Reflecting on 5 Key Themes at LSCon 2016

learning-solutionsIt’s Monday and I’m tired. But, I’m tired for the best possible reason. I just spent the past week with my Axonify teammates immersed in the world of learning and performance as part of the eLearning Guild’s 2016 Learning Solutions Conference & Expo (#LSCon).

With this year’s theme “Sharing What Works,” LSCon offered members of the learning and performance community a chance to come together and share stories. Successes and failures. Challenges and triumphs. It was a reminder that many L&D professionals are trying to solve the same problems within their unique organizations and can, therefore, provide significantly greater value by reaching out for support from talented peers as well as knowledgeable experts within the learning community.

The Axonify team was hard at work throughout the event, delivering 5 sessions, exhibiting on the expo floor, and engaging in countless insightful and inspiring conversations with learning professionals who are passionate about making people better at the jobs they do every day. We were also honored to be recognized alongside Bloomingdale’s for the award for Best Alternative Vendor Solution during the DemoFest exhibition.

When reviewing the conference schedule a few weeks ago, I noticed a series of emergent themes. These 5 themes were further reinforced as I attended sessions and spoke with participants throughout the event. Here’s my perspective on their significance:

Modernization of Learning

Multiple sessions addressed the future of learning, especially the evolution required within the next 5 to 10 years to ensure L&D continues to provide the best possible value to organizations that are constantly facing disruption in an ever-changing marketplace. While cutting-edge learning technology will certainly play a big part of this evolution, L&D professionals must also identify new and expanded roles to play while building their own professional skills along the way. Specifically, L&D must improve its ability to leverage the full workplace ecosystem and ask better questions by examining organizational data.

The Human Side of Learning

Regardless of industry or role, the people supported by L&D have one thing in common: they’re human. This reality, along with continued insights into the way our brains work, has pushed the science of learning into the forefront of industry discussion. L&D is beginning to recognize inherent capabilities and limitations while looking for ways to tailor training and performance support solutions to maximize human potential.


L&D professionals are trying to get past “microlearning” as a buzzword and find ways to bring the idea to life within their organizations. In addition to selecting the right tools, we must help L&D recognize that microlearning represents a paradigm shift in the way we support workplace learning. And rather than focusing just on the size of learning content,organizations must leverage bite-sized training in tandem with proven memory-building concepts, like interval reinforcement and retrieval practice, to realize its true value alongside other strategic learning and performance support capabilities.


We’re entering a period of improved understanding and renewed excitement around gamification. Not only are we seeing more and more data on the effectiveness of game mechanics within the workplace, but L&D is able to integrate these concepts more seamlessly into learning solutions to create personalized, social, and mobile learning experiences. If L&D is strategic about its understanding and application of game mechanics, organizations will be able to reach employee engagement levels similar to those attained by consumer technologies.


Using video to support learning is far from a new idea. In fact, the oldest “training video” available on YouTube dates back to 1941 (automobile sales). However, given the growing ubiquity of video in our everyday lives and ease of production, thanks to smart devices, L&D is exploring new ways it can be applied to aid learning and performance. As part of a series of sessions on the topic, I led a discussion on the ideal ways to leverage video, including applications beyond standard instruction and demonstration. My goal was to share ideas on how L&D can engage employees with immersing video storytelling along with interactive opportunities now available, thanks to livestreaming technology.

While it’s impossible to document everything I took away from LSCon, these ideas were some of the most significant.

I’d love to hear about your experience too, so feel free to share your key learnings in the comments below.

JD Dillon became an expert on frontline training and enablement over two decades working in operations and talent development with dynamic organizations, including Disney, Kaplan and AMC. A respected author and speaker in the workplace learning community, JD also continues to apply his passion for helping frontline employees around the world do their best work every day in his role as Axonify's Chief Learning Architect.

Let’s work together to drive frontline performance in all the right ways.