#DevLearn retrospective: Start dreaming about the future of eLearning

This year more than ever DevLearn addressed the future of eLearning. The message from the keynote by John Landau was that imagination precedes the technique. The stories in movies like Titanic and Avatar were impossible to realize with the techniques available at the time the stories were written. So they created the techniques in order to be able to create the movies. Our current situation is reverse. Thanks to the TinCan API (now renamed into ‘experience API’) the technique is ahead of us (learning developers and vendors). Instead of us challenging the technique, the technique is challenging us. There was another keynote by Allisone Levine at DevLearn. She draws all kind of lessons from her experiences as an adventurer. Unfortunately I was in meetings during her presentation. I stepped in for 5 minutes and heard her say: “Fear is ok. It’s normal. Complacency will kill you. You can’t afford to do nothing in an environment that is rapidly changing.” It applies to us. Our environment is rapidly changing and we need to step up to the challenge and we can’t afford to wait and see. (By the way in the back-channel I found a post by Tracy Parish who has captured a whole bunch of great lessons from that keynote.)

So what to do? It will be a mutual challenge for the people who are developing this standard, for vendors and for eLearning developers. Let’s take a closer look at our challenge.

Our challengers

I took this Photo at the TinCan panel session at DevLearn. The guy sitting on the left is Aron Silvers from ADL. He is the driving force behind the experience API. The third guy is Mike Rustici from Rustici software (the company behind Scorm cloud) the company that developed the TinCan API. They are the ones challenging us. What they did is in principle very simple. They changed the standard from a tracking and tracing system (Scorm) into a learning experience facilitator. All we need to do is to figure out what that means.

The vendors
It is time for the vendors to step up to the challenge and develop solutions that will unleash the power of TinCan for you. It is not about implementing TinCan as an extra publish option; enabling tracking and tracing via a new standard is the easy part. No, we need to facilitate new forms of eLearning where you can include real live activities into your eLearning. We need to come up with forms where learning is centered around experiences instead of  information transfer. It is about connecting learning to the workplace, combining informal and formal learning and all that stuff we have been talking about for years but could never really do in a Scorm course. Another big thing is feedback. TinCan will inform your course on what people are doing and your learning needs to be able to respond to that. The tracking will change in a feed back mechanism that you can use to offer proper learning experiences, real adaptive learning based on real life outcomes. Will this happen in an LMS, in an formal course, or somewhere else? It will probably be a combination of all three. And the truth is that I don’t have the answer. We do have some ideas but we know we can’t figure this out without our partners and the users of our authoring tool.

We are aware of the fact that we as a vendor should engage our users more and start joining forces with them. And we will. A small example is the feedback button we build in, in the latest edition of easygenerator. Any user can click on it and can come up with a suggestion or an idea. All ideas will go direct to our product owner who is responsible for the product development. We will to do more like organizing a series of webinars to discuss the effect of TinCan for eLearning development and open up a community. We plan to have support for TinCan in easygenerator in February and the great thing is, we don’t have a clue how it will look and what it will enable. I’m looking forward to this process and you are all invited to join in.

From eLearning developer to Learning experience director
So what do you need to do? Just follow the advice from John Landau and start dreaming and follow the advice from Allison Levine and start acting. Dream about what it would mean if you can include real life activities (of any kind and in every place) into your learning, what you could do if you can respond to the outcome of these learning experiences from your learner and figure out a first step. Make sure that your vendor enables you, by telling them what you need. Our (vendors and eLearning developers) mutual goal is to come up with so many new ideas that we make guys like Aron and Mike sweat in order to catch up with us.

#Devlearn TinCan panel: #Tincan is rocking our world

I attended the panel discussion on TinCan this morning; great session. I have tried to capture the session in a mind map. It is clear that TinCan is a major change. It is not only a shift from tracking and tracing to enabling learning experiences, it opens op a whole new world of possibilities. We have to redefine what (e)Learning is or could be. Some remarks at the panel triggered me into this observation:

There is a lot of confusion about TinCan and the impact on our (learning people)  day-to-day activities. I believe this is because the TinCan guys invented a combustion engine. And the public is trying to figure out what is means for their every day live. But there are no cars yet, no roads, no gas stations, no drivers licenses so it is hard to imagine what it means. But the vendors are already stepping in and create the cars, roads and gas stations, new learning theories will emerge and it will become clearer in the future. Best suggestion from the panel: Start dreaming of all the new possibilities (what could you do if you had a car, roads and all). Start dreaming and doing it and request (or force) your vendor that they will enable it (in the spirit of the keynote from John Landau.)

In the session it also became more clear what the AICC adoption of TinCan really means. They will develop their standard CMI5 upon the TinCan API, making it an extension of TinCan. And this is big! All the standard dinosaurs are transforming into new agile forms. And this is great news because they will stop creating boundaries for us but instead they will offer us new opportunities to create great learning experiences. These are revolutionary times!

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Devlearn conference day one: an exhilarating day

So we are off to an excellent start with DevLearn. As always at the first day of a guild conference it was an exhilarating day. I was able to attend some sessions and keynotes and talked to lot’s of people. Here is my wrap-up.

I try to spot the emerging trends at conferences like this, for this conference there are two. One is SaaS or cloud based solutions, the other is the future of the Learning Management Systems. Acceptance for cloud based solutions is definitely growing, almost all the vendors have plans in that direction.

TinCan and IACC
The other trend is that the LMS market is changing rapidly. The big thing here is TinCan. I wrote about it before. Yesterday it became even bigger. Before the second keynote there was an extra unplanned presentation by Aron ‘TinCan’ Silver. He showed a video where AICC announced that they will adopt TinCan. I don’t think that the entire audience grasped the meaning of this announcement. We have two main standards in our industry SCORM and IACC, both of them enable us to track and trace results, both of them confine eLearning within the borders of the LMS. TinCan will free us from this, it allows you to track and trace any learning experience, anywhere. I don’t know what the adoption will actually mean but it sounded like TinCan will be the next version of IACC. This leaves us with one standard and but more importantly it ‘frees’ eLearning from the boundaries of the LMS. This really is a big thing and it will affect the way we use any LMS and in the long run it will change the market completely. We will see how this develops, but I’m exited.

Way to reinforce learning
A morning buzz session I attended, presented by Art Kohm. It was about how to improve memory retention.

His story was along the lines of the keynote of last year by John Medina at the Learning Solution conference. The brain filters information (to prevent information overload), in principle you forget the most information that you encounter, you need to reactivate the facts in order to really store them in your brain. He refers to research by Rodigger. His solution is Booster training. Two days after the learning event you have to trigger the information by asking (multiple choice questions). It forces you to retrieve the information and that will enhance the retention. After two weeks you have to do that again. The interesting here is that in this phase he will ask open questions, that not only require retrieval but also processing of the information. I believe that memory retention is a sort of blank area in eLearning, there are some tools but the notion isn’t widely spread. Ans it is important it determines the effectiveness of your Learning experiences.

Brent Schenkler
Brent opened the first session. He is the driving force behind DevLearn, but he has accepted another job. So this conference is his last one. It will be interesting to how this affects future conference. He spoke briefly about all the elements of the conference.

Keynote: John Landau

John is the producer of many movies, the most famous ones are Titanic and Avatar. Great presentation. His message is that the story precede the technique. The technique to shoot the scripts of these movies wasn’t there when the scripts were written. They just developed the techniques they needed. According to him the same goes for eLearning. Make the learning experience leading and then just make it work. Great keynote.

Easygenerator Free edition launch
After the keynote I presented the launch of easygenerators free edition. I had a good turnout and great responses. It is great to see how the story about better eLearning courses catches on. More info at our website, you can register and start working within minutes.

Xtranormal scenarios
I joined this session because I am a scenario based learning fan, but this turned out to be a session about the posibilities of a product that let’s you create animated video’s with Lego images and text to speech voices. Looked ok, but is really not my thing.

Learning objectives concurrent session
My second presentation of the day about learning objectives and how you can use the in many ways, but most importantly how to use them to connect learning to your business goals. I really enjoyed giving this presentation. Good crowd, good responses.

Organizational Learning with agility
A session by Jenet Clarey of Bersin. I was triggered by the term agility. It turned out to be something very different. She was talking about trends in the LMS market. She says that the trend is that it is changing rapidly. The core function of LMS was track and trace and course management. In the ‘Agile LMS’ it is just one of the functions. It grows to become a broad talent management system or even a corporate portal where learning is just a part of. I have two photo’s of interesting slides. I think they tell a large part of the story, again a story about the changing LMS market.

Brian Bushwood, how to scam your way to the top.
This was interesting. He is a ‘sort’ of a magician. But his story turned out to be a marketing story, he told us how he build his internet brand. He is hugely succesfull with his ‘Scam school’ he had great stories how created fake Ibooks and made them top-ten hits in Itunes and his Scam school is very successful. Some of his lessons:

Identify one niche and own it, be first at least in your category or in the minds op people. His niche was internet magician and it is great to hear and see how he made it to the top of his market.
And he is funny:

More to come tomorrow. Make sure you check out the curated backchannel of Devlearn by David Kelly.

Blogging about #DevLearn

I will be leaving for Las Vegas in less than one hour, visiting the eLearning Guilds annual conference. I will try to post a daily blog about my findings. I’m really looking forward to it, last year was great. Great keynotes, interesting concurrent sessions, lots of good conversations and contact and the official launch of easygenerator in the United States. This year looks very promising, I like the line up, attendance will be at a new record (approaching the 2000) and we will launch our free edition. Enough to look forward to.

Some figures
As I said attendance will be close to 2000, but there are more interesting figures to share with you:

10.580 – 6573
The number of kilometers/miles I will travel in the next 21 hours.

6/43 – 28/82
The temperature in the Netherlands (Celcius/Fahrenheid) and the temperature in Las Vegas. From drizzling rain and wind to Las Vegas sunshine!

Easygenerator’s booth number at the expo, please come and check us out.

The number of my concurrent session on Business objectives and Learning Objectives. (Wednesday @ 1.15 PM)

The time (AM) I will present the free edition of easygenerator at the Management Exchange Stage. I will present both on Wednesday and Thursday.

559 – 48
The number of users of our free edition (559) and the number of countries it is being used (48). We are very happy with this numbers. We quietly pre-launched our free edition prior to DevLearn to make sure we could build it up slowly and monitor it closely, in order to ensure a perfect authoring environment. But having 559 users in 48 countries in three weeks time, is clearly beyond our expectations.

Enough numbers, my next post will contain more content and stories and less figures.

My tips for the DevLearn conference in Las Vegas

DevLearn promises to be a great conference this year again.There is a very promising line-up of keynote speakers and other presenters. The eLearning guild has a reputation for inviting surprising key-note speakers and it looks like they have done it again. We have a movie producer, an entertainer, an adventurer, an author and a TV personality.

I’m looking forward to their presentations. I’m curious if they are able to make the connection from their background to eLearning. I also have been checking out the concurrent sessions. Here are some of my picks:

Session 102: Creating an Adaptive Content Deployment Strategy.
One of my other favorite subjects. In this case a case study form Canadian Tyre Corporation.

Session 110: PepsiCo: Bringing Learning to a Mobile Workforce.
Mobile is becoming more and more important. We are past the stage of pilots. Here an operational use case from Pepsi Co.

Session 201: The Evolution of Technology and the Future of Learning.
Presentation by Reuben Toznan on how the changing environment affects learning and learning professionals.

Session 211: Applying the “Flipped Classroom” Model for Business Learning.
I heard about flipped classroom for the first time at the MLearn conference in San Jose, interesting concept. This is a presentation on how to apply this concept in a corporate environment.

Session 303: Michael Allen: A New Agile Model: Leaving ADDIE Behind.
If you have read more post of me you will know that I’m a strong believer of an Agile approach. It’s great that a prominent expert like Allan is advocating this too. Looking forward to this session.

Session 401: Rethinking Learning Design for the 21st Century.
Should be interesting, a presentation on how all the 21th century changes effects learning design and methodologies like ADDIE and Agile.

Session 511: Putting “Design” Back into Instructional Design.
A presentation about designing courses instead of developing them. I couldn’t agree more.

Session 610: Curation: Moving Beyond the Buzzword.
I do believe that curation is one of the roles an eLearning developer should perform in order to stay relevant. This seems to be a very practical session about curation.

Session 611. Designing for Multiple Delivery Modes.
This session is presented by Eric Berg (Lingos). He will address some important issues based on the experiences of the Global giveback competition. From the Lingos organization he has a lot of experience with creating and distributing content across the planet. Should be interesting.

Session 613: Everything You Need to Know about TinCan.
I believe TinCan is the next big thing in eLearning, you need to stay informed!

Session 706: Curation Tools and Applications for Learning. A session by David Kelly (the master of the back channels) a chance to hear about curation from the heart of this development.

If you are not attending DevLearn you can follow it through the back channel or the curated back channel by David Kelly (). I will try to blog about DevLearn every day when I’m there.

If you are present in Las Vegas you might to visit one of my presentations. I will be presenting two times at the Management Xchange Schedule stage in the expo center about the launch of our easygenerator’s free edition (read all about it!) on Wednesday and Thursday at 10. I will also present a concurrent session at Wednesday 1.15 PM (session 204: Supporting Business Objectives with Better Learning Objectives). I wrote a blog post about that last week. And easygenerator is present at the expo with a booth (#421).

Connect learning to the business: Learning objectives and action mapping

I’m preparing my presentation for my concurrent session at DevLearn, Las Vegas. I will present about: Supporting business objectives with better learning objectives. Since only a small part of you will be present there (and even a smaller part will attend), I decided to give you a heads-up.

There is a lot of discussion on the relevance of formal eLearning. The trend is in the direction of workplace learning, social learning, mobile learning, just in time learning and performance support. The role of the formal eLearning courses in these developments is often seen as minimal or is not present at all. I do agree with the trend that wants to connect learning to the workplace. I disagree with the conclusion that eLearning courses shouldn’t be a part of that. Formal learning is an important instrument in changing and developing. There is more to learning than just solving your day-to-day problems. Real change requires insight and training and eLearning courses can and should be a part of this. In order to keep eLearning relevant we need to create better courses, we need to connect these courses to the business goals and we need to prove our added value to the business. That’s what this post and my presentation are about.

Action Mapping
When you are talking about connecting learning to business goals, you are talking about Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping. Basically there are four steps in her approach, see her blog for more details:

  1. Identify the business goal
  2. Identify what people need to do (instead of need to know), translate them into actions
  3. Design a (real world) activity for each action that help people practice each behavior
  4. Identify what people really (really?) need to know, add that information

I really like this. It connects learning to the business goals and it helps you to create eLearning that is based on real situations. It puts the learning experience before the knowledge transfer. And this is all good. What I would like to add is the connection with learning objectives. That is important because:

  • Learning objectives will help you design the course
  • Learning objectives inform the learner on  his goals and progress
  • Learning objectives can make your course and your curriculum adaptive
  • Learning objectives are an ideal way to report results
  • Learning objectives will help you measure and evaluate.

What I propose is action mapping combined with the use of learning objectives.

  1. Identify business goals
  2. Create learning objectives based on these business goals (in terms what people need to do)
  3. Translate the learning objectives into activities
  4. Design your eLearning around these objectives and activities
  5. Inform the learner on his goal and progress
  6. Make courses and curriculum adaptive
  7. Report on the learning objectives
  8. Evaluate the learning objectives in relation to the business goals.

Use the objectives to:

You can write books about each of these steps. I will limit myself to some observations and comments for each step.

Identify business goals
If you start with this step, you might run into a major problem of eLearning development. Very often it is not a problem to identify the business goals, but it is a problem to connect to the people who set these goals. The Learning department is very often not connected to the business or not connected to the right level in the business. You need to solve this if you want a real chance of connecting learning to the business.

Create learning objectives based on these business goals (in terms what people need to do)
Once you have your connection to the business and your business goals you can define your learning objectives. They will describe what people need to be able to do in order to achieve the business goals. In the ideal situation you are part of the process of setting these business goals and you can translate them into your (departments) contribution for a longer period. Separate learning objectives will become different learning experiences. Do a baseline assessment to determine the gap between what people need to be able to do and what they actually can do. This will help you determine what kind of learning intervention you have to create.

Translate the learning objectives into activities
A specific learning experience will most of the times have a limited amount of learning objectives. Translating them into activities is often a challenge; again you need to be connected to the business side of your organization. You probably need to have subject matter experts that are embedded in the business process to help you create these situations.

Create eLearning around these activities; keep the knowledge to a minimum
Activities can be small, just a single activity the learner needs to be able to do. But very often it will be more complex; you will have a scenario that people have to go through in order to experience the ‘real life’ situation. It is important that you select an authoring tool that let you connect these scenario’s and activities to the learning objectives, so you can measure the progress and can report on them.

Inform the learner on his goal and progress
It is important that the learning objectives are visible to the learner in the eLearning course. He needs to know what you expect of him. Equally important is to report progress on these objectives during the learning process. It will be a big help and motivating factor for the learner.

Make courses and curriculum adaptive
If you use learning objectives in a smart way you can create a course that will adapt to the learner. You can offer an individual study advice to either improve knowledge on a weak point or to skip areas that already assess at the desired level. See this link for an example how this is done in easygenerator.

Make sure that your course can report on learning objectives to your LMS. In some adaptive learning management systems you can even create an adaptive curriculum. Based on the outcome of a course the learner will be directed to a relevant next course. This is for example possible when you use a course created in easygenerator in a Learning management system like ANewSpring.

Report on the learning objectives
Through SCORM it is possible to report on the outcome per learner per objective. It is important that your LMS is capable of generating a report on the combined outcome of all the learners and all the objectives. This way you are able to show the effect eLearning has on these objectives and on the business goals. If you did a baseline at the beginning of this reporting period, you will even have a stronger case to really prove the return on investment in eLearning.

Evaluate the learning objectives in relation to the business goals
And then it is time to evaluate.  It is crucial that you are able to do this with the people from the business side that are responsible for achieving the business goals.

I hope to meet a lot of you at DevLearn. This presentation will be concurrent session 204, October 31, 1:15 PM. You can also find me at our booth at the expo (number 241).

Devlearn conference 2011: retrospective

I’m back home after a great DevLearn conference. Looking (and reading) back at the conference there are several things that stick out for me.

This was my second Guild conference (been to Learning Solutions in March) and one thing that really struck me at both conferences is the atmosphere. It’s a world of difference if you compare it to the Online Educa in Berlin or the Learning Solutions in London. Both guild conferences have the feeling of a gathering of peers. I really like that, London and Berlin don’t have that at all.

For easygenerator it was an important conference too. We set out in a very specific direction and this was the first time we could actually find out if it was any good. Well we got that confirmation and more. It will be interesting to see how many leads will convert into customers and hopefully fans in the end.

For me on a professional level the biggest take away is the curation of content. I knew the phenomenon being a user of the sites of Jay Cross and Tony Karrer but up till now I wasn’t really aware of the strategic impact. And it’s something that will affect e-Learning development. It is something we need to take into account in our road map. I do believe that it is not a threat for e-Learning authors but a great change to get a greater and even more meaningful role. I believe that you have to add moderation to curation in order to be effective. I you point me in the direction of a new book that’s helpful, if you tell me what the content and the relevance is, it has a greater value to me. I’m still processing this, but I will definitely come back on this.

It was a great opportunity to network and I did meet and speak with lots of interesting people.

I’m a huge fan of an agile approach (I wrote about that in previous posts) and this was the first e-Learning conference that I heard people talking about it and where presenting on it. That’s great, I really believe that such an agile approach has great advantages over ADDIE and other methods. I hope it catches on. I’m even considering adding support for the agile process to easygenerator. Another point I will come back on.

LINGOs 3.0
The initiative of LINGOs to make learning and education available to everyone in the developing world is really amazing. I really hope that this will succeed.  Another topic I will definitely get back on.

It was a great conference, very valuable from a business perspective and from the perspective as an e-Learning professional. The people, the organization and the facilities where great, the only negative thing I can come up with is the location. O boy, do I hate Vegas.

DevLearn Day 3: the final day of a great week

I started the day with a Morning Buzz session about management and leadership by Michelle Fanfarillo and Bill Harisson. They are from Intel and told us how they try to connect to the business. At Intel learning is a support organization (as always) resorting under HR so they have to work hard to connect to the business. Intel is huge, 96000 people, 200 plus countries, 15 main sites, 10.000 managers. What they did was to give each HR director of a business group a learning consultant. They also have country organizations with a HR director, they got a learning consultant too. They now are setting up a steering committee in order to have a central point of direction.

This is how they manage their managers. I asked them how they manage the increasing needs of individual learners and they told me that they haven’t figured that out yet. The conclusion was don’t work from learning goals but from organization/business goals. Insure access to the business leaders and use a steering committee.

Internet time alliance, Interactive review of DevLearn
The second session I attended was run by the Internet time alliance. All five of them where there. They did a review of the conference results. They gave their findings, showed interviews with conference attendees and asked the people that attended the session. I made a mind map of it:

But the most important insight was the curation of content.

After this I had a final meeting with my colleagues Chris and Steven, they both had to leave.

I had some meetings in the afternoon. One with David Holcombe (president and CEO of the Elaerning guild) and Heidi Fisk (Executive director) about the possibility of an European Guild conference. Conclusion it will happen, the question is when.

But by far the most exiting meeting was with some people of LINGOs. They now support Ngo’s who work in developing countries. Eric Berg came up with a plan to up the stakes a bit, the new goal is to make knowledge and learning available to anyone in developing countries. I just checked how many people live in developing countries and found the following figure: 5,727,771,964 (give or take a few). This is a mind-blowing initiative. If they pull it of it would be worthy of a Nobel Prize. Imagine if all people have access to learning and they could really develop them selves. It would mean less poverty, less hunger, less war, fewer people dying, more people having to chance to a better life. They formed a steering committee that will work out the plan in further detail and Eric has asked me to be part of that committee. I’m very honored that I can be a part of this great plan and I hope that I can contribute to it. I will be writing more about this initiative in the future. Wow!

I have five hours left before I have to pack my bags and go home. I will try to get some sleep before that. For now preliminary conclusion of DevLearn is: it was a great week!

Devlearn conference day 2: curation

I started with a morning buzz session with Jay Cross. He told us how he deals with the information overload that is flooding all of us. The message is simple. You go from push to pull, with RSS feeds you pull information in instead for searching it on the web. The second step is that he uses software (Aggregage) to store, organize and publish the information he pulls in. This way he creates a place where people can go to see his selection of information for certain topics. This means that people are replacing search engines. Instead of looking things up with google you plugin to the knowledge of somebody who is an acknowledged specialist in his field. Jay does this on workingsmarterdaily.com. Another example is the Elearninglearning the site of Tony Karrer. This blog and the easygenerator blog are ‘republished’ or aggregated through that site.

And that covers the keynote of the day too. Steven Rosenbaum presented ‘the future of learning is context’ and his story was an exact copy of Jay’s. Steven calls this ‘curation’ and told us that by publishing (like this blog or a twitter feed) we are all curating information. Funny coincidence to have those two session back to back with exactly the same message.

After the keynote the expo demanded our attention, I wasn’t able to go to other sessions. That is the flip side of being an exhibitor, you are there for others and not for yourself. I wished I was able to clone myself and do both.

The expo has been very good for us we have a ton of leads en the coming weeks will be packed with following up, giving webinars and assisting people who signed up for the 30 day trial. It’s great, it is why we are here.

I also presented on the ‘Emerging technology stage’ together with Marten du Prez of aNewSpring. I showed how you can create individual learning paths within an e-Learning course, he explained how they make it possible to create individual learning paths between courses.  I told how frustrated I got when I was creating e-learning courses. You work from learning objectives and design a course based on that. Then you go into your authoring tool that doesn’t have any support for learning objectives and you loose it all. In stead you end up with a powerpoint like course that reports based on page progress. It turns out , frustration is shared by almost every developer. I compared page progress with giving a car key to somebody and telling them that they have to stick it in the contact of the car for 10 hours and then they will get their drivers license. You don’t do that, why should we approach e-learning like that. By the response I received it seems that we have found a working solution for this problem and that we are adding real value for both the developer and the learner. Michael Allen, the CEO of Allen interactions came over to me in a bar and told me that he loved our approach of learning objectives. That’s another sign that we are on track.

The rest of the day was filled with meetings and working at the booth. I had lunch with Eric Berg, he is the Executive director of Lingos. They are a great organization that supports ngo’s with e-Learning facilities and knowledge, they really make a difference with their work and I’m a fan. Easygenerator is a sponsor of LINGOs, offering easygenerator for free to all associated ngo’s. On a personal title I’m an ambassador for them, trying to gain more support in Europe. I will represent LINGOs at the online Educa. It’s always an inspiration the meet Eric and I’m happy that I can make a contribution to his organization.

We had a quit evening dinner with our team and evaluated the expo and made plans for how to follow all those leads in the best possible way. For us DevLearn is a huge success and we will be back next year at the expo.Yesterday was the last day of the expo so I will have some time to attend sessions today. That and some meetings will fill the last day of the conference.

DevLearn conference Day 1: a hectic day

The actual start of the conference and what a day it turned out to be. It began early at 02.00. I woke up after just two hours of sleep (the jet lag hit me) and I was wide awake. At three I decided to go down to the casino with $100 in my pocket and I played black jack for half an hour. And it paid off.

I’m not a gambler at all. It is my second time in Vegas and it was my second time in a casino. The previous time I won $1200, so it is Las Vegas 0 – Kasper 1700! I went back to my room and did some work, at five I discovered that my colleague Chris was awake to. We went for some coffee and went to the gym.

Then I went to my first session of the day. At Guild conferences you have so-called Morning buzz sessions, they start at 07.15. Crazy initiative, but it works. I went to the session of Charles Jennings in the management track. It was about governance, how do you connect your learning department to the business. His main point was that you should have a sort of board who makes decisions about the ‘What’ of the learning. He told about his experience as a CLO at Reuters where they had a board with business leaders, HR and Learning. He told that he did some research and found that about 50% of the companies have boards like that, but only 12,5% of all companies had business stakeholders in that board. His point is that you should have them. We discussed about the experiences of other attendees and every interesting point was made by Jay Cross. He said that you have to do a performance analysis instead of a training need analysis. That way you can tie the learning better to the business. Sounds logical to me.

Then it was time for the opening and the keynote by Michio Kaku, I had really high expectations because the keynotes I attended at the guild conference in Orlando where of an exceptional high level. He disappointed me. Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist and basically he told us that computers would become so small in 20 years time and so cheap that they would be everywhere (but invisible) and completely change our live. Instead of computers you will have contact lenses that will connect you to the internet and project relevant information into the real world (augmented reality). His talk didn’t bring me any new insights. Clarck Quin made a mindmap of this presentation, so you can check that out.

After the keynote the expo opened and we where flooded by people who wanted to know more about easygenerator. This interest continued until the expo closed (at 7.00), we worked our stand with the four of us and it was hectic. We got great responses and great interest in easygenerator. Hopefully this will lead to loads of new customers.

At 9.30 Bill Brandon published his article about  easygenerator in the Learning Solutions Magazine, great stuff. I will let him interview me any time he wants.

At 12.00 we had a product presentation at the big stage in the expo. It was supposed to be presented by my colleague Chris and Dan Richards (of our US partner Advantage Interactive). But yesterday evening Dan became ill and had to go home. We decided that we would improvise and I got on stage and did a demo of easygenerator. I think it worked out OK.

At 2.45 I had my session on Outcome Learning, there where about 35 people in the audience and I really enjoyed sharing my ideas. It was the first time I presented about this in public and I got good responses. All sessions are evaluated by the audience, it will be interesting to see how I actually did in their eyes. I tried to embed the Prezi, but I didn’t succeed. So here is the link to it.

It was so busy at the stand that I completely missed the second keynote of the day by Tom Koulopoulos. The title was Living and Learning in the cloud. I’m sorry that I missed it. Clarck made another mind map of the presentation. What I understand from the mind map that he focuses on the effect of the cloud on behavior and not on the technique. Sounds interesting enough. I will buy his book and tell you later what his story is.

At the end of the day I was invited to an informal dinner with some interesting people. I enjoyed a good dinner and dito conversation. I was back in my room at 23.00 and dived straight into bed. I woke up at 04.00 and wrote this post. The gym will open at 05.30 I will go there and have a good start of day 2.


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