The Rough Guide to the CIPD L&D Show 2016

The two days of the CIPD L&D Show 2016 generated a huge amount of material.  Some of it came from the CIPD “blogsquad” of which I was a member.  I thought I’d bring some of it together in a rough narrative – leaning very heavily on the curation work of Ian Pettigrew, Con Sotidis and others.

The blogsquad published some “here’s what to expect” pieces in advance of the L&D Show. Helen pondered on comfort zones.  Jo reflected on blogging.  Ian took a broad approach to Return on (Conference) Investment.  I decided to take a foraging approach.  Julie gave some vastly practical tips, and so did Fiona, and so did Rachel (pictorially).

The L&D Show opened with the launch of the Open University’s Trends in Learning 2016 Report.  Rachel picked out adaptive teaching, learning analytics and e-books as key points of the report; I added accreditation as well.

The seminar programme of the L&D Show included many stars of L&D in 29 separate workshops, masterclasses, case studies and world cafe sessions. There were another 50-odd taster sessions in the main exhibition hall.  A very small slice of the action is offered below through:

i) session-specific blogs

ii) “curated resources” which gives a real feel of the buzz around the event.

Session-specific blogs

Jo Stephenson (@Jo_Coaches) blogged “live” from four workshops:

  • Developing leaders with Beverley Aylott and Shauna O’Handley.  This included case studies from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Imperial College NHS Trust and Misys.  Beverley suggested 10 key themes of leadership development.  Shauna recommended Simon Sinek and Dan Pink.
  • Using cognitive neuroscience in learning with Dr Itiel Dror.  He explained that acquisition, remembering and application are the three critical elements of learning. Key points:
    • Active learning is better than passive
    • Doing is more memorable that learning by taking notes
    • Simulations provide experiences to learn within
  • Using coaching to develop culture with speakers and case studies from Danone and Cancer Research UK.  This included a discussion of the differences between coaching and mentoring in the organisational context, and many practical tips for making a success of a corporate coaching programme.
  • A masterclass on change with Professor Cliff Oswick of Cass Business School – looking at the implications of change approaches for L&D.  This includes a slide with eight recommended case studies to explore.

Ian Pettigrew (@KingfisherCoach) also blogged straight from the workshop sessions:

  • Aligning L&D to your business strategy – which included case studies from Arup and Ericsson on “turnaround” campaigns to create better L&D in support of the business.
  • The secret to learning design – in which Nick Shackleton-Jones of PA Consulting used bananas to illustrate how to make things memorable.  Learning needs to be built around crafting experiences and providing resources – such as checklists, factsheets and short videos.
  • Supporting social learning in the workplace – a session run by Jane Hart (@C4LPT) looking at supporting managers, groups and organisations.  Ian’s blog includes Jane’s full presentation.

Helen Amery (@WildFigSolns) reported on:

  • Learner control to learner choice: a double case study from and Tarmac, as they cope with massive organisational change (eg doubling in size every year – interesting challenge for the L&D function when you’re not even sure where your most recently opened office is).
  • Influencing business leaders to embrace modern learning – in which senior L&D people from ATS Euromaster and Rackspace talked about retooling the L&D function for new challenges.

I covered five taster sessions:

  • Strengths-based development  with Trudy Bailey of CAPP & Co Ltd.  Work out your unrealised strengths, marshal your known strengths, and  just because you’re good at something, it doesn’t mean it’s the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning..
  • How to use your voice: top tips from acting by Susan Room of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.  Practical tips on tone, pitch, volume, facial and body language.
  • Diversity campaign at Channel 4: a case study by Acteon Communication.  Know what you’re trying to change, get them to do it, take a campaigning approach.  You might end up changing an organisation’s self-image.
  • Running a digital learning strategy by Paul Morgan of Telefonica.  Paul raised the banner of common sense and challenged us to focus on business results: forget L&D metrics/evaluation, don’t create your own content, don’t track people, go all out for value.
  • What are L&D people really like? – a session by Dr George Sik which confirmed and challenged some of our self-perceptions as a profession, using 4,000 sets of psychometric data.

Krystyna Gadd has provided a summary of her session on The Secrets of Learning Needs Analysis.

Martin Couzins and Mike Morrison captured quick video reflections after six of the sessions, as well as a general wrap-up from the Show – these can be found at Green Beanbag thoughts.

CIPD have uploaded presentations in PDF format from about half of the workshops, and five of the rapid-fire Ignite sessions have been captured on video by Ady Howes (@adyhowes) of DPG: delivered by Mike Collins, Stella Collins, David James, Annette Hill and Doug Shaw.


Ian Pettigrew sifted through a deluge of material to pick out the “best of the CIPD L&D Show“.  This is a comprehensive resource including video reflections, sketchnote summaries and everything good under the sun.  It includes material from Julie Drybrough (@fuchsia_blue), Fiona McBride (@fionamcbride), Giles O’Halloran (@GilesOHalloran) and Rachel Burnham (@BurnhamLandD – who has collected her sketchnotes separately).

From the other side of the world, Con Sotidis (@LearnKotch) used Eventifier to pick out the top videos, blogs, tweets and photos from the L&D Show.


As the event moved towards its close, and as blogsquad members and everybody else made their way home from Olympia, there were some more reflective pieces:

I’ll keep this updated – let me know if you think anything should be added.  And to adapt Jo Stephenson’s excellent standing caveat on her conference blogs:

[Our] intention was to capture a faithful summary of the session highlights, but [our] own bias and views may also feature within these blogs. Please excuse any typos, and don’t hesitate to join the conversation on Twitter..

Thank you and see you next year!



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