This was our first time at the BIG show … and it really was big. From what I heard, there were over 10,000 people there from all over the world. It truly was a fantastic experience to meet and learn from a global audience. We had a lot of fun, here’s proof:

ASTD 2014
Axonify’s Angels … and bodyguards (Left to right: Dave, Sabrina, Carol, Lois and yours truly).

In this post, I wanted to share some key insights that we gathered from attendees after listening to them explain some of their biggest learning challenges: 

Challenge 1: Bite-Sizing Learning

Learners have less time to learn and the reality is that L&D departments have fewer resources to spend on creating elaborate learning programs. Enter bite-sized learning. This is truly the best for both worlds. For learners, bite-sized content allows the learning to be weaved into the workday as opposed to isolated into a specific event. For the L&D department, creating bite-sized content is not only faster but it allows for the learning to be delivered more often.  

Key insight: Making learning more digestible will not only make delivery easier but will also increase retention.

Challenge 2: Engaging Experiences

Storytelling, videos and gamification. These were some of the big ideas floating around in answer to the question of how to make learning engaging. Many organizations are starting to realize the cost of disengagement and as a result they are seeking innovative ways to engage learners. 

Key insight: A truly engaging learning experience would have fulfilled its purpose once it creates an intrinsic desire for learning.

Challenge 3: Communicating With The Front Line

A lot of executives we spoke with mentioned that they have a need to communicate directly with front-line employees. This goes beyond traditional email communication because they want to deliver a message that transcends mere words on a screen. Executives are looking for a way to communicate their vision into the hearts and hands of their entire organization. 

Key insight: Cultures are driven by vision. L&D departments have the opportunity to transform organizational culture by ensuring that the organization’s vision is reinforced every day. 

Challenge 4: Diagnostic Tools

Many learning professionals we spoke with are looking for tools to help diagnose the status of learning within their organizations. Learning organizations need to know what employees don’t know so that they can figure out how to allocate scarce resources appropriately but more importantly, figure out where resources are being wasted.

Key insight: Knowing what your employees don’t know is equally as important as ensuring they know what they need to know.

What were some of your big takeaways from ASTD 2014? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below or tell us your stories on Twitter

Written by Shum Attygalle

Axonify Team

Author: Axonify Team

Axonify is the world’s first Employee Knowledge Platform. It combines an award-winning approach to microlearning, with innovative knowledge-on-demand capabilities and the entire experience is gamified, driving high levels of participation.


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  1. Mike Kunkle

    Good capture of some top issues in the field, and was great to meet you guys at the show.

    I also heard a bunch about social and mobile, as usual.

    I didn’t hear this as often as I had hoped… but I did hear some “theme-age” (new word, feel free to use it immediately and frequently 😉 around what I call “effective learning systems” (doing more than training events). You guys plug into this really well, with the sustainment offerings you provide. Maybe it seemed too self-serving for you to include it, but it needs to be said more in our profession. Companies waste far too much money on training that will not or does not make a real world impact, because there’s no strategy for transfer. Of course, without the right content, it doesn’t matter if it transfers, so there really are a few required building blocks to make it work: the right content, good learning design, manager engagement, planned transfer, coaching excellence, metrics and measures, performance management, and an integrated and aligned change plan, to ensure the needed behavior changes stick in place, after they transfer.

    I spoke about that at ICE 2013, last year, and at TRAINING 2014 in January… for anyone interested, the slides are at

    Stay the course on keeping learning alive!

    Reply May 30, 2014 at 6:38 pm
    • Shum Attygalle

      The themeage of the following comment is one of “thanks”: Thanks so much for the comment Mike, it was a pleasure meeting you as well. Just shared your presentation on Twitter and could not agree more with your thoughts around a lack of strategy for transfer. Thanks again for sharing that and for being such a strong advocate for effective learning systems!

      May 30, 2014 at 8:51 pm

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