Luke Willett and Jake McConkey, Account Executives at Virti
In May 2022, several members of the Virti team traveled to London to attend Learning Technologies 2022. Across the pond, US-based members of our team headed to Florida for the Association for Talent Development’s Conference and Expo.
These landmark annual gatherings of L&D pioneers both provided fantastic opportunities to connect with fellow industry leaders, to attend a carefully-curated selection of workshops and roundtables, and - at LT22 - to welcome visitors to our own display and demo stand.
The events also allowed us to build our industry network whilst also learning more about some of the newest trends and developments in global L&D tech. Having now reflected on the events and on our experiences there, we’ve shared our 5 most important insights and takeaways below. Read on for your need-to-know snapshot of the state of the sector.
1. C-suite teams are advocating for L&D investment like never before
Based on the conversations and meetings we had at LT22 and ATD, it’s clear that CEO’s, CTO’s, COO’s and other top execs are now in agreement that L&D is a serious player as a competitive differentiator. As the fight for top talent intensifies, mediocre office croissants and bring-your-goldfish-to-work days are no longer cutting mustard in the recruitment war. In their place, innovative L&D programmes now play a critical role in attracting and retaining employees, and in bridging the skills-gap void.
2. Engagement is now a top priority
Forward-looking employers understand that their companies need to do more than just create training slides that feature a ‘fun’ pop quiz at the end. To stay ahead of competitors, they need to evolve their entire framework and approach to learning in order to maximize participation and engagement. This is a huge culture shift for most organizations, and some are exploring ways in which they can leverage their marketing strategies and social media resources internally to achieve this. For example, FAT brands, a global restaurant franchising business, recently struck gold when they trialed the use of internally-created TikTok videos to deliver bite-sized training content to their Gen-Z hospitality staff.
4. Market turbulence is driving a doubling-down on high ROI, cutting edge L&D initiatives
The uncertainty and fluctuation in global markets seems to be fuelling more interest in L&D tech innovation, with no signs of any reluctance to embrace the cutting edge. At both events, every panel discussion and keynote speaker was received with enthusiasm by delegates; there was a real sense of momentum and excitement about the potential of L&D tech to help companies tackle some of their most pressing problems in a data-driven and evidence-backed way.
4. Large organizations are taking immersive training seriously
The majority of large businesses we met were already enthusiastically engaging with immersive training, having recognised the huge advantages of being early adopters. The most common first step was the creation of a focused team to explore opportunities for immersive training within the organization. These pioneers were tasked with uncovering best practices, defining use cases and understanding the timescales and costs associated with integrating it into their L&D strategy for 2022-23.
The pace of progress was really inspiring to see. Large organizations may have a reputation for pursuing new initiatives at a glacial crawl, but when it comes to immersive training they are charging towards change with the speed of an over-caffeinated cheetah.
5. The affordability of immersive training continues to surprise
If we had £1 for every person we spoke to at LT22 who was surprised at how affordable immersive training technology (such as VR platforms) would be for their organization, we’d have….enough money for roughly 2 London pints. But inflated alcohol prices aside; it seems that there are still misconceptions surrounding the cost of implementing VR tech in a professional setting.
In the majority of cases, VR training and onboarding actually costs LESS than traditional in-person training. This is, amongst other reasons, because learners can be upskilled remotely, more quickly and they retain that information for longer.
Companies are starting to wake up to the fact that no one wants to schlep halfway across the country to spend two days drinking bad coffee and making awkward small talk at the quarterly company training meet. They’re redirecting the funds to build a culture of continuous learning with immersive training.
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