password! It’s safe to say that every LSCon participant had a great opportunity to #rethinktheLMS with Axonify during our 3 days in Orlando.

LSCon continues to be my favorite L&D industry event. It’s just the right size and mix of presentation, interaction and conversation. The event brings together practitioners with a variety of backgrounds and experience to share what’s working in a community-driven atmosphere.

I gained plenty of great insight this year, but here are a few of the standout messages I picked up during LSCon.

Technology enables evolution, not elimination

L&D can be a trendy business. We often jump from idea to idea without understanding how they relate to and inform one another. How many times have you read an article declaring a particular L&D concept, such as instructor-led training or eLearning, “dead?” That’s exactly what I’m talking about.

Glen Keane reinforced this point during his keynote presentation. As a Disney Animation legend, Keane has witnessed the impact of evolving technology on his work over the past 40 years. In fact, when he was charged to leverage digital animation as the supervising animator on Tangled, many peers considered him to be a traitor. I mean, this was the guy who created the Beast, Aladdin and Ariel—classic hand-drawn characters! Nevertheless, Keane charged forward and ushered in renewed success for Disney Animation. Since leaving the studio, Keane has continued to drive the art of digital storytelling forward through the application of modern technology. Check out the video below for an example of his VR, three-dimensional artwork, which he demonstrated live during the keynote.

Glen Keane reminded us that technology has the power to improve upon our existing tactics and practices. We must apply the same foundational elements that have made us successful in the past to these new tools in order to realize their full potential. After all, bringing Ariel to life on paper or in VR requires the same imagination, spirit and skill on the part of the artist. The old ideas never die. Rather, they are continuously reborn through our latest discoveries.

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How do we bring it all together?

Curation. Performance support. 70/20/10. Microlearning. Data. There are a lot of great ideas out there that can help L&D pros improve business impact. But how do they all fit together into a comprehensive strategy? That was the focus of my ecosystem presentation. Specifically, I explored a continuous learning experience design that leverages concepts like these while putting the individual employee at the center of our strategies. I received plenty of great feedback from participants, who referenced the fact that an experience design mentality can really help bring it all together. Check out my presentation deck below.

“We’re moving on from our LMS.”

I heard these exact words 6 times during LSCon. My conversations with participants both inside and away from the expo reinforced the reality that traditional learning technology just isn’t yielding results, and L&D pros are ready to move on. “What do you dislike about your current LMS?” was also one of the more exciting questions during our L&D version of The Feud!

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As I explored in my February Learning Solutions Magazine column, L&D pros must become versed in navigating the alternative learning technology landscape in order to bring their modern learning ecosystems to life. Solutions like Axonify are built to address the performance needs of today’s workplace, not the academic, event-driven approach provided by the LMS. It was great to hear so much validation of this idea during LSCon. It was also clear that L&D teams must find the right partners who can assist in not just installing software but constructing the right-fit learning technology ecosystem to meet their business needs.

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If you missed an LSCon session you really wanted to see, check out the conference resources page. You can also dig into the backchannel, where David Kelly curates a never-ending supply of shared knowledge from the event. And, if you have 58 minutes to kill, you can watch the Facebook livestream of my session People First! Building an Employee-Centered Learning and Performance Ecosystem below! I’m probably even more insightful and entertaining as background noise while you do your work. 🙂


I hope to see you in Orlando next year for Learning Solutions 2018!

JD is one of the most prolific authors and speakers in workplace learning today. His practical approach integrates science, technology, storytelling and pure common sense to enable employees, improve performance and drive business results. For 20 years, JD has executed strategies for global organizations, including The Walt Disney Company.

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