Learning and Skills Group 2011 – Our Twitter Report

We were too busy to attend the Learning & Skills Group event this week, but just to prove how keen we were to follow the action we decided to do a review via Twitter. We have also provided our top ten tips for those of you tweeting from an event, since most of us spend as much time tweeting from events as we do participating in them.

The first task we had was to track down the hashtag (#) for the event, not as easy as it seems when the hashtag is not on the official website. Still we knew a few friends that would be tweeting and we managed to pick it up ok. The hashtag is critical for those following an event as Twitter creates a nice feed for you.

Someone did post the question: “Lots of people here today, Hash tag not important???”

Luckily Don Taylor replied: “Hash tag not important???” hash tag vital! But second to fire drill.

For those of us outside the live event, the hashtag is critical and gives us an insight into the event. At one session 56% of people said they used Twitter, an oddly precise figure, but it meant many people would tweet about the event and give us an insight into the key learning. Below is our review based on the Twitter feed including pictures and slides which were made available as links in the feed.

It was clearly a busy and extensive event as someone tweeted early on: “the biggest problem today - not being able to attend every session!”

It was great to see people summarise key points in their tweets. Some users referenced the session they were in whereas others just captured the key points. Referencing the session or person speaking was very helpful as where an event has multiple sessions taking place it is easier to follow a specific session. One person helpfully summed up the day by referencing two key concepts, namely "curating learners" and "learning architect”.

These were clearly strong themes as they were picked up in many tweets, particularly the concept of curating learners rather than content. Someone commented: “Content is getting a really tough time today. Apparently it's all about us and how we interact and how we are led and directed".

Key learning from the day

The following were key learning points which stood out for us from reviewing comments. Interestingly a number of these were captured many times by different people, so clearly the messages were getting across - or being retweeted at least.

One of the key themes was the important role that learning plays in the organisation’s success - An organisation’s ability to change behaviour through learning is the only sustainable competitive advantage in the knowledge economy. There was strong feeling that learning and development must break free of HR in order to take its rightful place at the heart of organisational strategy.

In terms of learning design, key lessons were:

  • The most important thing is not to give answers but give questions to learners.
  • Successful change is 5% vision, 45% implementation and 50% people.
  • Donald Clark argued that we continue to pad out courses resulting on cognitive overload and it’s counterproductive: less is more. See more (or do we mean less) on that in our Top Tip this month.
  • Make it relevant andculturally appropriate.
  • Challenge learners. There was much agreement that we should be ruthless in this aspect.

There was lots of feedback on Donald Clark’s session including his observations that”social media can be a weapon of mass distraction” and “most compliance training is to keep CEO out of prison.”

In addition to the many references to Clive Shepherd’s Learning Architect session was the observation in his session that mobile learning becomes mobile on-demand training/reference. Active reflection came across strongly as a theme including comments from Clive Shepherd and Charles Jennings.

Charles commented that good learning was:

  • Experience
  • Practice
  • Conversation
  • Reflection

It was noted that a key part of being a manager is developing a team. Many middle managers do not do this because they don't know how. Learning systems must be flexible & adaptive at the core, as they need to support fluid organisations that are changing constantly.

Observations as a Twitter attendee

What was really valuable were the people who posted links direct to slides and movies. This enables those following to actually see the slides along with the feedback from people in the room via the Twitter feed.

The best presentation we saw was this one named Information is Beautiful.. Do watch this, it really shows how you can get information across in a simple but powerful way: Information is Beautiful

It was helpful to get a sense of the event through the posting of pictures, you can see one here: Twitter pics.

Laura Overton helpfully observed that 40% of presenters have been through the Towards Maturity Benchmark! You can join them here.

Top Tips for Tweeting an event

Here are our top tips:

  1. Event organisers promote the hashtag
  2. Attendees use the hashtag
  3. Reference the speaker or session you are tweeting from
  4. Highlight key learning points
  5. Note key trends
  6. Observe feedback from the room
  7. Provide direct quotes, concise wisdom
  8. Highlight top tips; we all love tips
  9. Speakers load your slides to Slideshare or YouTube and share these
  10. Attendees post links and pictures

See you at the next one – we look forward to tweeting from our Articulate Event and Totara Event in September 2011.