Planning Your Time at Learning Solutions – Heidi Matthews

This guest post from Heidi Matthews, a speaker at Learning Solutions 2019 and a Guild Ambassador, shares show she likes planning her time at the event to get the most out of her experience.

A few years ago, I was laid off after being at a company for nine years. Learning Solutions was already paid for except for the hotel so I went. It was life-changing. I had been participating in #lrnchat on Thursday nights. It was those same people who were also attending that helped me find my confidence that week and begin to find a new path. Learning Solutions was the beginning of my personal learning network. People I met there were who I shared my first really awful eLearning attempts for feedback. They are still the people with whom I bounce ideas, ask questions of, and connect with online. Learning Solutions is a right-sized conference. I’d like to share some of the things I do to make it the right learning experience for me.

Heidi's sketchnote summary of this article.Planning

I don’t just show up. I do a small sketchmap (my odd combo of mind mapping and sketchnotes) to think through my goals in attending. My company is implementing a new LMS this year. We are moving from an antique to a cloud-based system with all the bells and whistles. I am looking at sessions that will help me understand the new possibilities, handle the huge change curve our employees will experience, and examples of practical applications of mobile. I will choose sessions to align with those goals. My expo time will also align with those goals and for a little curiosity shopping.


Connecting with new people and seeing my friends is one of the most looked forward to things for me. There is so much additional learning at conferences from the people you sit next to, chat with, and exchange info so you can continue the conversation via social media, email, and calls. This means I must crawl out of bed, grab a large cup of coffee, and go to Morning Buzz. These casual discussions while surrounded by perky morning people and others who like me are trying to wake up are a bonus of Learning Solutions. Lots of ideas and the beginnings of conversations you will have with others later begin here. The other don’t miss opportunity outside of your sessions is DemoFest. I am stoked that this year my journalism student daughter will be with me for this on a free expo pass. While I get ideas for cool things my staff can dig into when I get back, I am hoping she sees how her awesome video editing skills could be used in other applications (like a summer job perhaps?). Honestly, do not miss this. Your head could explode from the wonderment of seeing all the things your professional colleagues show at this special conference event.

What to bring

I am presenting for the first time this year. Stop by. I have some ideas involving collaborative games and art museums you can use to develop yourself or your team. Because of this, I will have my laptop. Because Learning Solutions has a lot of sessions that give you the opportunity to learn along with the facilitator on your laptop, you might want yours too. I will be the one with a sketch pad, colored pens, and my phone for quick tweets in comfy shoes (my conference must). I also usually have band-aids to share with those that maybe made a poor shoe choice and business cards to connect with you later when your brain has settled down a bit.

Learning Solutions can give you a good brain buzz if you plan and commit to connecting with others. See you there.

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