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Cobblestone Learning host their first annual ConnectED event for L&D professionals

In Press Releases by Eoin O'Neill

On 26th October 2023, in The Alex Hotel in the heart of Dublin on Fenian street, Cobblestone Learning hosted their first ever ConnectED event for their clients and partners. Learning and development professionals from varying industries came together to share their insights on creating effective and memorable experiences for their learners. The event came from Cobblestone Learning examining their core values, Growth, Learning, Mastery, Innovation, and wanting them to be more than just words. They didn’t just want these to be internal values, but ones that they share with everyone they do business with. By connecting customers with each other, Cobblestone Learning can ensure that each customer has equal opportunity to grow and learn about the latest and most innovative developments.
“We wanted to connect with our customers, but also offer the opportunity for you to network with each other, build relationships, develop skills and share what you’ve been doing over time.”
Sean Delaney
Founder, Cobblestone Learning

ConnectED 2023 began with a panel discussion on recently completed eLearning projects hosted by Sean Delaney and featuring Kay Maguire (Learning and Development Manager, Coillte), Peter Slattery (Project Manager, Farm Family CPD), and Mark Murray (Assistant Principal – Learning and Development, Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine). One of the main takeaways from this discussion, that transcended their respective industries, was that, to be effective and engaging, eLearning needs to be genuine and reflective of the target audience. This cannot be done without understanding your learners and their learning needs.
Mark Murray from Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine speaking during the first ConnectED Panel Discussion
“We’re not trying to be flash; we’re not trying to be sophisticated; we’re not trying to be salespeople. Every module has a genuine feel to it and that shines through. Sincerity is the best form of engagement.”
Mark Murray
Assistant Principal – L&D, DAFM
Peter Slattery added to this as he spoke about lived experiences in learning and past reluctance shown from learners taking courses that they felt have been dictated to them from an authoritative body.
“Well intentioned and all as it was, the authority effect; people had fatigue of that. So, when we were doing our discovery and initial project research, it became clear that, because this isn’t a business where you can manage people on an LMS, do check ins, and follow up with emails, the only way to get engagement with it was; it had to be real.”
Peter Slattery
Project Manager, Farm Family CPD
Peter Slattery from Farm Family CPD speaking at ConnectED 2023
Kay Maguire touched on managing learner fatigue in the remote working world while rolling out lots of training. They have found that making training role specific and keeping refresher courses short has been a great help in maintaining learner attention.
Kay Maguire from Coillte speaking at ConnectED 2023
“Not everybody does every eLearning course. It depends on the role you have; what is assigned to you and what is critical to the role that you’re carrying out. This allows us to curtail how many courses are assigned to you. The second thing was to look at the length and format of the courses. Microlearning is a big piece now. We worked with Cobblestone to make refresher courses concise, short, and fun.”
Kay Maguire
L&D Manager, Coillte
The day continued with a series of lightning talks from Cobblestone Learning team members, speaking on accessibility in eLearning, using our recent DESSA project as an example, and gamified learning. As well as these, Ian O’Keefe (Technology Lead, Learnovate) gave a thought-provoking presentation on generative AI generally and in the context of workplace learning.
“How do we use this technology in a more intelligent way? How do we use it to really empower learning experiences and not just to get access to information quickly? These generative AI tools are very eager to give us an answer… Every time we have an information need, we get some sort of an answer back. And from a learning perspective, is that really the right approach? Sometimes, the best strategy is to not give and answer at all to challenge the learner.”
Ian O’Keefe
Technology Lead, Learnovate
Ian O Keefe from Learnovate speaking on AI in learning and development at ConnectED 2023
The final panel discussion was all about the effectiveness of animation in eLearning, specifically about communicating difficult concepts or topics. This panel featured Valerie Smith (Public Engagement Lead, Irish Hospice Foundation) who worked with Cobblestone Learning to create animated explainer videos around topics like palliative and end of life care, as well as, bereavement support.
Valerie Smith speaking on animation in eLearning at ConnectED 2023
“It’s a hard topic but if you can bring in a lightness to it, it kind of settles people while having the seriousness of the topic. It was so accessible, and it explained things so well. It was really easy to take in really hard information.”
Valerie Smith
Public Engagement Lead, IHF

The day ended with showcases from the Cobblestone Learning team around their latest innovations in AI, VR, animation, and accessibility, while giving people the chance to network and make lasting connections. All in all, it was a terrific success and cemented itself a position in next year’s calendar.

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