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What will be the biggest L&D Extinction Event of 2014?


If you were a Viking, right now you’d be sharpening your best sword in preparation for the end of the world! Experts at the Jorvik Viking Centre in York believe that Ragnarok (which translates in modern English as the ‘Doom of the Gods’ and inspired Wagner’s climactic opera, Gotterdammerung) is finally happening on 22nd February – just one short month away.

So, inspired by the general sense of impending doom, we wanted to forget about ‘trends’ and instead, find out what the L&D community felt (or hoped) would be the biggest L&D ‘extinction event’ of 2014.

We’ve received plenty of responses so far, and we’ll be publishing a full article in Inside Learning Technologies and Skills magazine for the Learning Technologies Show on 29th - 30th January.

But we’re just getting started! We’ll also be recording vox-pops from those who visit us at Stand 24 next week, Tweeting the results live and releasing a YouTube compilation after the show. The best contributor wins a drinking horn!

Below, we publish three of our favourite contributions so far:

Sam Taylor, of the eLearning Network (and once an ancient historian), would love to see the tides of Ragnarok sweep away some of the broad statements we make about learners and learning styles:

“What I’d really like to see wiped out by the apocalypse is the need for us to make sweeping generalisations about learners in the form of “generations” and also in learning styles.  In the former, I think it’s wrong that we make assumptions that because you are under the age of 25 you behave with technology in a certain way. We simply can’t make these assumptions without knowing our audience more. Many of the initial mobile learning pilots have found the “older” generations are more likely to use mobile devices than the younger in their work – and that probably reflects the audience and their learning need.

For learning styles, an entire industry has been created playing to something which has no real scientific evidence.  Let’s stop labelling people as certain types: we all learn differently, and we will all learn differently at different times and needs. As learning professionals, we are better off creating brain-friendly learning, based on solid design and learning principles, that meets the learning (and learners) need.”

Follow Sam @samt_el or visit


Pull out of your battle-axes, consultants! Helen Blunden, Performance Consultant at Activate Learning Solutions (and Horrible Histories fan), is sick and tired of prescriptive training. Instead, she has a vision of a new world where the warrior performance consultant spirit reigns supreme!

“I’d love to drink a toast from the skull of the next person who gives me an order for training and chuck their Level 1 Evaluations into the sea. In its place, I want to see the birth of the warrior performance consultant spirit who stands firm against useless, constant training requests and instead inspires a Valhalla where people learn from the work - and from each other. Literally.”

Follow Helen @activatelearn or visit


Some extinction events really are preordained. Karim Ladak, Chief Operating Officer at Saffron Interactive, isn’t sure that everyone is prepared for the biggest massacre of Microsoft software in a decade…

Because of a Support Lifecycle policy introduced in 2002 (and also because they desperately want to push people onto Windows 7 and 8), Microsoft are ending support for Windows XP and Office 2003, including Internet Explorer 8, after April 8, 2014. Any organisation still on the old versions will face a constant battle against security risks and loss of certifications, and will be unable to introduce new software to their systems. It won’t be a Valhalla, I can tell you that much!

This mass extinction has big implications for learning. Firstly, those organisations jumping directly from Office 2003 to 2010 or 2013 will face a systems training challenge like no other. So much of the Office suite has been transformed, or even created, in the past decade. Secondly, and on a more positive note, Internet Explorer 8 is the most recent browser not to support HTML5. That means that when it’s finally dead and buried, the issues with using HTML5 instead of Flash for e-learning will begin to disappear. So whilst plenty of IT managers may sink under the apocalyptic pressure, I hope to see a new generation of beautiful, mobile-responsive learning experiences emerge from the ashes!”

Follow Karim @saffronint or visit


If reading this has awoken your inner Viking raider, and you’d like to join the battle, then visit Stand 24 during the Learning Technologies show next week to make a short video of your apocalyptic prediction for 2014!

Or you can simply pre-record and email it us.

The best contribution will, of course, win a drinking horn!

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Saffron Interactive

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