Aurion Connections - What We Learned

Last week Tara (from LearnUpon’s Customer Success team) and I attended the Aurion Connections event in Belfast. This excellent 2-day customer event, run by our friends in Aurion Learning, was jam-packed with lots of interactive sessions. We came away with lots of useful insights and we thought we’d share some of our key takeaways in this post.

Stella Collins from Stellar Learning was the keynote speaker and delivered a really engaging and interactive session on how to help get people into a positive learning state. Stella covered topics from neuroscience to how the different chemicals in our brain work to either assist or inhibit our capacity to learn.

We learned how chemicals such as dopamine are associated with reward, motivation, and curiosity, all of which heighten our pertinacity to learn. An interesting takeaway for me was that in order to support long-term memory you should ask your learners to share what they learned at the end of a session rather than the more common scenario of the instructor providing a summary of what was covered. This requires the learners to recall what they learned rather than just having another person recap it for them.

There are other factors relating to the “state” your learner is in can impact their ability to learn. Ensuring your audience have enough food and drink (enough water in particular), encouraging them to move, take regular breaks and to get enough sleep all can increase their ability to learn, and more importantly, their ability to commit what they’ve learned to their long-term memory (sleep plays a big role here).

Later on Day 1, the Aurion team conducted a number of clinics which were very interesting. I attended a clinic run by Damien Caldwell on the impending death of Flash which was a real eye-opener.

You’re probably aware that Adobe announced earlier this year that they would stop supporting and distributing their Flash Player in 2020. This will have a massive impact on the world of eLearning as Flash has been the preferred output standard for eLearning content for many years. The result is that there are millions of Flash-based learning objects all over the world. Up to now, they would not work on Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads, and it won’t be long before they won’t work on any browser.

Damien provided a deep dive into what this means for instructional designers who now need to migrate their Flash learning objects to HTML5. In theory, this should just be a case of re-exporting your Flash-based SCORM objects from your authoring tool in HTML5 format, re-import to your LMS and you are good to go. The reality, however, is that the process is likely to be a lot more complex, some items to consider include:

It was clear to me at the end of this clinic that we are only at the beginning of Flash’s slow death and it is going to have a major impact on L&D departments all over the world in the years ahead.

There were also clinics on scenario writing in Storyline 3 which were also packed with nuggets of information. This session went through the idea of “designing an experience” for your learners. Some key functions of the new Storyline were:

Day 1 ended with a “Speed Dating” Demo session where attendees got a 5-minute overview of some of the products and services that Aurion offer, including our very own LearnUpon! We also got to see examples of video explainers, AR/VR, assessments, and onboarding from some of Aurion’s recent projects.

On Day 2 Gavin Woods from Aurion gave the audience an overview of Aurion’s new product CourseKit. I think CourseKit has a lot of potential for those looking for content on essential online training topics like Health and Safety, Equality and Diversity, etc. but want the ability to be able to customize standard off-the-shelf content. CourseKit gives you that flexibility, for a one-off fee you get to own the source files of the course which you can easily open in Articulate Storyline and change as much or as little as you need. Aurion currently has 5 courses available through CourseKit with more on the way soon.

We also had another talk by the keynote speaker Stella Collins on “Harnessing your Brainwaves”. The Honey and Mumford style of learning that many of us are familiar with (people are theorists, pragmatists, reflectors or activists) is petering out and making way for more meta-learning ie: learning “how” you learn. Here we were introduced to the concept of harnessing our brainwaves. There are 5 different types of brainwaves we all have:

People learn a lot when they do something immediately before bed. Stella spoke about how sleep is the basis of long-term memory as it allows time for memories to settle and make those connections that lead to that Gamma brainwave (that “Ah-ha” moment).

We also had a really interesting case study from Phyllis Stephenson, Education Advisor at the NSPCC on how they went about developing and rolling out their Keeping Safe program. This program is designed to teach primary school children about keeping safe from abuse. The approach taken by the NSPCC, with help from Aurion, was super and resulted in one of the best-blended learning deliveries I’ve seen. More importantly, it was clear that this program has had a really positive impact on children from all over Northern Ireland who have taken part in the Keeping Safe programme.

We finished up Day 2 with a session from Dr. Maureen Murphy from Aurion on the impact of technology in training with a particular focus on some of the newer technologies which are impacting how we learn in and out of the workplace today. Interestingly, she also touched on creating the right environment to learn and how utilizing different technology can impact the way people learn.

Tara and I had a really enjoyable two days and we would like to extend our thanks to Maureen, Gavin, Damien, Barry, Ciara and all the team at Aurion for their hospitality and for running such a great event.