Published: Oct 18, 2018
Time to read: 6mins
Category: Learning

The Future of Learning Technologies: DevLearn 2018’s David Kelly Talks Innovation and Trends

David Kelly is executive vice president and executive director of The eLearning Guild and a leading voice on how technology can enhance organizational training and learning. He's also a key figure behind DevLearn 2018, the conference unearthing what’s next for learning and technology.

Ahead of this major learning industry event, David shared his thoughts on trends in L&D and why he's excited about DevLearn.

Hi David. As an expert in putting together these kind of forward-thinking events and conferences, what are the key trends you've seen emerge in L&D recently?

David: There are always emerging trends that place pressure on the industry to change. Every year, we see exciting new technologies introduced to the world, and they create shifts in the way learning works. You can see that it hasn’t just been one thing—there are now multiple forces at work bringing about change, whether it’s microlearning, mobile learning, or something else.

It's so contextual. One person's emerging technology is another organization's technology that they won't touch for 20 years.

I look to see where the trends are on the consumer market.

Ultimately, if the trends in technology usage change on a consumer level, they will impact L&D in the short term. And what excites me in that regard is some of the stuff that I see going on in the augmented reality (AR) space. We're seeing AR being pushed in the tech field a lot. It's advancing very quickly and the applications of how we can use this for learning and supporting a workforce are tremendous.

It's the worst-kept secret that Apple's going to be coming out with its own AR headwear very soon. Over the next year or two, as we continue to see the advancement of AR technologies, I think we're going to see their applications in L&D explode.

How did you approach the process of curating the DevLearn 2018 program, and what speakers or topics do you feel are pushing the envelope?

David: We always start with a call for proposals and reach out to our community. From there, we had around 800 proposals for DevLearn 2018, which meant selecting the final program wasn’t an easy task. Most of the submissions were really good, and we look to choose the cream of the crop.

Ahead of DevLearn, I always recommend that people look for the stuff that’s in a space or industry that you’re not playing in today, because that’s a growth opportunity.

I don’t mean to sound overly critical, but it’s very easy to go to a conference and find the stuff that’s in your zone. People say, “I do this, I’m in this world, and I’m going to go to sessions that make me better at it.” And that’s good, but I always say they should try to take at least two sessions that are completely outside of their comfort zone.

Even if your organization is not in that space today, you’re preparing for when you’ll play in that space tomorrow. One thing we try to do when curating and in the way we support people is to create a program that helps people think differently. Going to a conference and concentrating on what you do is valuable, but it leaves so much off the table, in our opinion.

We try to encourage people to create their own experiences in a way that gets them to think differently about the work that they do. That really captures the spirit of DevLearn 2018 in many ways. For myself and others, I find we get more out of it when we explore what we could be doing.

Which aspects of DevLearn 2018 are you particularly looking forward to?

David: DemoFest has always been one of my favorite parts of the event. What I love about it is not only seeing things that I didn't expect, but talking to people and finding out why they made the choices that they did when they built something. That's always fascinating to me.

Another thing I love is the student category—people who haven't joined the workforce yet but are starting to learn. To see their viewpoint on why they created something and the fresh outlook they bring to it is great.

We tend to get so bogged down in doing what we do in our organizations that sometimes we don't even realize we've got blinders on. They come to the table without any of that baggage. Seeing the work they do through their eyes is fascinating

I'm interested in looking at the analytics stuff that's out there. I don't get to play in the data and analytics space very much. So I'm looking forward to seeing what people are doing there and how they're using data to inform the decisions that they make in their organizations and the work they do.

As you might know, we’ve just launched our new gomo video product. What part do you see video playing in learning, now and in the future?

David: Video is huge. It's an enormous medium for learning. I always say that if you want to see how technology is going to change the way we learn, you have to look at the way it's changing how we live.

We’re living in an increasingly video-based world. The majority of the way we consume information is video-based, so it makes sense for us to be exploring video. I'm most excited about the way it's being used when it's not used just for the sake of it, or simply because we have the capability to do it.

I'm intrigued by the interactivity that’s being attached to video on an increasing basis that enables you to participate in the video more than just passively.

We've reached a certain layer of mainstream with video now. Concerns around bandwidth and the ability to consume video content will always be a challenge in little pockets, but for the most part—for the majority—that problem has been reduced or eliminated.

So now we're getting to the point where technology can make video more interactive. Searchable video is also a very, very powerful aspect of where video is going to be going.

More from the blog: Find out how user-generated video content works with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics to create an innovative modern learning experience.

Want to Know What’s Next for Learning and Technology?

Connect with L&D experts from PeopleFluent and our sister company, gomo, at DevLearn 2018!

Visit Booth 214 to discover how gomo's cloud-based authoring, enterprise video, and hosting solutions can transform the future of your organization’s learning.

And visit PeopleFluent at Booth 307 for answers about how an integrated learning management solution can help you put learning at the heart of your talent strategy.

Read this conversation with David Kelly in its original format on gomo's blog.

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