ASTD TechKnowledge 2012 Review

What happens in Vegas should never stay in Vegas.  At least not when it’s a learning conference, right?

This year’s ASTD Tech Knowledge 2012 was held at the Rio in Las Vegas, featuring great keynote sessions from Jane McGonigal, Stuart Crabb of Facebook, and Lisa Doyle of the Veterans’ Administration. With a conference programme that was chock full, participants had a tough time deciding which sessions to attend: there were concurrent sessions and creation stations, TK Chats (informal conversation with industry experts on varied topics), and endless hallway conversations.

Over 1,400 practitioners and managers from all around the world gathered to learn ways to better handle current challenges, while generating ideas and strategies for technologies coming down the road. Mobile, no longer a future technology, is here and now with hands-on design sessions and strategic planning workshops. Virtual classroom training, its own conference track, had quite a number of focused sessions on providing tips for running more effective online classrooms. “Social learning” seemed like less of a buzzword and more of an integrated thing that we all naturally do—or should do. Elearning design, always a key focus at this conference, didn’t disappoint with a large number of sessions and hands-on workshops devoted to better use of tools and more creative design strategies.

The Expo was generally packed, with more buzz than we’ve seen in years past at ASTD TK. Lots of tool vendors, including those offering up their mobile wares.  Yammer even had a booth – a new presence at an elearning conference.

Here are a few more highlights from our days in the sun:


Talking authoring tools and HTML5 at TK Chat with Dave Anderson of Articulate, Patrick Krekelberg of Allen Interactions, Thomas Toth and Judy Unrein.

This year’s TK Chat sessions ran the gamut, with particularly hot topics around Social Learning, Gamification and tools.


Kineo was onscreen as-large-as-life every time we walked past the Adobe Booth, where they had a Kineo Captivate project running on endless loop.
Although Kineo’s Managing Director Steve Rayson was in London at the Learning Technologies conference, there he is on the screen behind Adobe’s Allen Partridge. Kind of a fancy magic trick, eh?


This year was the second annual Monsters of Instructional Design TK Chat with esteemed ID professors: Steve Villachica (Boise State), Allison Rossett (SDSU), Karl Kapp (Bloomsburg), and Ellen Wagner (Sage Road Solutions).

Kineo’s Cammy Bean led a session with these esteemed professors as they talked about the disconnect between many ID programs and the demands of the industry, and tried to resolve the big problems of the biz – like trying to hire talented professionals well-versed in the whole elearning professionals pie: the Science of Learning, the Art of Learning, the Technology of Learning, and the Business of Learning.


Thursday’s general session was keynoted by Stuart Crabb, head of learning at Facebook.

With over 70% of Facebook employees born since 1979, they’ve got some different cultural challenges than a lot of orgs. Perhaps a picture of the way things will be?

Cammy took it as an opportunity to go all meta and posted to Facebook while listening to Stu talk about Facebook.

Concurrent Sessions

Steve Lowenthal, CEO of Kineo US, co-presented with Dale Wallace of ARAMARK, a case study on blended learning at ARAMARK

Cammy hosted a lively session on “Yawn Proofing Your Elearning” in which she shared loads of tips and elearning examples. (There’s a recording of a session she did in early January for ASTD if you missed it.)


In her role as chairperson of this year’s Planning Advisory Committee for TK12, Cammy had the honor of emceeing all the general sessions. 
(Photo credit: Kris Rockwell, @hybridkris)

Here she is looking particularly passionate about something. Either that or she’s ready to break into song – it was Vegas after all.  

Cammy’s blogged most of the sessions she went to, so if you’re of a mind to dig deeper jump on in:

For more conference resources, be sure to check out David Kelly’s Curated Resources from ASTD TK12.

All in all, a great conference! We hope to see you there next year!


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