5 Things To Know from Learning 2019

5 Things To Know from Learning 2019

Members of Second City Works enjoyed a packed three days of learning and development content, got our steps in, and basked in the sunshine at the Woodstock of learning, aka Learning 2019, held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

Not to brag, but we dazzled the crowd of over 1,200 L&D professionals with the world’s most boring opener starring a canister of oatmeal and two non-Disney licensed characters. But the attendees wanted more, so we led two sessions on developing inclusive leaders and storytelling, all while Rachel Miller, our Second City Works emcee, introduced the various speakers and panels throughout the conference.

Opening Entertainment for Learning 2019

If that wasn’t enough (and it was a lot), we attended sessions by other top L&D professionals. Our top takeaways from the event, in no particular order, were:

Tell Your Learners a Story to Boost Engagement

To engage your learner, keynote speaker Sanjay Gupta argues that storytelling is knowledge as contextualized information. Storytelling makes us more curious, more connected, and more compassionate about our work, and opens the pathway to lifelong learning. Design training that takes a storytelling approach to deliver the greatest impact and retention of training material.

Upskill and Reskill the Learner to meet Technology Shifts

Illustration by Bruce Van Patter

Change is happening faster now in the workplace than it ever has before. And with AI, automation, and 5G at the center of the conversation, how can L&D professionals ensure their workforce is ready to deal with the coming change? As panelist Karl Kapp stated, there is an opportunity for the L&D professional to be the hero in the story. While upskilling and reskilling the current workforce, an improv mindset of agility and resilience are crucial to adapting to change and driving performance growth.

Update Your Tools by Incorporating Learner Feedback

E-learning = bad. PowerPoints? Throw them out. And as Bob Mosher taught us, if you dig your training binder out of the back corner of the learner’s desk and run your finger across the top, odds are, your finger will be met with a large layer of dust. Practice active listening and talk to your learner (not about them), session leader Matthew Daniel states, to discover what needs your current training is meeting, and what it is not. Use those insights to design training with the learner at the center and use conversations, not presentations, to engage the learner throughout the entire process.


Attention spans are now shorter than that of a goldfish. Meet your learners where they are to develop short bursts of learning to deliver material. And while it might seem easy to break up an hour-long learning into 5-minute segments, for the greatest impact, start from scratch to develop each microlearning session and then repeat micro trainings throughout the year to ensure the material is contextualized.

Allow Humanity into the Workplace

In a live poll of Learning 2019 attendees, attendees cited that approximately 40% of their learners said Trial and Error was how they learned on the job skills (Bob Mosher, Learning 2019 Tuesday Morning General Session). Allow humanity into the workforce and develop a culture where laughter is accepted, and mistakes are seen as teachable moments. Implement programs for wellness, such as programs designed around breathing and meditation, to ensure the learner’s entire self, not just their work self, is cared for in the workplace.

Curious about how an improv theater can update your training? Contact Us to learn how laughter, storytelling, and change management are skills our facilitators teach to reskill the current workforce.

And if you’re not ready for the plunge, follow us on social @SecondCityWorks to creep on us and see what we’re up to.

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