Learning and reflections from the Learning and Development Conference Asia 2019

Coffee Infused Education

Learning and reflections from the Learning and Development Conference Asia 2019

It was my first learning and development conference that I’ve attended. It was an enriching experience where I understood the different functions of learning and development in 2 days. Here are some of my learning points


Find your purpose

People are motivated when they first join the organisation, with lots of exciting things that they want to experiment and try. During the first few months that an employee gets onboard the organisation, it’s important to consider that personalised learning plan works more effectively when we provide clear career path for people. Most of us generally need that sense of belonging to what we do. We need to know that the work we do have a significant impact for the organization and help make the world a better place.

Ms. Tricia Duran, Head of Human Resources, Unilever Asia brought in the learning culture of Unilever, which was an inspiration to me as they build the organization around purposes in helping the world become a better place. The example used was how the act of washing your hands can help reduce pneumonia and diarrhoea. They had a wide array of initiatives to drive learning and development of their employees, including management trainee programme, the four acres campus to drive leadership development and also purposeful workshops.

In the area of talent management, the example quoted by Marriott hotel that discusses the increasing the marketability of the individual, don’t constrain the individual of the talent management programme according to the roles. Individuals now look forward to diverse roles in their career progression. 


Digital transformation of the modern learner

A.I. became an asset thanks to the advancements of computing power, data and storage capacity. It is now essential for L&D and HR to find out where business pain points are, through machine learning.  Jean from Shopee used machine learning to make informed decisions for their managers and how she used various formal and informal formats(dialogues, discussions) to collect data. 

Collaboration with stakeholders to make a business impact is far more important at this age as the world progresses rapidly and businesses need to meet growing demands. Mr. Gary Lee, Global Head, People & Organisational Development from WS Audiology shared insights on how he collaborated with business leaders to drive learning and development, provide rewards and recognition for the effort that was put in.  Give ownership to the line managers who understand the business issues and support them whenever necessary.


iHRP introducing their online App

Throughout several presentations, I been hearing e-learning and saw various collaboration apps used for their own organisations. Dr. Goh Mui Pong, Deputy Director from the Monetary Authority of Singapore(MAS) cited examples such as learn@IBF where bite-sized modules are available for employees to understand the regulatory framework within the organisation. In addition, MAS along with Marriott hotel also provided access to online onboarding programmes for their new employees. Unilever was using platforms such as Degreed for their employees to learn on the go. Mr. John Augustine Ong, Head of Learning & Development, Singapore Exchange showcased Workplace(by Facebook) as a Social learning platform to bring employees to a community of practice.


  • The same HR trends presented 10 years ago are still pretty much the same now.
  • Customised training doesn’t work anymore, it’s now about personalised learning pathways. Employees learn in different modes and have different interest and needs.
  • Influencer strategy to motivate employees to learn and develop themselves. E.g. Follow what the CFO in the organisation learns!
  • People looking for impact on L&D and drive business results
  • People’s purpose changes over a period of time and in different stages in life.
  • Digital-first approach, all knowledge-based information is kept strictly online. It was repeated several times throughout presentations across both days.
  • Inclusivity for learning – global recruitment and learning become more prevalent.
  • Fond memories of Lave and Wenger’s situated learning to reinforce the concept of Community of Practice came flowing through my mind again. 


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