Learning Guild CEO David Kelly
eLearning Learning
March 1, 2024

Evolving a Community of Organizational Learning Professionals

For twenty years, The Learning Guild has helped shape the conversation for learning professionals. Learning Guild CEO David Kelly shares his perspective on the evolution of the training industry, the role of new technologies, and emerging opportunities for industry leaders.



Show Notes:

David explores the shifting dynamics of how organizations approach learning and development. Here are some of his key takeaways.

  • Training in the Flow of Work: David reminds us that the most disruptive way to train someone is to take them off the job and have them attend training. When possible, providing learning and support resources in the flow of their work is a better solution.
  • Providing Training ROI: He suggests that we focus on how learning initiatives impact the business metrics that matter most to the organization to demonstrate value.
  • Data-Informed Learning Strategy: David advises that we capture and use data that aligns with the metrics already valued by the organization. Instead of being overwhelmed by the vast possibilities of data, he suggests understanding what data the organization is paying attention to and connecting learning efforts to those metrics.
  • Evolution of Workflow Learning: David emphasizes that technology, particularly platforms supporting workflow learning, has caught up with the promise, creating exciting opportunities for learning and development professionals to enhance performance and problem-solving.
  • Generative AI and the Future: He acknowledges the potential of generative AI in accelerating the adoption and application of workflow learning. While optimistic about AI’s use, he also emphasizes the need for careful consideration in how these technologies are used and understanding their impact on the field of learning and development. 

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Susan Cort: [00:00:00] The L& D industry has evolved quite a bit since the Learning Guild was founded 20 years ago. The Guild remains an important resource for industry professionals wanting to understand best practices to engage learners, including workflow learning.

David Kelly: A lot of what we're talking about when we talk about workflow learning is really good user experience design. And some of these plug in platforms that do workflow learning can, can help you with that, that they can recognize when someone is Doing and help them in the moment. Um, and I think that if you're approaching your, your view on learning and development through that lens of performance, through that lens of problem solving, then I don't care whether you call it performance support, workflow learning, micro learning, whatever it is, you're looking to solve the problem for someone in the moment, and that's a good thing for your organization.

Susan Cort: That's David Kelly, CEO of the Learning Guild. Listen to our conversation with David to learn more about emerging opportunities for learning leaders, the use of AI in [00:01:00] learning, and more. Next on Powered by Learning.

Announcer: Powered by Learning is brought to you by da Vinci Interactive. da Vinci's approach to learning is grounded in 30 years of innovation and expertise. We use proven strategies and leading technology to develop solutions that empower learners to improve quality and boost performance. Learn more at dvinci. com.

Susan Cort: Joining us now is David Kelly, CEO of The Learning Guild. Thanks for joining us, David.

Luke Kempski: So great to see you, David.

David Kelly: Ah, it's wonderful to be here. Thank you both for inviting me.

Susan Cort: Well, David, to get us started, tell us a little bit about your background and also about the Learning Guild.

David Kelly: Sure. I've been in the L& D space for quite a while. If you get to the point where you start measuring it in decades rather than years, you know you've been in the field for a while.

David Kelly: Um, but I've been in the field for a while. I've spent, um, I spent the first About probably 15, 20 years of my career in the field, I worked in finance, usually [00:02:00] leading the training and development learning department in the organizations I worked for, and about 10 years ago, after working for a number of organizations, I've always been involved in the industry to a certain level of speaking at events and such, but 10 years ago, I got a call from the Learning Guild organization asking, whose events I've spoken at for a number of times, asking, If I wanted to join the team, and after a number of discussions, I decided to make the jump because it was a significant career pivot, but I haven't looked back.

David Kelly: I love the work that we do. The Learning Guild is a professional development organization focused on the intersection of learning and technology. We host events throughout the year, both in person and online, do resources all the time as a professional development membership community. Uh, and it's been my privilege to be a part of that team for the last decade, adding my own contribution to the team's efforts of creating content and experiences that can help people in our field, uh, meet each other, develop the resources and skills that they need to do their jobs and in our own way, push the [00:03:00] industry forward towards greater heights.

Luke Kempski: Yeah, that's great. So. You've been with the Learning Guild for 10 years, and it's been around for 20, is that right?

David Kelly: Yeah, a little over 20 years. Uh, and the Guild was started about 23 years ago by David Holcomb and Heidi Fisk. Right around the time, it was originally the eLearning Guild. Uh, and they noticed that there was a hole in the professional development landscape as personal computers started to emerge.

David Kelly: And this new thing called eLearning was starting to come around. Um, and, and uh, they put together a professional development community to gather people together to make sense of that. Uh, and, and we've existed in that. That's always been our core competency for the last 22 years. That just, as much as the technologies have changed and the methodologies have changed, existing at that, that intersection of learning and technology and how we can help make sense of that intersection to help people do their jobs better, uh, has been the core value proposition of what the Guild has done for the last 23 years.

Luke Kempski: Yeah, no, I know it's been a great resource for, for myself and for everyone at d'Vinci, um, and I actually go back that far as [00:04:00] well, so, uh, if you want to, um, To get us started, talk about your upcoming Learning and HR Tech Solutions Conference. So what are you, what are you excited about showcasing to, to our audience of learning leaders in particular at that conference?

David Kelly: So this is actually a, an exciting time for us. It's, it's a rebranding of our event. It's actually, we, we've done the Learning Solutions Conference and Expo for over a decade. Uh, and it's been a very popular show for the people in the learning community to come. It's a very practical show, focuses on practical skills and strategies that people can do, um, but we've decided to expand the show this year. This, we've, over the last couple of years, I've noticed, you know, when I, when I was in the field, again, aging myself, uh, most organizations that I worked for, while we had a, a connection to, to HR, it was always a question of how, how tight is that connection or how far away are we from HR?

David Kelly: A lot of the organizations I work for, training was siloed from HR. Based on a lot of the changes that have gone on in recent years, both technological and cultural, um, [00:05:00] that space is a lot grayer than it used to be. I find myself, uh, in the context of learning technologies discussions that I lead and the conversations we host at the Guild, increasingly talking to learning leaders who are intersecting more with their HR counterparts and They're working more collaboratively.

David Kelly: There's this, this, this idea of training and HR being separate is more kind of existing in this space of talent being something that we all support. And there seemed to be a need to bring those two groups together more to bring that element of what HR is doing in the talent landscape and the HR tech landscape into the learning discussion and to bring those two worlds together so that they can collaborate with one another and make sense of the different technologies that they're all using, where they intersect.

David Kelly: And how we can do better support the employees in our organizations in a more effective manner, uh, is kind of come to light. We've been seeing this emerging over the last couple of years, and we decided that our Learning Solutions Conference and Expo, which focuses on practical solutions, was a great way to expand upon it.

David Kelly: So we didn't take anything away from what Learning [00:06:00] Solutions was. It still does everything that people need for. That people have come to know and expect around the design and the management strategy of learning solutions. But now we've added this new element where we take the same practical approach to the technologies, the strategies, and the solutions that HR professionals use.

David Kelly: And now it's kind of got this three pronged approach where we've still got everything that we did for learning. We've still got, we've got this new element of everything that we've done with HR. And then when we were putting the program together, we, we recognized that there was. If you put those two things on the table, you're like, well, there's a lot of this that overlaps between the two that some people are going to be interested in both of those.

David Kelly: And that's kind of the main, one of the main reasons that we did this is not to have two separate conferences in the same space, but to get everybody in the same space. And we see a lot of those sessions that just operate that they're not HR. They're not learning. They're kind of a shared space. To get those people together and get them to cross pollinate work with one another.

David Kelly: We see that as a, as a really, really effective way to get those teams to work together. And we're excited to be launching that show in April. Now that makes sense. There's definitely some synergies there. And, uh, [00:07:00] we will let our listeners know that we'll put information about this April conference in the show notes of the podcast too.

Luke Kempski: Excellent. And with that combination and other factors right now, um, what do you see as kind of the emerging opportunities for learning leaders, specifically those ones who are really involved in technology? What are, what are their kind of opportunities from a career standpoint and where should they focus in order to demonstrate their value within an organization?

David Kelly: Well, and I think that the easiest answer to that, and I'll get into the complexities of it, at the highest level, it's to focus on the business itself. I mean, we tend to, even if you took it as simple as the language that we use, you know, a lot of times in the L& D conversation, you hear learning leaders talk about, don't use our jargon, don't use the jargon, don't use the jargon, and that's only half true.

David Kelly: Um, which I think it is very true, completely true to not use our jargon, but I think that it would be a leap to say don't use jargon. You should use jargon. You should use the jargon of the business. You should find out the language that the [00:08:00] business is using. And look at it through the lens of how do I tell our story using that jargon?

David Kelly: How do I connect it to the stories that the business is talking about and how our efforts can impact that? And I think it's a good segue from where we started around, around the show is I think that another aspect of why we are pivoting the learning solutions event, the organizations are approaching their approach to supporting the workforce are changing.

David Kelly: And it's reflective of that. It's reflective of the fact that there's more of an acknowledgement, both from a cultural standpoint, that the way HR and the way that. That learning professionals impact the workforce has definitive business value, but there's also more opportunities through the advanced technologies that we have to make that connection, that it's no longer just something that we talk about that feels like it's the right thing to do, which I spent a lot of my career existing in that space of just kind of, well, if people learn how to do something, they'll be able to do their job better.

David Kelly: And there was just kind of this unspoken. Believe if you sold it right, that that existed, but we couldn't connect it from a data point standpoint, but now the advanced [00:09:00] technologies are increasingly being able to play in that space that we can see that when someone engages in some sort of a learning initiative, or if we onboard them in a more effective manner, that it has definitive impacts on their ability to perform and the ability for them and their performance to impact the business in a positive way.

David Kelly: So I think that the learning leaders and the HR leaders that we're working with. Need to be looking at it through that lens. And I think using the jargon that they have is a simple thing that we can do to kind of shape our mindset around that. These are the things that are important to our business and we should be framing our work around those deliverables.

David Kelly: And also looking at it through the lens of how is the stuff that we're doing impacting, providing a real impact to the work that people are doing and the value that that work is creating for the business. Yeah, and that, that seems right on target. And also, I mean, you mentioned data. You know, and having the data, you know, kind of more data than ever available and the ability to move data from application to application and learning system to HR system and back and forth.[00:10:00]

Luke Kempski: But, you know, when we talk to a lot of the learning leaders that we have on the podcast, they really kind of struggle with where do they focus their energy when it comes to data? Do you have any advice? to learning leaders when it comes to getting started with capturing and using data to inform their learning strategy and to help enhance the collaboration they have with other areas within the business.

David Kelly: I do. Um, and, and I'll start with the opinion that admittedly in some contexts is not always the most popular opinion to share. Um, but I don't know that it's for a lot of learning professionals. Context is always important. Uh, you know, everybody's organization is different. And what, what I might suggest is a solution that might work in some contexts.

David Kelly: In other organizations, it may not. Um, sorry, that's my broad disclaimer for what I'm about to say. Um, but I think for the most part for a lot of learning professionals, you'd be better served to not worry about what data you should be capturing in the context of there's huge amounts of data within the business already.

David Kelly: What is, what are [00:11:00] people paying attention to? What are the metrics that matter to your organization? Who owns that data and how can the work, and this is the key part, how does the work that I do as a learning professional or as an HR professional, how does the work that I do impact the data and the metrics that the organization is already paying attention to?

David Kelly: And how can I connect the work that we're doing? How do I, as a storyteller or as a data analyst, if I can actually connect the dots, how do I connect the work that we're doing to those data points that are already being valued by the world? And increasingly that space is, in my world, when I used to work in the, in the organizations, there was no way I could connect those data points.

David Kelly: Like I could tell the story and say, we're doing this and it has this correlation to these business metrics that matter to the organization, I could correlate it. But when I was working with the learning management systems that were in place 10, 15, 20 years ago, I didn't have the ability to really connect that data point to the business metric directly.

David Kelly: It was always correlation. But now [00:12:00] we've got these new platforms that are out there that can give us a better, more data points. I mean, we talk about data, big data, and how much data is out there, but it's more about the meaningful, the meaning behind these data points that exist, that are more business centric, that are more business value oriented, and it gives us the ability to tell a better story.

David Kelly: I mean, you know, metaphorically, when I was dealing with the platforms that I had, if I needed to tell the story through data, I might have only had, again, metaphorically, 10 words available to me that I could use to tell these stories because there was such a limited data set that was available. Now we've got these new platforms that are out there that are connecting all sorts of data at a much more micro level, and I might have 10, 000 words that I can use to tell my story.

David Kelly: If I have 10 words, I can only tell a story so well, but if I have 10, 000 words, I have the ability to get into details and tell a more specific story. We're getting to that point now. And more, what's even more Um, encouraging for me is that the platforms are enabling us, uh, are, [00:13:00] are providing resources to tell that story on their own, to assist us in the telling the, the story of learning value.

Luke Kempski: Yeah. That's great. That doesn't sound that controversial to me because you're really saying focus your data energy around the metrics that the business or the organization is measuring and rather than being overwhelmed by all that's possible, just focus there. Great. Um, switching topics. I know there's a lot of talk in the industry and, um, we're seeing more and more interesting applications of kind of learning that occurs in the flow of work.

Luke Kempski: Do you have a favorite example of that? And how an organization is using kind of that? What's enabled by technology now, and what's so important in terms of having the learning right at your fingertips while you're working. Do you have any examples of that?

David Kelly: There are lots of good examples of what organizations have done. The most compelling ones. That resonate towards me are not necessarily a piece of [00:14:00] software that you buy, although there are great softwares that you can buy that do this, it's more the lens through which people are approaching when they say learning in the flow of work or workflow learning, what does that mean to them?

David Kelly: And how does it look in the lens through which they approach that? The reason I share that is because the examples that I give are not necessarily I bought this software and I plugged in, it's more the, what's the data that's there that can help us inform stuff. There are, there are solutions and technologies that are available that can plug into your existing systems.

David Kelly: A lot of what we're talking about when we talk about workflow learning is really good user experience design. Um, and some of these plugin platforms that do workflow learning can, can help you with that, that they can recognize when someone is doing and help them in the moment. Um, and I think that if you're approaching your, your view on learning and development.

David Kelly: Through that lens of performance, through that lens of problem solving, then I don't care whether you call it performance, support, workflow, learning, microlearning, whatever it is, you're looking to solve the problem for someone [00:15:00] in the moment. And that's a good thing for your organization.

Luke Kempski: Yeah, then you're not going off to training, coming back, trying to remember. It's just like when you're in performance mode. And there's a particular problem pops up, you have access to what you need to solve the problem.

David Kelly: Yeah, I mean, I remember 30, guys, when I first started, when I first got into L& D, Um, because I was, I was one of those people that fell into this field accidentally.

David Kelly: I was really good at my job. And someone said, you should go to show other people how to do that. That's pretty common. So even before I became like fully knowledgeable of, of how we do what we do as learning professionals, there was still some instinctual things. Like I knew very quickly that the managers in the bank.

David Kelly: Hated sending people to training because it meant that they were not available to work that day. I learned that lesson very, very quickly. So we, as a department, kind of started through this lens. And again, it wasn't an L& D conversation. It wasn't a jargon. It was just working with the business. What's the least disruptive way that we can solve the performance problem that's been presented to us?

David Kelly: [00:16:00] How can we do this in the least disruptive way? Because we knew that the most disruptive way to do it was to remove someone from the working environment. And to train them so they could go back and apply it. So we would always be looking at it through that lens of what's the least disruptive way that we do this?

David Kelly: Can we give them a job aid? Can we, can you stick a post it note on someone's screen and solve the problem with that post it note? Whatever it was, um, but now we've got these, and we've been talking about this idea of workflow learning with different labels for literally decades before I was in this field.

David Kelly: What's exciting about it now and why I like the term workflow learning more than other labels that we've used in the past is because technology has caught up. We've got all of these different technologies you walk around. And Expo and see all the different suppliers that are out there, all these technologies that can plug into your existing platforms and recognize what people are doing and support them in the process of the, of the performance of that task, the technology has caught up to the promise and that makes it an exciting time to work in Spatial Workflow learning.

Luke Kempski: Do you also see that the emergence [00:17:00] of, uh, generative AI being, uh, another technology that can help accelerate? The adoption and the applications for workflow learning.

David Kelly: Um, I, I do, I mean, you know, if, if, if I truly answered, absolutely. And I, but I think a lot of it's going to be shaken out. A lot of it is how we use these things, the difference between learning and training, because I think this is kind of operating in that space.

David Kelly: We are learning professionals, that's what we call ourselves, but if you look at the behaviors that a lot of us do and the activities that we're engaged in on a day to day basis, we're engaged in training activities, we're engaged in educational activities, and that's not necessarily bad or good, but I think an acknowledgement of that as the reality is important.

David Kelly: I say this openly as a person whose organization hosts expos all of the time, and we are an organization that focuses on the needs of learning professionals. If you go into one of the expo's that we host [00:18:00] In full transparency, you're not going to see a demonstration of learning suppliers. You're going to see performance suppliers.

David Kelly: You're going to see training suppliers. You're going to see educational suppliers because that's what we do, but that's different than I think we just need to understand as, as professionals, that that's, those are different than learning activities. I mean, if, you know, the simplest example that I can give is, you know, three of us we're out at a party and we're sitting at a, we're sitting at dinner with 30 different people and the, the drinks are flowing and, and the, the conversation is going great, and then one person at that table asks a question.

David Kelly: That nobody knows the answer to and it brings the entire table to silence. No one has ever been in that moment and broken the silence by saying, you know what, that's a great question. I'm going to log into the learning management system and see if I can find the answer. No one's ever done that. What do they do?

David Kelly: They pull out their phone and they say, it's probably six or seven people at that table are already taking out their phone to Google it to see what the answer is.

Susan Cort: And they're all rushing to be the first to [00:19:00] answer, too.

David Kelly: Yes, and nobody in that moment held up their phone and said, let me do this, because I'm a self directed learner.

David Kelly: They just, they had a problem. The problem being, I don't know the answer. And they had a technology in their pocket that could be the solution. So they just did it. And that to me is, that to me is technology based learning. That's a learning activity. And I connect this to your question about generative AI.

David Kelly: Because right now, while I'm very excited about the conversation around generative AI, most of the conversations and the use cases that I'm seeing people participate AI, is how can I do what I do with generative AI? How can I create content and experiences more efficiently and better using generative AI?

David Kelly: Which is great, and it's going to be a valuable tool that I think is going to transform the work that we do. But it is a very limited view, that is a very defined view of how can I [00:20:00] build learning and training experiences like I do today more efficiently and better using these tools. Which is a totally different conversation than how can I use these tools to learn in a different way.

David Kelly: I mean, even something as simple as A lot of people are looking at how we can use generative AI to write better. And I've, I've experimented with that as well, but what I find more fascinating than the output that I get from generative AI is the learning that I do by using it to write better. I, I, by full, by full transparency, when I write, I fully admit that I am.

David Kelly: A wordy writer. I have, I have never met a five sentence, a five word sentence that I couldn't make 20 words long. That is, that is, I, I, it's, it's an aspect of my writing. And one of the things that I've done since I've had these tools available to me is when I write something for an article for one of our sites, I'll plug it in there and I'll literally nothing more complicated than make this 30 percent shorter.

David Kelly: , [00:21:00] I could just take that text as an edited text and post it and solve my problem. But what I find more interesting is looking at the changes that it made. And, and looking at it and saying, why did it change this? Oh, it took this paragraph completely out.

David Kelly: Why did it, and why did it do that? And, and now the next time I write something, that context gets added to what I've written, and I've become a better writer through the writing that I'm creating by using this tool. So, that's the piece of this, like, how can these tools be used to help us learn, that I think we're missing out on right now, and the excitement of how can we use these tools to be more efficient to do what we already do.

Luke Kempski: Yes, definitely. And that, you know, I've seen that with other aspects like data analytics, if you, you know, put a set of data that you want analyzed into ChatGPT, not only will it propose some insights that are found there, it'll tell you how it's getting to those. And then that's what you can retain and apply next time and also [00:22:00] improve your prompts and how you work with it.

Luke Kempski: When you think about, like, going back to your example of, of using the AI tools for developing learning experiences, right? What the instructional designer does, anything that you're seeing that, that, uh, is kind of exciting in terms of accelerating. Not just the productivity of the instructional designer, but also any ways that it can help accelerate maybe the development of more advanced learning experiences.

David Kelly: There's two core answers that I'll give to this. The first one is around the efficiency portion of it, but then there's, then there's the human element that I think it's even more tight. So the first is around the efficiency, because the reality is if you, if the three of us needed to put together a leadership development program.

David Kelly: The 80% of that content's probably gonna be very much an over an overlap and, and 20% of it might be very unique to our organization. Um, and the ability [00:23:00] to take that stuff that's kind of ubiquitous and standard and bring that to light fairly quickly, um, is going to make things better. It's going to make things a little bit quicker.

David Kelly: I mean, we've, these tools are still in infancy and are taking. Taking them as gospel when, when it's more like, uh, it can, you still have to read what it says and make sure that it's accurate. Um, but that's that, I think we're going to get over some of those humps fairly quick, but I think the ability for these tools to do the rote stuff that we could probably do on autopilot.

David Kelly: For lack of a better term is going to make that portion of our job happen much faster, which is good, which is going to free up time for the human element. Like, what are we adding? Like, even going back to the example that I did about the writing, the tool can do the stuff for the writing, but I still go back in and I tweak it.

David Kelly: I make sure it's got my voice and I got these things. And that's me taking it. It did [00:24:00] the bit portion of the thing of just kind of looking at it and saying, we can make this much more concise, which was really, really helpful. And that was admittedly for me as a writer. That's kind of the boring part of what I when I have to write something.

David Kelly: But then I go back in and I add the human element to it again. And I put back the things that it took out. But I was like, Oh, no, you didn't realize that point about this or, or changing the, you made it concise, but now it doesn't sound like something that I'd said. Uh, and I think that there's an element of, of instructional design where we can use these generative AI tools to do a lot of the content dump for lack of a better term that a lot of us have done to get the content out there and now we're tailoring it so that, that it's got the right voice and it's got the right messaging and we're, we're, you know, generative AI can recognize where the target is on the field and shoot for it.

David Kelly: And you just let it do that. Now, instead of having to do everything to get the shot out there, you're just bringing it closer to the bullseye event based on where it lands. Um, that's going to be really, really exciting to me. The piece that I think is often [00:25:00] lost in the equation, and this is the human element of the generative AI conversation, that I think is lost is, and I'm just going to use very random percentages as the example here.

David Kelly: Um, but I think it's pretty reasonable to assume that if you're an HR professional or a learning professional, And you're leveraging these tools that once you start developing the skills to use these tools effectively, it's reasonable to expect that 20 percent of the work that you do today will potentially go away through automation and efficiency of using these tools.

David Kelly: I think that's a reasonable expectation to say that's potential universe to go, to go forward. And if you don't have a plan for what you're going to do with that 20%, that's a problem. Like, what is, if, if, if you are going to be making the work that you do more efficient and creating bandwidth, what are you replacing that with?

David Kelly: What is being plugged in there that is uniquely humanly valuable? What [00:26:00] is the stuff that is Going to help you help your organization that a machine can't do. Um, because that, that, I think we are approaching that point where a lot of this rote stuff that we do as learning professionals is going to go away.

David Kelly: It's going to get automated, which is a great thing, but it's not just a great thing because now we have more time to do what we were doing and we can do this. We've got to be thinking about what else can we be doing with this time that is suddenly going to be enabled to us. Uh, and that to me is a key piece of this discussion that, that I think is.

David Kelly: Is going to be lost because if we're automating these things, it creates more bandwidth and we should be replacing with that with something that is uniquely human and what is that and how and what value is that going to drive that to me more than anything in this generative AI discussion is the exciting part for me of the stuff of what can we do uniquely as learning professional human being learning professional that can add more value to the experiences that we create for people [00:27:00] Um, we're not there yet because everyone is just so focused on, oh my gosh, I can press a button and three hours worth of work just became a button press.

David Kelly: That's really exciting. Um, and, and everyone is in this space of, of how much can I possibly maximize and automate using these tools, which is exciting. But there is that flip side of, but what are we replacing like that automation with? What are we, we're creating all this space through all this automation and enabling all these really, really cool, amazing things.

David Kelly: What are we filling in the space that's being left by that? And that to me is, that space is, is An enormous opportunity that if we don't focus on, we're going to miss out on.

Susan Cort: That's just as exciting, if not more, you know?

Luke Kempski: No doubt. And, and can things like, uh, more story based experiences, more immersive experiences, more, uh, just in time learning. Uh, more variations that personalize the learning experience for different roles or different learning styles.

Luke Kempski: So all those become much more apparent. [00:28:00] And I know you're also seeing on the learning technology side, kind of the more maturity around learning experience platforms. And, um, I guess, could you talk a little bit about kind of some of the features in that are continuing to evolve and mature in those platforms that are exciting and having a real impact on organizations and what they're trying to do from a learning standpoint.

David Kelly: Yeah, so for me, the most exciting thing that I connect to with the emergence of learning experience platforms, and I say emergence because it's still fairly new technology as much as there's been a lot of vendors in the space for a while. They're, um, the mass adoption of them is still fairly new within the industry.

David Kelly: For me, the most exciting points is it, is it kind of blows the doors off of what counts as learning in an organization. You know, for me, in my organization, if it didn't happen in a training class and it didn't happen in the LMS, it didn't matter. It didn't, it wasn't learning. It wasn't training. It didn't count.

David Kelly: It wasn't, it didn't [00:29:00] appear anywhere. The fact that you were able to do these different things that you, you participated in and working during the day, um, had no bearing on your competency or, or what the, how the organization like looked at your competency level. And these LXPs kind of blow the doors off of what counts as learning that we can track.

David Kelly: And it enables all sorts of different types of activities that you can engage in to count towards what you, what you're learning is and the ability to bring all of that together to get a better idea of what my competency is as a human. If I get engaged in all these different sorts of experiences and, and completed all these different experiences and engaged in these different types of content, it gets me a better understanding as an organization.

David Kelly: Around what does this person know? What do they bring to the table? What sort of competencies can they do? And what sort of problems can they help us solve in their organization? What kind of value can this individual based on this much, much larger data set? Can they add to our [00:30:00] organization? And that, to me, is the most exciting part.

David Kelly: I think that there's um, out of the box functionality that a lot of these platforms offer that instantly, like, you can just look at the dashboard and be like, oh my gosh, I have so much more data and understanding and, and intelligence. Available to me to inform what we do as talent development professionals.

David Kelly: Um, but it's, there's, there's, it's kind of brings me back to the old PowerPoint and PowerPoint could do a lot of different things, but we use it to build decks and the LXPs are kind of going to go down the same route, like, like if you don't leverage all of the, they are very, very powerful tools, but if you still use those really, really powerful tools to talk about how many people completed the compliance training program this year, it doesn't matter.

David Kelly: What it can do you're still using it like your old platform. So I think that you we've got to be looking at what these technologies are and what the potential is and change what that means to us as learning professionals. And again, connecting it to where we started. It's another [00:31:00] reason like the LXPs emerging.

David Kelly: Suddenly, we start talking about data points and skills within our employees and what they bring to the table. Now, suddenly, that's what part of the reason we see this, this overlapping with HR, because we have technologies that can start talking about learning and skills in a way that connects more with HR, rather than just being, I have to send this person to training, because that's what training does.

David Kelly: Now we're talking about skills and competencies. Those are those are real issues for HR professionals that get them more engaged in the work that learning professionals are doing. So, I think the LXPs and other higher end technologies that we're seeing emerge within both the learning and the HR space is creating us to this intersection point where these technologies work together to greatly enhance the experiences that we're able to do for our, for our organizations and for our employees in terms of supporting them better and getting them to drive more value for our organizations.

Luke Kempski: Yeah, absolutely. And really valuable for not [00:32:00] only HR and learning professionals, but also managers and executives and leaders within an organization to see it at different levels.

David Kelly: Absolutely.

Luke Kempski: Yeah. So, um, kind of to wrap us up, talk a little bit about what's currently happening with the Learning Guild and some of the maybe something new that you're working on and you're excited about as you look forward to the evolution of your organization.

David Kelly: Sure. If I can pinpoint two things, I mean, it's such a pleasure to be to be working with the team at the Guild. I mean, I've, I've, as I've been with I love this field of L& D. Been here, I may have arrived accidentally, but I knew I was home when I was, when I got here, um, the ability to take everything. I mean, when I was in the field, I was a student of the field. I love the field. I was a sponge for the field. That's why I went to conferences and spoke and rapped and wrote.

David Kelly: Um, so the ability to now have that be my job, where, where my job is to basically be a student of the field and find out what matters and, and help create experiences to help others build skills in that space, uh, is, is a privilege that I, [00:33:00] I don't overstate. Um, so what, and we're always looking at how we can better serve the industry.

David Kelly: So there are two major things that we have going on this year that are new, that I think are, are in that space. The first one we talked about earlier. The change of the learning solution show to be more inclusive of the HR audience and the launch of our learning and HR tech solutions event that we're really excited about.

David Kelly: And then later on this year, we have the 20th anniversary of the DevLearn show. DevLearn is our flagship event. A lot of people associate with the guild. It'll be the 20th anniversary of the show this year. We've been at the Mirage in Las Vegas for a number of years. Uh, and we've kind of hit a little bit of a ceiling in that event, uh, in terms of the space.

David Kelly: We've, we've, the event has, you know, grown a lot over the years, and we don't fit at the Mirage, for lack of a better term. So, we're moving across the street to the MGM, where it's a bigger space, and it enables us to do a lot of different things. That we've always, that we've talked about over the last couple of years, wouldn't it be great if we could do X?

David Kelly: And everyone's like, yeah, but where are we going to put it? We don't have room for that thing. Um, so a lot of the ideas that we've had for to introduce the [00:34:00] Devlearn show in the past couple of years, we now have space to do. It's an exciting time for us. And the fact that it coalesces with this 20th anniversary of Devlearn this year gives us an opportunity.

David Kelly: To be a reimagining, it's going to be a celebration of everything that DevLearn is, with an introduction of new elements that are going to make DevLearn even more exciting than it's ever been before. And that's a really exciting time to be part of the work that we do, and I'm hoping that it's going to be a really exciting time for the attendees to come to our show this fall.

Susan Cort: Sounds great, David. Best of luck with both of your events this year.

Luke Kempski: That's great. I know there'll be a lot of excited team members to attend and experience that. Um, and we certainly appreciate all that you do at the Learning Guild to help us continue to develop as learning experience designers and developers and really, uh, The next steps with learning and technology and how we can impact our clients and our organizations.

Susan Cort: David, we appreciate the time you took to talk with us and share more about the Learning Guild and the L& D industry.

David Kelly: Anytime. Thank you for the invite. It was a great talk.

Luke Kempski: Thanks, David.[00:35:00]

Susan Cort: Luke, it was really interesting to hear David's perspectives on the L& D industry and also hear how the Learning Guild has evolved to meet the needs of professionals.

Luke Kempski: Yeah, well, Susan, we certainly covered a lot of ground with David. And I won't even try to summarize, but instead kind of emphasize a few points.

Luke Kempski: You know, the Learning Guild is really trying to connect organizational leaders in both human resources and learning and development, especially as they consider technology decisions and platforms. That's what this new Learning and HR Tech Solutions Conference is all about, that's coming up. David also referred to this The idea of cross pollinating HR and L& D leadership, you know, with that shared purpose of developing the workforce to create business value.

Luke Kempski: Certainly hard to argue with that, but critical to call it out and make it intentional. You know, one of the things I liked was David's [00:36:00] reminder that the most disruptive way to train someone is to actually take them off the job and have them attend training versus just having them train. You know, in the flow of their work.

Luke Kempski: You know, at d'Vinci, we develop a lot of training for law enforcement officers, for instance, and we'd much rather integrate the learning experience while they are on the job versus taking them off the job to attend training. Lastly, I'll echo David's excitement over the 20th anniversary of DevLearn in Las Vegas.

Luke Kempski: This November, it's such an exciting time to be a designer and developer of learning experiences, and attending DevLearn is an opportunity to be surrounded by people and vendors who are passionate about what we do and the purpose that kind of drives us all. So, you know, people should definitely check it out, and maybe you can even meet David Kelly live.

Susan Cort: And that would be very enjoyable. He was delightful to talk to, and I'm sure, uh, he would really take the time to talk to people who stopped him at the conference. So, thanks, Luke.

Luke Kempski: All right. Thank you, Susan.

Susan Cort: And special thanks to our guest, David [00:37:00] Kelly, CEO of The Learning Guild. If you have an idea for a topic or a guest, please reach out to us at poweredbylearning@dvinci. com. And don't forget, you can subscribe to Powered by Learning wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Luke Kempski

By Luke Kempski, CEO

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