LEARNTEC 2024: AI, Hybrid Learning, and Robot Pooches – The Future of Education is Here!

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Last week, we had the privilege of attending LEARNTEC, Europe’s largest digital learning conference, held at Messe Karlsruhe. The event was an (exhausting, but fun) whirlwind of presentations, innovations…and even robotic dogs. 

With over 400 exhibitors showcasing cutting-edge advancements in VR, AI, digital universities, and more. Spanning three intense days, LEARNTEC was a hub of knowledge, inspiration, and cool technology.

As we walked around, visited booths, and attended presentations, we noticed a couple of emerging themes for this year’s LEARNTEC:

1. Artificial Intelligence still reigns supreme

No surprise here, AI is a hot topic in the education sector.

  • AI tools are being used to create personalised learning experiences and automate administrative tasks, enhancing efficiency.
  • AI learning assistants are becoming popular. These tools can provide tailored support to learners, potentially making education more accessible and individualised.
  • Integrating AI in education encourages critical thinking and collaborative learning, showing that AI can be an ally, not a competitor, in educational settings.

2. Hybrid and interactive training are gaining popularity

Hybrid learning models, combining online and in-person education, are gaining steam.

  • Hybrid models offer flexibility for learners and can be tailored to different learning styles and needs.
  • Interactive elements, like storytelling with AI, can make hybrid training more engaging and effective.
  • Blending education with entertainment or, ‘edutainment’ as its referred to, is a key strategy to keep learners motivated and invested in their learning journey.

3. Sustainability is still critically important

Sustainable learning practices are focusing on long-term impact and effectiveness.

  • Sustainable practices: Effective learning experiences should go beyond immediate results, fostering continuous development and adaptation.
  • Corporate responsibility: Companies are integrating learning initiatives with their Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) efforts, highlighting the role of employee education in achieving broader sustainability goals.

4. Employee learning pathways are becoming more personalised

  • Skill development: A focus on skills-based training, upskilling, and reskilling ensures that employees can adapt to fast-paced job changes.
  • Learning culture: Building a strong learning culture within an organisation supports innovation and continuous improvement.

5. Data literacy is a must

The role of data in education is expanding, with a strong focus on data literacy and the integration of edtech.

  • Data-driven learning: Using data to inform and drive learning strategies ensures that educational programs are relevant and effective.
  • EdTech tools: Implementing new LMS and other EdTech solutions can streamline learning processes and enhance overall educational outcomes.
  • Gamification: Gamified learning approaches are being used to build data competencies, making learning more engaging and effective.

Keynote: Mein Bildungsraum. Perspektiven der Forschung auf die Nationale Bildungsplattform

The trade show, as always, began with a strong cup of coffee (or three). As we headed to the Messe Karlsruhe and set up for the day, the convention opened with a keynote from Dr. Ulrike Lucke, professor at Universitat Potsdam. Since the launch of the funding initiative for a National Educational Platform, numerous expectations and desires have been expressed, alongside some interim results and criticisms of the project. This presentation provided us an update on the current status of the platform from the perspective of the BIRD prototype project.

The BIRD project, initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), aims to create a digital platform called the “Digital Networked Infrastructure for Education.” This platform will connect various educational services across Germany.

Key takeaways:

  • BIRD involves teachers, students, and other stakeholders in the development process, ensuring it is user-friendly and meets real needs.
  • Emphasises joint development and learning with the community, creating practical solutions for all users.
  • Focuses on creating and testing a prototype to find the best solutions. Allows for fine-tuning before full implementation.
  • Links existing and new educational services across Germany, enhancing collaboration and resource sharing.
  • Users can access and use various resources without compatibility issues.
  • Provides a variety of services and resources to support users’ educational journeys.
    Benefit: Helps students and educators find needed tools and support efficiently.

The BIRD project is about modernizing and digitizing education in Germany with a platform that’s collaborative, flexible, and super connected. It’s practical, well-received, and ready to adapt to whatever the future brings.

‘Unleashing GenAI: Accelerating Business Agility and Reinventing L&D for Future Organizations’

This session was led by Lukas Lewandowski, the Regional Director for DACH & Central Europe at Coursera UK.

Lukas highlighted GenAI’s power to create personalised learning experiences and stressed the importance of organisational AI agility. He talked about ways to integrate AI into workflows, boosting innovation and productivity by automating tasks, and giving real-time feedback. He wrapped up by demonstrating how GenAI is a game-changer for Learning & Development, supported by data showing big improvements in employee performance and engagement.

Key Takeaways

  • GenAI is poised to transform L&D by creating more personalised and efficient learning experiences.
  • Organisations need to develop strategies for integrating AI seamlessly into their operations to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Leveraging AI can significantly improve productivity by automating routine tasks and providing instant feedback.
  • Embracing GenAI in L&D is essential for organisations aiming to boost employee performance and maintain a competitive edge.

‘No Glory in Prevention? Ways out for HR, PE and IT Managers’

Christian Laber from G DATA CyberDefense stressed that over 90% of cyberattacks stem from human error, highlighting the need for employee security training. He noted that while IT security training often goes unrecognised, it’s vital for prevention, and HR managers play a key role in this effort. Laber shared strategies and a case study on proactive security awareness training, demonstrating its effectiveness in enhancing overall security and preventing attacks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Be proactive! Investing in continuous, proactive security awareness training is needed to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks.
  • Close collaboration between HR and IT departments is necessary to implement and sustain security training programmes effectively.
  • Gaining management buy-in and securing necessary funding are critical to the success of these training initiatives.
  • Fostering a culture of security within the organisation can significantly enhance its resilience against cyber threats.

‘PHYWE AR – Learning in a virtually enhanced learning environment’

Carolin Schlein, Product Manager for PHYWE, highlighted how PHYWE AR enhances the learning experience by allowing students to visualise and interact with scientific concepts in ways traditional methods can’t match. This effectively bridges the gap between hands-on experiments and theoretical understanding. PHYWE AR offers a comprehensive educational package, integrating practical skills with deep theoretical insights. The use of virtual content provides detailed views of physical phenomena, making complex concepts more accessible and easier to understand.

Key Takeaways

  • PHYWE AR makes learning science more interactive and fun with augmented reality.
  • The programme balances practical activities with theoretical learning for a well-rounded educational experience.
  • Students get a deeper, clearer understanding of physical properties and processes.

Our esteemed visitors

We met so many wonderful and interesting organisations, either out and about on the trade show floor, or at out booth in Halle 2, M22. A special thanks goes to:

DADB – German Academy of Digital Education

What they do: they are “offering digital university courses in science and engineering to students around the world with a learning experience that excites, stimulates, and makes complex knowledge accessible, through innovative teaching formats.”

RIOS Solutions GmbH

What they do: RIOS is a leading software solution that streamlines data management, planning, and administrative tasks for educational institutions, rehabilitation facilities, and integration services.

INU – Innovative University of Applied Sciences

What they do: INU is an online university where you can complete your entire course of study full-time or part-time online, interactively and with maximum flexibility in terms of time. As a digital university, INU enables you to tailor your distance learning course completely to your needs and gives you the freedom you need to reconcile your obligations, wishes and studies.

ECOSPHERE Automation GmbH

What they do: They specialise in providing customised automation and robotics solutions, enhancing productivity and efficiency through expert machine construction, hands-on training, and an extensive online platform for easy procurement of automation components.

Learning Content Factory (a part of Archipel B.V.)

What they do: Learning Content Factory creates interactive e-learning, activates engaging campaigns, and designs captivating graphics to enhance learning and development, ensuring content remains relevant and impactful for your organisation.

ROM Utrecht Region

What they do: They connect ambitious, innovative entrepreneurs with knowledge, financing, and access points to other markets. In the Netherlands and abroad. Our Dutch neighbours!

Babbel

What they do: A language learning app with short lessons that focus on real-life conversations. They also offer Babbel Live classes taught by certified, first-rate language teachers. Developed by language experts, the Babbel method will help you speak correctly and confidently in real-life.

Conceptboard

What they do: The GDPR compliant and ISO 27001 certified collaboration tool for digital teamwork. Their digital whiteboard allows for safe, secure teamwork.

Szenaris

What they do: SZENARIS specialises in digital learning, creating advanced e-learning, XR, and simulation products for over 20 years, and offers comprehensive services from consulting to implementation, leveraging partnerships with top research institutes.

Ranj 

What they do: They specialise in developing custom, game-based solutions tailored to the needs of organisations in recruitment, upskilling, and social education. They help companies attract top talent, streamline onboarding, and enhance employee skills in areas like compliance, collaboration, and diversity.

Linde Material Handling

What they do: Linde Material Handling enhances intra-company logistics with efficient forklift trucks, intelligent software, and comprehensive services. They prioritise safety through their Zero Accident Philosophy and design ergonomic solutions that harmonise human and technological interaction.

Forum Institut fur Management GmbH

What they do: they provide innovative ideas and insights to help you unlock your potential and invest in your growth. They believe in modern, practical, and sustainable skills development that benefits both you and your company.

Diagnose

What they do: They offer an innovative educational platform that seamlessly integrates advanced diagnostics, interactive notebooks, and comprehensive courses for a personalised learning experience.

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Cristina Gilbert
Copywriter and digital content enthusiast, Cristina is motivated by the fast-paced world of e-assessment and the opportunities online exams give students to thrive.
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