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Jon Kennard


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Learning Live: The story so far


The Learning and Performance Institute (LPI) holds its annual conference, Learning Live, this year on 10 and 11 September. We caught up with CEO, Colin Steed, and events manager, Nicki Kettle, to find out about the history of the conference and why it is fast becoming the most talked about event in the L&D calendar.

So, how did the conference come about?

CS: It all started in 2003. Back then, you could go to a number of conferences for academics, teachers and FE people but there was nothing of interest for the workplace learning community. So we devised an event that catered specifically for workplace trainers and training managers.

NK: It was originally called the National Trainers' Conference. From the start, it was very successful. The first show had 2 conference streams and 5 sponsor stands!

CS: Plus a host of industry thought-leaders like Don Taylor, Clive Shepherd, Cathy Morris and Richard Malham.

NK: Attendees really responded to the agenda – there was a big focus on practical advice and soft skills for trainers. We were discussing things like 'creativity in the classroom' and 'from training delivery to skills management'. Everyone was talking about blended solutions and elearning.

Why do you think Learning Live has become so successful?

NK: The exhibition side grew quickly; we’ve gone from just a few booths to over 30. Exhibitors have made some lasting connections and won significant business there so they want to come back.

CS: Attendees have said they prefer it because it’s almost like an extended family get-together. You get to see old friends and new faces, peers, mentors and colleagues within the industry. There's common ground in terms of shared problems and shared solutions. Plus there’s lots of opportunities to exchange ideas, learn, contribute and make business connections.

NK: And it’s always practical information you can take back to the workplace and start to use straight away. Delegates come away with mountains of useful and relevant information.

What can we expect at Learning Live this year?

CS: This year, we’ve invited speaker proposals rather than setting the agenda ourselves, and it’s resulted in some very interesting session titles. You’ll hear practitioners talking about some of the amazing things they’ve been doing in the industry. We’ve also got a networking dinner with after-dinner speaker, Neil Denny, whose session last year was so popular that people were lining the walls to hear him speak.

NK: We’ve also introduced 'inspire sessions' – which are soap box, pop-up sessions during the breaks. Speakers get handed a microphone and have 15 minutes to motivate their audience to think about something, or do something, in a different way.

CS: Plus we have two new Business Solutions Workshops, where L&D companies can demonstrate their products and services. The main draw for Learning Live though is that you will always bump into someone with exactly the same issues, concerns and solutions. You’ll always learn something new.

To book tickets for Learning Live click here, and for more information, including the conference programme click here  

Author Profile Picture
Jon Kennard

Freelance writer

Read more from Jon Kennard

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