LHRCon 2024 Recap

Last week, I attended the Learning and HR Tech Solutions Conference (LHRCon 24). This is the newly rebranded Learning Solutions conference that I have presented at multiple times in the past. I enjoyed seeing so many old friends, meeting people in person for the first time, and making new connections.

Kortney Ross and Christy Tucker standing in front of the LHRCon sign
Kortney Ross and I in front of the LHRCon sign

Morning Buzz: Designing and Developing Scenarios

I led a Morning Buzz session on the first day about scenarios. I always start these conversations by asking about challenges people are experiencing with scenarios. Then, I share some of my insights and ask others to share their suggestions. Basically, it’s a collaborative problem-solving discussion. This year, a lot of the conversation revolved around working with SMEs, including getting enough time to do the scenarios (and avoiding last-minute change requests).

The AI Revolution’s Impact on HR & Learning

Maurice Conti

Maurice Conti during his keynote with a slide titled "The Augmented Age"

Maurice Conti’s keynote was my favorite of the conference. He talked about how we’re in an era of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA). We need the toolset, skillset, and mindset to thrive with AI’s disruption.

One of the points that resonated with me was the idea that AI will replace tasks, but for the most part won’t replace entire jobs. Some jobs will disappear, but many more jobs will change and adapt as AI is used for specific tasks within those roles.

Using Gen AI Multimodal Capabilities for Learning Development

Josh Cavalier

Josh Cavalier presenting on multimodal AI

Josh explained how generative AI work with text, images, audio and video (multimodal). Content can be transformed from any of those formats into any other formats (plus some additional options).

Josh did demos of a bunch of different tools in his session. One tool I want to test out again is ElevenLabs. I had tested that out last year and was fairly happy with the results, but they’ve been advancements since then. Josh showed a cool new feature of “speech to speech,” where you can record audio with a bunch of emotion, pauses, etc., and transform it to one of the AI voices. I could use that for characters in scenarios sometimes.

Generative AI for Unique and Original L&D Imagery

Leo Rodman

I’ve followed Leo Rodman on LinkedIn for a while, and I appreciate his posts comparing the results with different AI image generation tools. Among other tools, he recommended Leonardo.ai for image generation, which was new to me.

Leo noted that the quality of images degrades when you use more tokens, so more complex image prompts are more likely to have flaws. Sometimes flat illustrations may be easier to get accurate images because the textures don’t require the tool to work so hard. None of the AI image tools are good at counting (try asking any AI image generator for “10 people singing” and see how many people you get). Midjourney is less accurate in following instructions with phrases because it splits individual words into separate tokens.

The Power of Personal Narratives in Leadership Development

Hadiya Nuriddin

Hadiya Nuriddin presenting

I always love hearing Hadiya speak; she has such a conversational presentation style. Hadiya explained how understanding your own story can help you to be a better leader and nurture empathy.

Narratives should have a structure.

  • Admission of a gap
  • “Aha moment”
  • Meaning/impact (something changed, so what?)

Meaning-making separates storytelling from just telling stories.

Influence and Inspire: A New Approach to Behavioral Dynamics

Tali Sharot

This was the second keynote of Day 1 of the conference. It was an interesting presentation with a lot of research and information, rather than a typical inspirational keynote. She spoke about cognitive biases and ways to counteract them or use them to your advantage. For example, giving people a sense of control, especially during times of change, helps them be happier and more satisfied. Give people a choice (without providing too many options). People rationalize their choices right after making them.

Day 2 Keynote: Harnessing Entrepreneurial Ingenuity in Talent Development

Daymond John

This was more of a classic keynote with Daymond John’s inspirational life story of how he started life in poverty and worked his way into a star on Shark Tank. It was an interesting style for the personal narrative with how he incorporated hip hop music into his storytelling.

DIY Data Visualization

Jen Grimes

Jen Grimes presenting

I really enjoyed Jen’s presentation on data visualization. She outlined a process for creating good data visualization:

  • Plan your story/key takeaway
  • Prototype your chart
  • Polish and declutter

She also shared tips like using preattentive attributes (color, shape) deliberately, following visual conventions, and highlighting critical data.

5 Ways to Automate PM Tasks

Jeff Batt

Jeff Batt outlined 5 scenarios where project managers can automate tasks: project intake forms, project status changes, storyboard reviews, building a PM knowledge base, and tracking course bugs. He explained how to use Zapier to create automated workflows and integrations between different apps like Google Forms, Trello, Airtable, etc. In this session, we also practiced using Zapier’s AI suggestions to streamline automation setup.

Chatbots, Microlearning, and Wherefore Expertise?

Vince Han, Carla Torgerson, and Jane Bozarth

This was a summary of three recent Guild research reports.

  • Vince talked about using chatbots for reinforcement, onboarding, coaching, and performance support.
  • Jane talked about Koreen Pagano’s research on expertise, including how we know if someone is an expert.
  • Carla summarized microlearning research showing benefits for retention, skills acquisition, and confidence.

Zapping Your Way to Automated Learning and Development

Robin Sargent

Robin Sargent and I met for the first time at the Expo

This was my second session of the day about using Zapier to automate tasks. This is an area where I have done very little for my own work, but there are plenty of possibilities to improve my efficiency and avoid manual tasks even in my one-person business.

Robin shared her process for identifying tasks to automate: determine trigger, action, set up integrations, test, and document. Her session included a lot of examples of automation use cases like course registrations, compliance training, certificate generation, onboarding, grading, etc. She has over 1000 “zaps” (automations) to help run her own business at scale with only a handful of employees.

SolutionFest

Instead of DemoFest as they have done in the past, this year it was a “SolutionFest” with some demos but no voting for a winner in various categories. It was a good opportunity to chat and network with folks in the evening. I was glad to meet Markus Bernhardt in person and to hang out with Jen Grimes and Hadiya Nurridin. I didn’t get pictures, but I also chatted with Garima Gupta, Tricia Ransom, Kevin Thorn, Tracy Parish, and others.

Generating Plausible Choices and Consequences for Scenarios with AI Tools

My session was in the very last block before the final panel at the end of the conference. This was a hands-on BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) session where participants practiced using tools like ChatGPT and Claude for branching scenarios. I provided prompts for brainstorming story ideas, generating draft questions and choices, and showing the consequences and effects of choices. Those are all places where people can get stuck in the process of creating branching scenarios, and LLMs (Large Language Models) like ChatGPT can help you get “unstuck.”

One of the key points in my session is that AI can be great for generating ideas, but it works best when you do a lot of back and forth to guide it and refine the results. While I provided prompts for them to start with, I also showed how to prompt to get more specific results. If you already have partial information from your SME or other analysis, you can incorporate that into the prompt so you get better results. In my experience, this is less about getting a perfect or perfectly structured prompt and more about giving the AI information and limits, reviewing the responses, and refining it. And of course, any AI output needs to be reviewed by a human.

Meeting old and new friends

I really enjoyed my time in Orlando meeting with old friends and making new ones. It was lovely to finally meet Karin Rex in person after having known her online for over 10 years. (I have live blogged notes from a webinar of Karin’s that I attended in 2014!)

Thank you to Chris Paxton McMillan, Jen Grimes, and Kortney Ross for taking pictures during my session. I can always use more photos of me presenting!

Christy Tucker and Karin Rex

The only other in-person conference I have scheduled for this year is DevLearn, where I’ll be running another hands-on session on writing mini-scenarios for assessment. I hope to see some of you there!

Past Conference Recaps

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