LSCon Day 3 recap: Free resources, performance support, Quinn and Cathy Davidson

I have attended a number of sessions at day 3 of LSCon, here are my session reports.

Free elearning tools and resources
I attended the morning buzz session of Tracy Parish. She presented (and collected) free elearning resources. Images, tools et cetera. I will not give you an overview. She has an website where everything is listed a must see for everyone who is looking for free stuff. Great work Tracy.

Practical principles for developing an effective performance solution
Presentation by Hillik Harari and Yanay (I love names that are palindromes) Zaguri. Though their solution is limited to performance support (as in online help with applications) they had some interesting notices.

Performance support requires a different mindset than learning. Learning is about behavior change, performance support is about offering the right info at the right time so people can do their job. They presented briefly about a method they call the 360 model:

360 methodIntersting is that Learner, internship and expert has great resemblance with what by Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson presented yesterday. They call it train, transfer and sustain. I also like the very concrete 9 cells of the matrix. Good stuff.

They also explained their 8 principles, here they are:

  1. Do not interfere with performance
  2. Be user sensitive
  3. Have a call for action
  4. Just in time
  5. Content sensitive
  6. Reduce cognitive load
  7. Give user control
  8. Keep it simple

I do think that there are worse rules to live by.

Dragging learning into the 21st century Clark Quinn
Where I found that Clark and his fellows where a bit sour and frustrated when presenting their eLearning manifesto, Clark was at his best today. He painted a picture of where we should go with very concrete steps and overviews. and a ton of cool references to great and interesting books.  You can download his presentation here (if you have access to the elearning guild recourses if not here is a download from my site ls14_906_quinn. I’m not sure if I’m allowed to publish this presentation, but I believe it is a must read for you all.  I will take you through it, see the slides for details.

He started out by asking us how we use our mobile devices to make us more effective and productive. A ton of applications passed by and his conclusion was: “None of them are courses, that is what this presentation is about.”

We used to be able to plan, but that is from the past. The speed of things has increased tremendously. (page 1, slide three). This images shows how we went from a disconnected world, to a connected world and to an integrated world. You need to tap in with the power of the people to keep up. (see his references at page 1 slide 1).

We are not logical beings
Again references to great literature (slide 1 page 2). Then he introduced this model.

LSCON14, Clarck Quinn 1

We we perform a task (action) we will encounter problems (breakdown), you have to come up with a solution (repair) and afterwords reflect on it to make sure you learn your lesson from this breakdown and thing on how you can prevent it from happening again (Reflection). These phases will result in different learning needs: Information need, problem solving and Information update. This three learning needs in detail will give:

LSCON14, Clarck Quinn 2

This is the process we have to support, I believe it will give you some interesting notions if you try to match your learning end performance support to this. Also interesting to compare this model with the one from Mosher and Gottfredson (see my session report). They add training and transfer as phased before sustain, but I do think that if you combine their 5 moments of learning need with this model (Breakdown), you can get even a more detailed and effective model). I will make an attempt, but nor in this post, I have to think and read about it first). Based on the literature list ( see page three), he adds that we need patterns in order to solve problems. He also added a source that is not in the slides: Committee on How People Learn, A Targeted Report for Teachers, Center for Studies on Behavior and Development, National Research Council. I haven’t read it yet, but I will.

So what to do?
I tried to capture his advice:

  1. Stop using classrooms (formal learning) as the only solution
  2. Find more effective ways
    • Use your network, involve more people through the social media
    • Go into performance support
    • Use the least assistance support approach (less is better
  3. Go from elearning to eperformance

Or in his words:

Social first, performance second and formal as a last resort.

Start doing it even when it is just a small thing because “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, so don’t make a plan, just do it. Be aware of the learning (and forgetting curves) page 5, slide 2. Clark also states that we are on our way to Web 3.0. Web 1.0 was about producer generated content, 2.0 about user generated content, 3.0 will be system generated content. Based on patterns, time and additional information the web will start offering you info. Things like Google now, that alerts you for a traffic jam on your route to work, while you are sitting at home eating you breakfast and without asking for it. Don’t forget to check the literature list (page 8 to 10) all of them are a must read.

Now you see it
Keynote by Cathy Davidson. Her subtitle is: How the brain science of attention will transform the way we live, work and learn. She started with the video of Gorilla in the Midst. If you don’t know it first.

The point is that we have selective attention.When you are focused on one thing you will not see other things, she calls this “Attention and change blindness”. Especially in the modern world there are so many things competing for your attention. On top of that we designed our schools and businesses for the last century (the learning needs from the industrial revolution), and not for a world in which technology has reshaped the way we think and learn. I have to say that her analysis came across perfectly, but from her presentation I didn’t got a full picture on what we should do instead let alone how we should achieve that. I did got a bunch of one liners:

  • We need to be more collaborative,
  • problem solving oriented
  • be creative and relevant in our teaching, learning and work
  • Use different perspectives
  • Unlearning (accept that you have to forget and learn new things instead because the world has changed)
  • Use different perspectives
  • Learning is victory (not the setup for failure with exams as we do know, but a chance to ‘earn a belt’)

Probably there is much more, but I guess that I have to read her book in order to get that. Maybe later…

Other posts on LSCon:

Getting ready for #LSCON

Next week is the Learning Solution Conference in Orlando. I will go there for the fourth year in a row. It is probably my most favorite conference (at my least favorite place).


This year it will be extra fun, easygenerator does’t have a booth there (we moved all our marketing online), so I will be able to attend a lot of sessions and blog on them. As part of my preparation I always go through the conference app, and I check out all the sessions and add all possibly interesting sessions to my schedule, I have selected over 30 sessions in the first run! A lot of them will be at the same time slots, so I will not attend all them all. But it is interesting to see what is there, I’m always looking for trends.

As keynotes we have:

  1. Soren Kaplan – Redefining innovation
  2. Douglas Merrill – Redefining Data
  3. Cathy Davidson – Redefining the Mind

Innovation, big data and our mind. Interesting topics and the LSCON has a great record of booking keynote speakers from outside the world of learning that give you new insights. I’m looking forward to all three. Redefining is also interesting. It looks like eLearning has come at a turning point. A lot of things are going on: mobile, TinCan, workplace learning, informal learning, agile development and more. And not at least the initiative about serious eLearning from a number of our thought leaders urging us to do a better job (and they are right, check it out).

If I categorize the sessions I have selected I come to this list:


# sessions

Agile development


Future of learning (including elearning manifesto)


Learner in Control


Tools development




Connect to the real world (workplace)


Big data




Interesting. Last year there were hardly any session on TinCan and Agile. Now I have 5 on topics. The topic with the most sessions is about connecting learning to the workplace (or the real world) also an interesting development. I will check them out for you and will report each day from the conference (Wednesday, Thursday and Friday) and will finish with a recap of the conference. I will post these reports both on easygenerator and on

And a tip I have to give to you all, if you want to follow the conference, check the conference back channel moderated by David Kelly, who is also is the organizer of the conference. There are already interesting posts there! It is the best way to follow LSCON from a distance!

#LSCON 2012: trends

LSCON 12: Trends

Looking back on the Learning Solution conference and digging through the back-channel, twitter and Map-Deck I tried to discover the latest trends that emerge from these tons of data. I’m afraid it is not a scientific research, but just me reading a lot of information and picking up some signals.

The art of leadership, vision and choosing
A clear trend set by the guild. Three keynotes about three specific arts, all interesting in their own right. For me a confirmation on another trend: There are always great keynotes at LSCON.

This year I noticed a lot of sessions, blogs and tweets about storytelling, gamification and scenario based learning. They all have the story element in common. A great trend as far as I’m concerned. Stories are a great way to involve your learner in the learning process usually it leads to far more attractive and interactive forms of learning. When you start out with a great story, it is hard to and up with a dull PowerPoint like course!

Social learning
Another buzzword at LSCON. I noticed that more and more people are aware of the fact that they do have to address the rise of social media and the impact of it on learning one way or the other. I heard and read a few times that e-Learning could become obsolete if we don’t find a way to use this or at least incorporate this in our learning. The good news is that the new SCORM standard (based on project TinCan) will actually make this possible.

HTML5 – mobile learning
Were mobile was the buzzword at DevLearn, it was replaced by HTML5 at LSCON. There were a lot of sessions about this topic, or mobile publications, because we all want to include flash like elements in our IOS publications. Last year at LSCON people where a bit in disbelieve (flash dead, no way!), this year I didn’t hear anybody about Flash. It seems acceptance of HTML5 is on his way.

Data mining
In the e-Learning world we don’t analyze a lot of data. We report some progress and result information to a LMS that usually has bad reporting facilities, let alone analyzing tools. I can see a new trend that will change that. Imagine information on the usage of your course is available in your authoring tool. You can actually see what content is used, by whom, which question are answered correct and which path people have taken through your learning content. It would be a valuable source for any developer and it would make it possible to improve the learning experience of the learner. I believe this trend is emerging and again project TinCan will play a big role.

Scorm dead?
In previous conferences you could pick up the sound of people who where proclaiming that Scorm is that or at least would die. It is strange indeed to have a standard in this fast developing world with the name Scorm 2004. But again there is project TinCan, it will be the new Scorm standard. And I was really surprised by the pace ADL is moving forward with this. I believe this is the development that will have the biggest impact at the end of the day, supporting almost all trends I have mentioned before.

#LSCON day 3: Scenario based assesments and Choices

I was able to attend two session at the last day of LSCON. The first (concurrent) session was from Iskandaria Masduki about scenario based assessments. Good session with an interesting mix of theory and practical examples. The great advantage of scenario based learning is that you can learn knowledge and skills ‘in context’. One of the practical things I took from this session is that she writes the scenario’s out divided in 5 elements:

  1. The tasks that you need to be able to perform
  2. The procedures you need to know
  3. The tools that you have to use
  4. The knowledge you need to have
  5. The performance you have to deliver

A very helpful scheme to use when you set up a scenario based learning experience. She starts out with a global storyline and character description, than she defines a sequence of events that contain a number of action points. She divides the scenario into smaller parts each containing a few action points. She only scores on action points and on good choice.

The other thing I took away from this session is that she works with just two options at each scenario. This makes it a lot easier to create a scenario and it apparently doesn’t affect the outcome of the learning experience.

These limits in choices brings me to the key-note of the day. The art of choosing by Sheena Iyengar. She is a professor at the Columbia University and does research on choices.

She found that when you have more choices, people are less likely to make a choice. They just can’t decide. She calls this the ‘Choice overload’. The effect is reduced commitment, poorer quality of decisions and less satisfaction with the choice. Interesting stuff to keep in mind when you are creating learning opportunities.

The only way that you can handle a lot of options if you are able to instantly categorize them and delete all non relevant options. But you have to be a true expert to pull that of.

She also gave some practical tips on how to improve choosing. The first was the 3 by 3 rule. You offer people 3 choices, based on their first selecting three next options and again 3 based on their choice.

She also gave 4 techniques:

  1. Cut options. She gave two examples. Sales of a company rose after they reduced the number of brands they had. And when a leader presents his company with two choices instead of more the leadership perception will be substantially higher.
  2. Concretize. Make sure you offer people choices they can relate to, that are clear to them.
  3. Categorize. Organizing the choices in meaningful categories will improve the quality and ability of making a choice.
  4. Condition. When you organize your choices from a high number  to a low number, people will have a higher satisfaction with their choice.

After the session I had a meeting with my colleague Steve. We starting discussing the choices we make as a company and how we could improve on them. It is very special when you walk away from a presentation and are immediately able to apply that information.

There is a lot more to tell about LSCON. I made a whole bunch of notes based on the backchannel and mapdeck. I plan to report on that later. For now (just after a 16 hour trip back home) I will go to work in my garden and think about nothing.

LSCON: day 2 Erik Wahl (wow!), curation and again a lot of people

Today began overwhelming. We entered the Grand ballroom and they announced the keynote of the day: Erik Wahl with a presentation on ‘The art of Vision’. Music started (a beautiful day by U2) a guy jumps on stage and starts painting. After the music stops he has painted a portrait of Bono. This video will give you an idea his of performance.

He also proved to be a great and inspiring presenter. His message is simple. We need creativity and passion to change and innovate. It was a great start of the day, a pleasure to witness and a real energy booster.

The largest part of the day we worked in our booth, talking to people and demonstrating easygenerator. I did another presentation on the ‘Emerging technology stage’. In between I was able to attend a session by Reuben Tozman. That turned out to be interesting. The topic was Curaytion. In his definition you have aggregation (collecting information) and then you have curation which he defines as added a story to a selection of the aggregated information. Like a museum a curator that makes a selection out of a collection of art and present it with a storyline. A great definition and I am with him all the way. But Reuben is a technology believer. He is convinced that the technology will make it possible to completely automate this process. This leads him to the conclusion that we should stop making e-Learning courses and focus on aggregating and curation information. Over time we even don’t need any human involvement anymore. Software and complex algorithms will do this for us.

And here I don’t agree. I believe that the software will improve and will become better in selecting information for us and present it to us in a coherent way. But in my opinion it will be still information or even data. It will not be knowledge and it certainly will not be a learning experience. I believe you will always need a human to moderate that information for you, give meaning to it, sometimes presenting an opinion and create a learning experience based on didactical and instructional design principles.

This was the last day of the expo. That gives me the opportunity to attend more sessions tomorrow. I’m looking forward to it.

#LSCON Day 1: people, new scorm, leadership, Lingos and more people

How do you capture a 19 hour day in a post? That is the challenge of today’s blog. I had installed myself yesterday evening in the pool area of the hotel. Laptop, wireless (sponsored by easygenerator!) and a glass of whiskey. I was just starting to write this post, when two guys (Drew and Marc) joined me. We ended up talking until quit late. That’s one of things I really like about guild conferences. There are so many interesting people working on and thinking about the same stuff as I do. I spoke today to dozens of them. Really inspiring.

Project Tin Can: new scorm standard!
In fact I have to start on the day before the conference. I had a meeting with Aaron Silvers (from ADL) and Tim Martin (from Rustici software) about Project Tin Can. They had exiting news, the work they did on project TinCan will actually become our new Scorm standard and it will in a few months time. It will actually focus on learning experiences. Allowing collaboration on courses, include social media; giving us a language to talk to learning management systems, in short it will lift the limitations that Scorm gives us. This is great news, we have a ton of ideas for ‘next generation learning’ that we couldn’t implement because of scorm limitations. Now we will get a next generation standard. Read all about it at!

Keynote by John Maeda about leadership
I liked this keynote, but I was not blown away by it. He didn’t really make the connection with learning. On the leadership topic he had interesting remarks. One was that as a leader you have to get dirty hands (literally). You should have passion, get to the core and be about the why.

I liked his thoughts on how you start out with directional knowledge that makes your identity, then you will get conceptual knowledge (the how) and when you apply this you will get experimental knowledge. But these experiences will change your insights, your concepts and your identity. This means that nothing is written in stone, there is room for doubt and failure. he calls this ‘Fail productively’. These are things that aren’t very often connected to leadership. I believe he is right. Innovation comes from a mix of passion and doubt. If you are not willing to discuss the things you know, there will never be any change. John writes a blog called creative leadership.

People, people people
There are 1300 participant at this conference and I think I spoke to a fair share of them. I did two presentations and was at the booth for a large part of the day. I have to say that the traffic at the expo was a bit less than expected. Last year the expo was next to the ballroom where the general sessions were. This year they moved the general sessions to another building (just across the pool). This makes it less obvious to wander into the expo after a general session.

Kasper presenting at LSCON on learning maps

Me presenting

I went to a LINGOs dinner in the evening and I really enjoyed it. Again more interesting people (Lingos staff, members from ngo’s, participants in the global give back competition and sponsors). It really is a special organization. Doesn’t  LINGOs ring a bell with you? Please check their website and start participating. Help them to help ngo’s to make this world a better place!


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