Transforming Learning and Development

The 2024 AITD Conference was held two weeks ago in Adelaide and, as always, this gathering of learning and development professionals provided a wealth of knowledge and insights into the changing landscape of L&D, the innovations coming our way, the challenges and the successes.   Here are our ten key learnings from the two days in Adelaide.
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Interesting Learnings from the 2024 AITD Conference 

The 2024 AITD Conference was held two weeks ago in Adelaide and, as always, this gathering of learning and development professionals provided a wealth of knowledge and insights into the changing landscape of L&D, the innovations coming our way, the challenges and the successes.

Here are our ten key learnings from the two days in Adelaide.  

1. The Prominence and Pitfalls of AI  

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is at the forefront of corporate learning innovation, promising significant benefits in automation and analytics. However, the conference highlighted the critical issue of biased and incomplete data, which can lead to skewed insights and reinforce existing prejudices, resulting in larger problems than those with which you started. So how do we move forward?  

  • Use AI as a support tool – not a whole solution.  
  • Take a more balanced approach to AI. 
  • Emphasise valid data and inclusivity. 

2. Bite-Sized, Practical and Actionable Learning 

The generational mix of the current workforce is demanding learning content that is concise, actionable and directly relevant to their job roles. They won’t engage unless they know what’s in it for them. Providing practical, bite-size learning that is immediately applicable to their work, their everyday tasks and their career goals is essential to getting buy-in from your team.  

3. Digital Competency Gap Among Employees 

A surprising 23.6% of employees feel they lack the digital skills necessary to perform their roles effectively. There is clearly a significant gap in learning and development that needs filling. This statistic highlights the need for comprehensive digital literacy programs within organisations. Ensuring your team can navigate the digital landscape confidently and contribute effectively to their roles is essential not only to their success but to your organisation’s success.  

4. Accessibility of Digital Learning and Technology 

It doesn’t feel like this should be an issue in 2024, but accessibility to digital learning remains a problem that needs to be addressed, even here in Australia and within other developed countries. In some regions, employees may lack consistent internet access and personal technology, which hampers their ability to engage in digital learning. To ensure equal access for all it is essential that these gaps are filled so that you can create an inclusive digital learning environment within your organisation. 

5. Generational Disconnect in Leadership 

The conference raised the fact that there is a significant generational disconnect in leadership styles. Gen Z employees demand empathetic leadership, a trait not traditionally emphasised in the training of Gen X and Baby Boomer leaders. Leadership development programs that focus on empathy and emotional intelligence will allow your leaders to bridge the gap and foster a more harmonious workplace. 

6. Cultural Dynamics in the Workforce 

The workforce is becoming increasingly multicultural, with significant populations from diverse backgrounds. How awesome is that! However, this diversity can also bring cultural clashes and challenges for both leaders and team members. Addressing these cultural dynamics requires leaders to develop cultural competence and create inclusive environments that respect and leverage diversity for the success of both team members and the organisation. 

7. Embracing Neurodiversity 

The conference drew parallels between neurodiversity in business and biodiversity in the environment, emphasising the importance of this to a thriving workplace. Recognising and valuing different cognitive styles can drive innovation and problem-solving. Traditional assessments that focus only on logical-mathematical and linguistic intelligences are too narrow. Broadening the criteria to include other types of intelligence can lead to more inclusive and dynamic work environments. 

8. Recognising Multiple Intelligences 

Intelligence is often divided into nine main types: logical-mathematical, existential, interpersonal, bodily-kinesthetic, linguistic, intrapersonal, spatial, naturalist and musical. Unfortunately, new employees and managers are often assessed on only two of these attributes – logical-mathematical and linguistic. Expanding the recognition of multiple intelligences can help in hiring and developing a more versatile and capable workforce. 

9. Creating Aha Moments 

During the conference we were intrigued by the science behind ‘aha moments’ – you know, those that occur when you’re in the shower! In this situation there is little visual stimuli and the warm water calms you, facilitating reflection.  

The science shows the importance of creating environments where your people can pause, reflect and experience these moments of clarity. They need room to have an ‘aha moment’. So, encouraging regular breaks and providing quiet spaces can significantly enhance productivity, learning and creativity within your organisation. 

10. Building Memory Through Repetition 

Building long-term memory requires repetition. It takes 40 to 50 repetitions of a behaviour or action for you to really remember it; by reaching 66 repetitions the connection is significantly strengthened. This is why repeated practice and reinforcement in learning is so important! It is the repetition and practice of what you learn that allows people to retain the knowledge and develop the skills they are learning. 

Bonus: Embracing Failure as a Learning Opportunity 

The most powerful takeaway for me from the conference is how we can redefine failure.  

FAIL = First Attempt In Learning. 

I love how this new perspective shifts the narrative around failure from a negative outcome to a crucial part of learning and developing. Embracing this mindset can only help build resilience and encourage continuous improvement – essential traits for personal and professional growth, don’t you think? 

Thanks AITD! We will see you next year.  

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