ASTD TechKnowledge 2011 Review

astd techknowledge 2011Learning conferences present us with wonderful opportunities to take the professional zeitgeist and connect with the pulse of what’s really happening in the trenches of learning and development.

From February 2-4 we were taking the pulse at ASTD’s TechKnowledge 2011: three days in San Jose, CA, focused on the themes of Define, Design and Deliver.

So what’s ticking this year?

Mobile learning is on the move - sort of.

A number of sessions and conversation focused on opportunities in mobile learning. As Clark Quinn.reminded us, mobile learning isn’t about putting traditional elearning on a phone, but rather finding that right intersection between training and performance support.

The tool vendors have started to display their shiny mobile wares—publish this to your iPad or iPhone!—but we’re mostly seeing bandaids and first generation uses rather than optimal solutions.

Although organisations and designers can smell it in the air, there seem to be more questions than answers or examples right now. Most practitioners haven’t even started dipping their toes in the water. We sound a few more notes of caution about devices and app approaches in our Market Update this month.

The one-stop-shop

In our very own Cammy Bean’s session on using scenarios to create more engaging elearning, more than half of the 200+ participants identified themselves as “one-stop-shops” – practitioners who do the ID, graphics, build, and QA. Maybe it was the type of session in particular, or the nature of ASTD, but that’s an interesting snapshot.

Is that your story? How do you manage juggling all those balls while still trying to see around the next curve in the bend? And of course, let us know if we can help…

Increasing pressure on learning design

With the advent of mobile learning, the focus on social media, the talk of games and virtual worlds continuing, learning designers are starting to feel a lot of pressure, especially in these one-stop-shops. The big question designers seem to be asking: “How am I supposed to do all of that?!”

As Cammy said in the closing session on the last day of TK11, “That’s fear you see in people’s eyes!” Anders Gronstedt, of the Gronstedt Group then urged the crowd to go out and experience these new technologies so you know what’s out there and what’s coming.

We think the solution is a rather pragmatic one. Yes, expose yourself to as many of the new tools and challenges coming your way and understand what’s possible. But don’t expect that you’ll have to deliver it all yourself. Instead, start raising the business value of these new opportunities through your organisation. Demonstrate these new approaches to learning and training and then point out the potentially different skill sets one will need to effectively design and build to these environments. Create the business value and then build your team beyond the one-stop-shop.

More on TK11

Cammy’s posted her notes from the general sessions on her blog:

Opening remarks from Tony Bingham, President ASTD.

Keynote from Kara Swisher.

Keynote with Karen Wickre and Ann Farmer of Google.

Were you at the show? Want to share more of your thoughts? Join the discussion in our Elearning Professionals LinkedIn group.


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