Another year, another Learning Technologies Conference.
Sometimes it might look from the outside as if the Learning Technologies Conference and Exhibition happens of its own accord, and that’s understandable. It has been running since 2000, it keeps growing steadily and it has established itself as a part of the calendar of the European learning profession. Last week’s event included some great speakers, with key notes from Edward de Bono, Ray Kurzweil and Jaron Lanier as well as case studies and in-depth how-to sessions.
But of course the conference doesn’t happen all by itself.
It’s a team effort and it involves a considerable amount of attention to detail. And there is one thing we come back to again and again when considering each year how to improve the conference: delegate feedback.
We’re often told that evaluation forms – or, less kindly, ‘happy sheets’ – are a waste of time. And that is true when it comes to assessing the business impact of a training intervention. Knowing that a learner liked the lunch or trainer is useless as a measure of their performance improvement.
However, if you’re trying to improve the actual running of an event, then knowing what delegates feel is essential. There are countless changes we have made over the years as a direct result of feedback – from the design of badges to the focus of content to the way lunch is served. Of course, frustratingly there are always good observations which we can do nothing about because of the physical constraints of the venue or economic reality. And then there are some suggestions that practical common sense rejects pretty quickly – the idea that we lay on a mini-bus service (with breakfast catering) from Earl’s Court underground station springs to mind.
It is, however, the reactions of delegates to the presentations themselves which are the most revealing and useful. Indeed, I cannot imagine being able to run the conference without them. Each year I read every one of the several hundred responses we receive, and each year I come away with a clutch of great ideas to help produce an even better conference the following January.
So, if you are one of the people who has filled out one of those feedback forms, this year or in the past, I thank you. In doing so you have made an invaluable contribution to designing next year’s conference.
I hope we can build something you’ll be proud of.