5 Sessions You Won’t Want to Miss at COGNITION 2021

5 Sessions Not to Miss at COGNITION 2021
Mike Daecher
September 17, 2021

We’re just days away from COGNITION 2021, Thought Industries’ annual and virtual event boasting over 500 leaders in the customer education and professional learning space. The agenda this year brings over 30 track sessions across 4 main tracks: The Business of Learning, The Design of Learning, The Impact of Learning, and the Technology of Learning. Within each of these tracks, you’ll have the chance to join live, interactive discussions, workshops, and more, all with the goal of sharing strategies and best practices for customer learning.

The COGNITION conference, from September 21-23, is your opportunity to join the customer education community and learn from the groundbreaking leaders in the industry, including a few sessions our organizers are especially excited about. Check out these five can’t-miss sessions you’ll find on the COGNITION 2021 agenda:

From Zero to LXP

Session Time: 

Tuesday, September 21, 5:15pm ET


  • Ben Zimmer, President at Enable Education
  • Gretchen Edelmon, Principal Product Owner, Digital Learning Experience at NI

For organizations using traditional, static means to host their learning content, the concept of moving to an integrated Learning Experience Platform (LXP) may seem daunting, or too steep a jump – but the benefits are key to taking your learning program to the next level. From  discovery portals, to interactive learning content, to superior customer personalization, and even to gamification and badging, working without an LXP leaves you at a significant disadvantage. While you might think it’s about using the latest technology, it’s really about experience. 

In this session, NI and their development partner, Enable Education, will cover key evolution points that helped them build their current learning ecosystem, explaining how each point helped build momentum, achieve success over time, and serve the needs of some truly diverse department audiences. 

And, they’ll share the lessons learned from going through these key pivot points, including keeping people engaged in the growth of this program. This exciting session will be an open, honest conversation about the challenges, successes, and evolution of a decade-long partnership.

Learning in the Flow of Work

Session Time: 

Wednesday, September 22, 2:45pm ET


  • Kristine Kukich, Oracle University Senior Principal Instructor & Cloud Delivery Lead at Oracle

Kristine Kukich, Senior Principal Instructor and Cloud Delivery Lead for the HCM suite of products at Oracle University, has built an extensive career in customer education that has influenced thousands of students in SaaS talent management products. She’s gained specialized experience in the art of managing learning (and learning programs) that scale with organizational growth.

In Kristine’s session, she’ll drill down into the concept of just-in-time (or JIT) learning strategy, and how it functions in the context of today’s environment. She’ll explore the concept of training modalities, and how to combine them with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

This exciting session will leave us with exciting ideas about the future, and how it can impact the business of customer education. You’ll learn how to define the flow of work for your product, you’ll get to know the types of artificial intelligence available, and you’ll get started with building your own plan to leverage AI in your program.

How Learning Design Must Evolve

Session Time: 

Thursday, September 23, 12:15pm ET



  • Richard Banfield, VP, Design Transformation at InVision

In this exciting session, Richard Banfield, Vice President of Workplace Transformation at InVision, will host a panel of deeply innovative learning design experts to explore how learning models and approaches must evolve to keep up. As the world (not to mention the organizations where we work) become increasingly more complex, how do we design and deliver learning experiences that remain simple, engaging, and focused?

Especially after the dramatic move toward digital transformation in the last year, organizations have no choice but to consider how modernization of processes, technology, and workplace factors will impact customer learning programs in the future.

You’ll walk away from this session with a snapshot of the factors in today’s world that make learning difficult, the perspectives of our expert panel on which strategies will deliver exceptional learning experiences, as well as several intriguing questions to keep in mind as we move toward the future of learning.

The Education Flywheel: How to Scale Customer Learning for SaaS Businesses

Session Time: 

Thursday, September 23, 1:30pm ET


  • Dave Derington, Senior Manager of Customer Education at Outreach, Co-Founder of the CELabs Podcast at CE Labs

An alumni of our COGNITION events, Dave Derington last joined us in 2020 along with Adam Avramescu, sharing their “Customer Education Manifesto:” six principles that set customer education programs up for success in the long term.

But how does it work? And how do customer education programs really scale and sustain themselves to reach maximum business impact? In this session, Dave comes back to answer these questions and more, presenting a different way of thinking about how we collaborate. 

Building educational content is not a siloed activity, but as businesses grow – particularly in hyper-growth companies – many organizational perils and pitfalls begin to emerge. We begin to compete with other teams for attention, resources, and time.

Instead of battling against these tricky scenarios, Dave will expand on his concept of education as an “engine,” which, when aligned to your product development timeline, allows go-to-market teams to much more effectively partner across departmental lines to discover, refine, and deliver knowledge of how to use our products and services… with less frustration and higher velocities.

This enlightening session will discuss common experiences and share practical examples of how to put this “engine” into practice.

The 5 Pillars to Marketing and Pricing Your Learning Content

Session Time: 

Thursday, September 23, 2:45pm ET


  • Cary Self, Global VP of Education & Program Development at CustomerGauge
  • Tad Goltra, VP, Product Management at EBSCO
  • Christopher Nekvinda, PhD, Senior VP, Director & Global Learning Operations at Cannon Financial Institute


Marketing and pricing your learning content is often seen as a separate task from the creation of educational content, an issue that’s often handed to marketing or sales teams, or tacked on to your learning content strategy after the content is built and published. However, if you’re not thinking about how you’re going to market and price your learning content at the earliest possible stages – including in the architecture and strategy phase – you’re risking doing all that hard work for nothing. 

John Leh, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning, a fiercely independent learning technology research and consulting firm devoted to helping organizations of all sizes choose and use modern LMS solutions for their unique business needs, moderates this session on how best to plan for all aspects of marketing and pricing.

According to research from the Chapman Alliance, even rapid development of simple eLearning starts at about 50 hours of work for a single hour of content. To make all of that effort and all of those resources worthwhile, companies need a focused plan on how to market, price, and sell their learning content. The framework shared in this session is split into five key pillars that will help you to increase your margins and extend the profitability of learning at scale:

  1. Product
  2. Packaging
  3. Pricing
  4. Merchandising
  5. Marketing

This exciting session will boost your understanding of all aspects of marketing and pricing engaging content, so you can optimize your sales through learning product packaging and pricing strategies, leverage marketing and promotional tactics to drive continual interest, market awareness, and performance, and partner with cross-functional teams in order to maximize and sustain customer value.

These five sessions are exciting, but all of the featured speakers in our COGNITION 2021 lineup will bring something innovative, modern, and thought-provoking at the conference next week. You’ll hear from the industry’s top experts on everything from moment-of-need learning, to the pivot to virtual content, to monetization, and much more. 

Register NOW for your spot in these exciting customer learning sessions.

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