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What Happens in Vegas Doesn’t Always Stay in Vegas: My Top Six Takeaways from ATD TechKnowledge 2016

What Happens in Vegas Doesn’t Always Stay in Vegas: My Top Six Takeaways from ATD TechKnowledge 2016

John Andrews


Director of Product Marketing

It’s not the classic “love/hate” relationship. Instead, Las Vegas and I have what I like to call a “hate/love” relationship. On the one hand, “Sin City” is over-the-top, loud and flashy. On the other, who doesn’t want to be a little flashy, loud and over-the-top every now and then? Plus, while I was at ATD TechKnowledge 2016 last month, I couldn’t help but be reminded of something else:

There’s an energy constantly pulsing through Las Vegas. It’s a city that never stays the same; it’s always reinventing itself. And that makes Las Vegas is a lot like the tech industry itself. We’re always evolving, always on the look-out for how to do things better, faster, smarter.

With that in mind, and with full admission that I’m breaking the rules by leaking “what happened in Vegas,” here are my top six takeaways from ATD TechKnowledge 2016:

  • Online micro-learning is hot. No surprise to me, considering the demands of today’s distracted –and often distributed –workforce. Companies are ditching lengthy in-class trainings in favor of online micro-learning –smaller, “bite-sized” modules that last 10-15 minutes, delivered in easy to consume eLearning formats. Online micro-learning is particularly appealing to remote and/or mobile employees, which means that…
  • Mobile access is now a key driver for business and employee development. Today’s employees aren’t necessarily working in an office environment, let alone sitting in front of computers with easy access corporate networks. Mobile capabilities are essential to provide learning opportunities whenever and wherever your employees and partners are ready.
  • Compliance remains a challenge. How can you ensure your employees know the right things to do? Compliance training can be internal (company directed) or external (association or legal) –but either way, it’s not “one and done.” Regulations, rules and guidelines continually change, and that means your compliance training needs to be refreshed on a regular basis. In addition, you need to be sure your compliance training is retained. Remember: Course completion does not guarantee retention. That’s why…
  • Demonstrating retention is quickly becoming a top priority. Many organizations are trying to incorporate quizzes to measure retention –and not just for compliance issues, but in other areas, as well (HR policies, e.g.). What’s the point of training, if the information isn’t retained?
  • There’s no ROI without consistent engagement. The C-suite is all about ROI. In fact, we conducted a survey at the conference and found that a whopping 73% of attendees are being challenged to measure the ROI of their training investments this year. Here’s the problem, though: No matter the method or deployment of training and eLearning programs, you won’t see ROI if people don’t engage regularly and consistently. Granted, mandatory courses eventually get completed, but most companies are having trouble with anything beyond what’s absolutely required, and as we all know, competency and fluency in company product, process and culture often depend on optional training.
  • Digital engagement platforms are (finally) getting the recognition they deserve. Our survey also found that nearly nine out of ten attendees (87%) plan to evaluate digital engagement platforms in the coming year. Why? Because there’s widespread recognition that digital engagement platforms can drive participation in learning systems leading to a direct positive impact on the bottom line. A digital engagement platform integrates gamification and big data analytics with existing systems to generate what we at Bunchball call “performance enhancing data.” Businesses that use performance enhancing data have proven again and again that it drives engagement, improving the ROI for existing systems and boosting outcomes overall. (If you’d like to learn more about how a digital engagement platform could help you improve ROI from your existing business systems, check out the ATD TechKnowledge 2016 Training & Development Toolkit we offered at the conference. It’s loaded with essential content, including white papers, on-demand webinars, case studies and analyst reports.)

On my way home, I realized that I was leaving Las Vegas richer than before (which is rare considering how difficult it is to “beat the house”). Once again, the city had motivated me to stretch my thinking and evolve, and I came away with key insights about what’s now top-of-mind for learning professionals. Here’s hoping your learning management system has the same kind of impact on your employees. 

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