World of Learning Conference and Exhibition

Last Wednesday some of the Nice Media team headed up to Birmingham to attend the World of Learning Conference & Exhibition (aka WOLCE).

We thoroughly enjoyed walking round and seeing all the exhibitors. It was excellent to see so many companies, like us, with such a passion for learning.

There were also a fantasticRichard and Mel WOLCE array of seminars on show. Here are some of our highlights:

It’s not about technology

I, somewhat nervously, headed to the ‘It’s not about technology’ talk by Graham David the Managing Director of Blue Beetle. As a video for learning consultancy, we are very passionate about technology being able to really engage learners, so I wondered what I’d think of the talk…

The talk was compelling and, actually, very positive about the use of technology.

Graham was energetic and on a high as Blue Beetle had won best L & D supplier at the CIPD People Management Awards the night before.

Graham told an anecdote of seeing three girls having a meal in a restaurant. All 3 were on their phones. Then when the foodBlue Beetle - WOLCE arrived, they took photos of it on their phones, then appeared to be uploading it to some social network (probably Instagram, #edgy). He was surprised they were out for a meal together, but were constantly on their phones, rather than engaging with each other directly.

Similarly, he said he was doing some training recently and he noticed there were several people at the back constantly on their phones. Initially Graham was annoyed, until he discovered that these people were live tweeting the training.

Graham’s point of these observations was to demonstrate that how we interact with the world and each other is changing. And although he claimed that training and learning are not about technology, this doesn’t mean that we can’t use technology to make Training Room - WOLCEtraining more engaging.

He explained that training rooms haven’t changed in the last 10, 20, 30 years: training rooms are usually rows of chairs facing the trainer who has a projector and a flipchart.

He then showed us an image of Blue Beetles training room (as seen to the left in my blurry photo) and described the things they do to make it more engaging:

  • Using digital posers
  • Using tablets
  • Having small group tables instead of chairs facing forward like a seminar
  • Height adjustable tables, so you can sit or stand
  • Portable power packs, so you can charge your devises without having cables across the floor
  • A HD projector
  • Wall painted in Idea Paint so you can draw on the walls like a whiteboard
  • Chairs with brightly coloured cushion seating, so you can easily divide people into groups (e.g. everyone with a green seat forms a group)

The talk overall, was a great display of how to use different mediums (including technology) to capture your audience’s attention.

The barrier to emotional engagement and how much they are costing you

The second talk I went to was by Maria Paviour, an Occupational Psychologist, Business Manager and founder of Maria Paviour Company.Maria Paviour- WOLCE

She was another enthusiastic speaker, elaborately dressed in a red top hat. Her talk was the promotion of wellbeing at work. She argued that you cannot improve emotional engagement without removing the barriers.

Then as an exercise to ‘energise us’ we were told to fist bump the people around us and say a different thing we loved after each fist bump. These things included cheese, cooking, mirages, chocolate, cooking and holidays. It seems like we all mainly love food…

She explained that to be emotionally engaged in a business you have to be invested with your body, heart and mind. But, that being emotionally invested wasn’t devised by how much you were paid or how many perks (such as, what she called ‘lovely things’ like parties). But, instead, the most important thing is the relationships within the company.

She presented the equatioFinancial Benifitsn:

Wellbeing @ work = 3xRelationship + Work Pressure

She explained the financial benefits on having emotionally engaged learners in the slide to the left.

Her talk was an emphasis on how working relationships affect the company environment and the importance of wellbeing.

The conference…

Overall, it was really great to see how buoyant the learning market is and to see the wide range of companies exhibiting. One of our favourite stalls was the Two Bald Blokes (which IS the company name, we’re not just being cheeky…) stall, who offer a team building exercise where you create ‘a song in a day’.

As ever with these events it’s great to catch-up with familiar faces, and we were delighted to bump into Carl from Learner Lab who had just presented this talk on ‘How strong is you L&D brand?

And we got to meet some lovely new people, like Melanie Hickmore’s tree friends from Whittlebury Hall, who you can see above!

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