We've just about recovered after a busy last week, which included our Totara Partner event in London and two packed days at Learning Technologies 2017, Europe's largest L&D event. We had a fantastic time meeting so many Partners and delving into the learning technologies industry today, and we're looking forward to following up on all the interesting conversations we had in the coming weeks.
Totara Partner event
Our exclusive event saw more than 60 attendees arrive to network with other Totara Partners, find out more about our plans for the future of Totara and offer their feedback on what we should be focusing on next. We had presentations from Lars Hyland, Iain Napier, Andy Kirk and Rachel Griffith-Boyes, who covered topics such as the Totara EMEA market, our product roadmaps and our ambitious plans for the Totara Academy. We rounded off the day with the Totara Awards, and there were happy faces all round while we celebrated the successes of the network.
Lars Hyland and Learning Pool's Sam Barbee at the Totara Partner event
These Partner events are a fantastic way for the talented people across our network to meet and find out what their peers are doing, and helps foster collaboration across our global community. We had visitors from all across EMEA, with attendees coming from countries such as Sweden, Israel and Slovakia, and we even had attendees from as far afield US and Canada, giving Partners a rare opportunity to speak face-to-face with other organisations looking to solve similar problems for their customers all over the world.
Learning Technologies 2017 - the exhibition
Anyone who's attended Learning Technologies before will know how busy the exhibition hall can get, with thousands of attendees seeking the best new learning solutions. This year, Totara was a headline sponsor of the event, and even though we didn't have a stand at the show, countless people told us that 'Totara was everywhere'!
There were six Totara Partners exhibiting - Learning Pool, Kineo, Webanywhere, Catalyst, Engage in Learning and Synergy Learning, and we bumped into many other Partners visiting the exhibition over the two days. From the constantly busy Learning Pool café to Kineo's innovative augmented reality displays, it was great to see Totara LMS and Totara Social showcased so well across the sprawling Kensington Olympia.
As well as this, we also had an array of free seminars taking place throughout the exhibition. Lars Hyland spoke about the reinvention economy we find ourselves in today, and how selecting the right learning technologies can support organisations in today's fast-moving, ever-changing business world. If you missed these sessions, you can find the slides below.
Learning Pool's Sam Morgan spoke about how Totara LMS can help transform an organisation's learning strategy, with examples from current Learning Pool customers, and Kineo talked about their implementation of Totara LMS for Pizza Express. Engage in Learning's Chris Horseman also covered some tips to help improve blended learning programmes. All of these sessions were very well received, and some were even standing room only!
Learning Technologies conference
The other side of Learning Technologies 2017 is, of course, the conference. This takes place upstairs in Olympia, and sees a range of exclusive seminars only available to conference attendees. At Totara, we like to reward our community when we can, so we gave a conference pass to Daniel Bond from Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust in recognition of his contributions and engagement in the Totara User Community. We caught up with Dan to find out what he thought of the conference:
The Learning Technologies conference is full of contrasts; from the 'lecture and Q&A' style of the main conference events, to the frenetic atmosphere of the exhibition space downstairs, there was more than enough to fill the two days. Common themes of engaging with and understanding learners could be found throughout the conference, and the keynote addresses in particular emphasised the value of knowing and connecting with learners. One comment which seemed to attract widespread agreement was that learning technology is best when it 'gets out of the way”'and learners don’t notice it, something we’ve found Totara tends to do very well. The Learning Technologies conference had a really good mix of the practical (examples of how a new learning management system can provide a solid basis for engaging learners) to the theoretical (what AI might mean for the future of learning). As well as this, it was a good opportunity to network with others in the learning and technology field, and it encouraged reflection on how learning can evolve for us.
-Daniel Bond, Education & Development Advisor, Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust
Lars Hyland, Daniel Bond and Jonny McAlister at Learning Technologies 2017
Continuing the 'Totara is everywhere' theme of Learning Technologies 2017, Totara LMS also appeared in one of the conference seminars, where Laura Dangerfield from Halfords explained how working with Synergy Learning helped them grow their system, adoption and engagement organically.
All in all, this was another brilliant year for Learning Technologies, with AR, VR and efficiency being key themes of this year's event. We're already looking forward to Learning Technologies 2018...
Were you at Learning Technologies 2017? What were your highlights of the event?