Reflections from Totara User Conference 2017

I was honoured to be asked to keynote and attend the inaugural Totara User Conference in Wellington, New Zealand on Tuesday, April 10th 2017.

Sharing our learning at the Totara User Conference

The focus for the two-day conference was sharing our learning. My keynote titled Embrace Explore Enjoy was aimed at getting delegates to tap into the power of social media. And how it can be used as a learning and professional development tool – something we shout about a lot in our social learning guide. The aim was to set the scene for the rest of the day, and beyond, on how we can all start to share and interact with each other a little better.

We all start as eggs 

My journey into social media commenced over 8 years ago when I first joined Twitter as an “egg” (the default avatar for those that don’t upload a profile pic). This journey commenced with an embracing of the medium before me and then exploring what it had to offer. Once I had overcome these two hurdles (and learning to make the most of that oh so precious character limit) I was ready to enjoy – and to this day after all these years – I can truly say I enjoy my social media experiences.

With my keynote ringing in their ears, the Totara User Conference was underway and the sharing had begun. It was interesting to observe people taking notes of the web apps I mentioned (e.g. Anders Pink, Right Relevance and the tips and tricks I recommended, such as using Twitter Lists and Hashtags.

During the breaks I was asked about the tools I use, my view of the future of such tools in learning and how can we best deploy and maximise them in a learning environment. For me, it was a sign that maybe, just maybe, I had managed to move the needle a little and people were feeling confident and comfortable to explore the various platforms for themselves.

The remainder of Day 1 focused on various case studies from different Totara User organisations. The aim of these case studies was to share the learning of those that had explored new components of their Totara LMS, with one or two also drawing on how they had adopted social learning via Totara.

Rachel Page (Headspace) delivered a powerful and engaging case study on how Headspace deploying the social wave of learning, where learners can view and see what other learners are learning, read reviews of learning undertaken by others and even Like and Vote Up or Down the learning they had undertaken.

Social wave learning is an exciting new extension developed by Kineo that is starting to deliver some amazing results. In my opinion, I believe the social wave of learning is on the brink of exploding, as more and more organisations can start to see the benefits.
Overall, the conference was a great initiative from Totara and one that I believe should continue annually.

Providing an opportunity to those that have adopted Totara LMS to gather, interact and share their journey, demonstrate their approach in handling organisational learning challenges and provide a space for them to support each other in crowdsourcing solutions, is a fantastic initiative and one that needs to be applauded and celebrated.

With the ever-increasing use of Totara around the APAC region and the world, I can see this conference as a key “must attend” event for years to come.

There’s so much to cover around social learning and it’s potential, check back to our blog in the next few days as I’ll be exploring further into the topic. In the meantime, I encourage all of you to continue to Embrace, Explore and Enjoy your social learning journey. 

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