#LSCON session @bbets: From content to curation, moving your strategy beyond creation

Good session. His key message is content is only the start of a leaning process. he uses a Lego metaphor: Focus less on the blocks (content) and more on the learning. Here is the mind map.

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#ecocon #lscon session @JD_Dillon: How Kaplan build a smarter learning ecosystem

A great presentation on the 5 year journey Kaplan took from old school training to an integrated ecosystem. Inspiring story with great lessons to be learned and practical tips as well. Here is the mind map.


#LSCON and #ECOCON day one

The end of the first day of LSCON and Ecocon. Time for a first retrospective.

Tom Wujec
The highlight of today was the opening keynote by Tom Wujec. I wrote a post earlier on this presentation, but it made me think a lot. So I checked him out in more detail. Here is a link to his Marshmallow challenge. My research did not help me much, so for now the conclusion is: He tells us everything will change and that means that we are educating people for jobs and roles that do not exist today. Therefore there is litle sense in training them in the job skills and knowledge. We need to get them ready for a life of life long learning, enabling them with skills for that. On top of that the role of the computer will increase dramatically forcing us to focus on the creative side of things.

Panel and ecosystem

Both the panel on performance support and the ecosystem session I attended were interesting. But there was much more to this day.

I started the day with a morning buzz session of LINGOs. The organization that helps great people doing even greater things, they support 80 NGO’s with eLearning facilities and knowledge. I’m an ambassador for them. We as learning community should support them as much as we can. You can meet them at LSCON (they have a table close to the registration desk) chek in and see what you can do. Not on Orlando, check out their website, especially their volunteer section.

I had a whole bunch of other meetings, some business meetings with which I will not bore you. But I also spoke with Bill Brandon about publishing some articles in the Learning Solution magazine. We came up with some nice ideas. But again, you can do this as well. You can write for the magazine or the twist blog or just publish your content at the new Learning exchange platform that was launched today by the guild. Don’t be shy, your experiences are valuable to other members, so start sharing!

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#LSCON session, Catherinne Lombardozzi: scaffolding learning in the ecosystem

Cool session. Practice vs theory. The theory of ecosystems will tell you that you have to facilitate the learner providing them with all the resources and tools they need to do their job. Catherine has a very practical view. She thinks that you will just overwhelm the learner with information. She sees an ecosystem as a fish tank, an artificial environment set up for a specific purpose. A ecosystem is a scaffolding method for learning. She also has a list of 7 pillars that you need for a succesful participation of the learners.

I do have mixes feelings about her approach. On the one hand it does feel like a practical approach and a great first step in the world of ecosystems.mbut on the other hand it feels like you are patronizing your learners.



#LSCON performance support panel

Panel about performance support. They were in agreement most of the time. it is about changing behavior, in the workplace, by using context and without interfering in the work. Here is my .

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#LSCON keynote Tom Wujec: Return on imagination

The opening keynote of LSCON was interesting. I’m still processing it. Here are some quotes from Tom:

  1. “Pure computer power can mimic natural selection mechanism coming up with a best fit solutions”
  2. “Fostering creativity and innovation will be the role of learning”

What I think that he is telling us is that the way we work and produce in the future will be very different from today. Computers, big data and 3d printers will do a lot of things for us, and they are better at it than we are. As humans we need to focus on creativity and imagination. If this is true we need to educate and train in a very different way. Here is my mind map, but I do have to think on this and read more before I can give a more detailed opinion on this. Conclusion: a great keynote because it really makes me think and wonder on the implications.


People that inspire me: my 5 eLearning heroes

My elearning heroes

Recently I was doing a presentation on eLearning trends. During that presentation I realized that there are just a handful of people driving fundamental change in eLearning. These are the people who really change our landscape and have a big influence on my working eLearning life. So I decided to share these 5 eLearning heroes with you, so you can plug-in to these sources of inspiration as well.

ELearning Hero #1: Jay Cross

Jay Croos in his famous kethup bottle shirt- by  Ignite Gnomedex 2009

Jay Cross in his famous ketchup bottle shirt- by Ignite Gnomedex 2009

Jay is the guy that coined the term eLearning for the first time in 1998. So he is around already for a while. Not only has he been a driver and an advocate for online learning, but he moved beyond. He is also the person that initiated the informal learning movement. His book Informal learning was at least for me the start Informallearning Jay Crossof that. He writes about informal learning at the informl blog. He is the founder of the internet time alliance, a group (Jay Cross, Jane Hart, Harold Jarche, Clarck Quinn and Charles Jennings) that focuses on workplace learning. together they created the great book ‘The working smarter fieldbook’, that is all about workplace learning. You can buy it as a book but they are constantly changing it, you can follow the changes here. So for me if I’m thinking about someone who inspires me in eLearning, it is Jay in the first place. But there is more. He is also a great person. I met Jay for the first time at the Online Educa Conference. He gave a workshop that I attended and we spoke briefly afterwards and exchanged business cards. In 2010 I became CEO of easygenerator, one of the first things I did was writing a mission and vision statement to give clarity to our direction. I was having a lot of doubts on it and decided to mail it to Jay. To my big surprise he did respond and in great detail, it was more than helpful. I was so impressed. He is not only a great inspiration but also a great person. To get inspired, check out this video where Jay is talking about Informal learning.

ELearning Hero #2: Michael AllenMichael Allen

Michael Allen is also someone who is around for a long time, but as with Jay he doesn’t stick to his old ideas, he is an innovator and a driver for change from the very first start of his carreer (he was the man behind the very first authoring tool ‘Authorware’.)  Michael is also one of the leading alleninstructional designers in the world. He fights against boring and bad eLearning and does that in a very constructive way. He wrote a ton of books, all of them are classics and must reads.  He is the CEO of Allen interactions, in my mind one of the leading instructional design firms. His book ‘Michael Allen’s guide to e-Learning’ will cover all the basics on eLearning for you but  I can recommend reading all his other books on instructional design as well. But there is more to Michael. His fight against boring and bad e-Learning. He is one of the instigators of the Serious eLearning manifesto but he is also the founder samof ZebraZaps. ZebraZaps is a tool that will enable you to create all kind of interactive elements for your eLearning, and it is one of the truly innovative tools out there. There is nothing like it. But that is not all. He is also the one that made agile e-Learning development main stream with his book Leaving ADDIE for SAM.  ADDIE is the ‘old’ approach of building eLearning through the so called waterfall model, Sam use agile principles that come out of the world of software development.  And as with all his books it is very practical, it is not just theory, but he shares a lot of practical stuff based on his vast experience. I wrote a book review on this one. Read this interview with Michael Allen, it is a great way to get to know him and his ideas better and to get inspired by him.

ELearning Hero #3: Cathy Moorecathy moore

Cathy Moore is the only one of my heroes that I haven’t met in person, but that does not mean that she inspires me less. As Michael she is an instructional designer that fights boring eLearning. But with a very different approach. Cathy came up with the action mapping approach back in 2008. The approach is very simple but has a huge impact on learning and my thinking about learning. There are four principles:

  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

action-mappingThe first big thing is that she connects learning to the business goals, and with that she helps to integrate learning into the business. The second thing is that she points out that learning is about changing behavior, it is about what people do, not what they know. Also a game changer. I wrote several blogs on her ideas because her ideas may have the most direct impact on my work. To get inspired check the action mapping blog and read this interview with Cathy.

ELearning Hero #4: Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredsonmosher-gottfredson

I could not decide between them, so I marked them as hero #4 together. They do work at the same company together as well. Our eLearning world is changing rapidly, Workplace learning, retention, performance support and more are all developments that have a big impact on eLearning now and in the near future. It is a real Performance supportstruggle to juggle all these balls. Bob and Conrad came up with a very comprehensive approach that combines all these things and gives you clear guidance in how to make that work. I attended last year a session by them at the Learning Solutions conference that was really an eye opener for me. The have a solution for the ‘Forgetting curve, and they found a way to give you guidance in workplace support as well with their 5 moments of learning needs. I wrote about their ideas Performer support logoseveral times in this blog so check that out for more detail. To make it even more practical they run the performance support community. The best way to get inspired by them is to join that community. It is by invitation only. If you want in, drop me an email @ mail@kasperspiro.com and I will invite you to this community.

ELearning Hero #5: Aaron SilverAaron

Aaron is probably the least famous person of this list, but he is very likely the guy that will have the biggest impact on learning for the next decade. Aaron is the driving force behind TinCan, now


called the XAPI. For more than a decade eLearning was confined in the bounderies of your LMS. We needed (outdated) standards to run our course in a LMS and track results from our learners. To make things worse we also had competitive standards (Scorm and AICC). Aaron is the guy that changed all that. XAPI is a real revolution for learning. First of all it is about tracking and tracing experiences not just formal learning outcomes, that is a big one. The second thing is that it xapiallows tracking and tracing from anywhere (also mobile devices). Freeing us from the tight boundaries of the LMS and opening up a whole new range of possibilities. Third is that it is personal, you can track and trace your experiences and you can decide what or when to capture. It opens up the possibility to build a personal learning and development portfolio, and a lot more. In fact it is so new, that we all still struggle to wrap our headS around it and come up with applications that use XAPI to its full potential. On top of that he also managed that both SCORM and IACC will merge into a new standard CMI5, based on XAPI. It will enable the tracking and tracing of formal learning in a unified way as well, with all the benefits of this new open standard. Get inspired by Aaron and read this interview with him.

Shocking outcomes from ATD research on Instructional design

The ATD published a report on Instructional design: “Instructional design now: a new age of learning and beyond”. They did a survey among 1120 learning professionals. I find outcomes of this report shocking. For 92% the most popular tool is traditional classroom training, and only 38% believes that they meet their learners needs. Here is their info-graphic.


Info-graphic by ATD on report: instructional design now

Some more detail from the report:

Top 10 approaches in Learning:

  1. 92% – Traditional classroom instruction
  2. 77% – Assessments
  3. 70% – LMS
  4. 70% – Blended learning
  5. 69% – In person coaching
  6. 66% – Structured on the job training
  7. 65% – Courseware authoring tools
  8. 65% – Synchronous learning systems
  9. 63% – In-person mentoring
  10. 61% – Asynchronous learning systems

All this is really old school stuff. No social learning, no informal learning, nothing about connecting learning to the business. 35% does not even use an authoring tool at all. Are the still using pen and paper? I knew that the Instructional Design community is not the most innovative community, but I was unpleasantly surprised with these outcomes.

Another interesting list is the challenges instructional designers face.
At number 1: 41% of the respondents indicates that the lack of leader support is their main challenge. Another clear sign that learning is still not integrated at all in the business side.
Number 2 is lack of skills and competencies (40%), a shocking 40% believes that the are not able to do their job in a proper way! There probably is a relation with the fact that 38% doesn’t have any qualification in eLearning or instructional design at all.
Funding, measuring of effectiveness, technologies and keeping up with developments are among the other top 10 challenges. But number 10 is really interesting again: 16% of the respondents indicates they are challenged by the loss of control due to the success of informal learning. This indicates to me that informal learning is happening despite the L&D department and that they see it as a threat, instead of an opportunity they should embrace.

But the most shocking figure for me was that 38% of respondents believes that they meet their users needs. This means that 62% believes that they are not doing a good job. Meeting the learners needs is a basic requirement. Improving their skills and behavior so that can contribute more to the business goals is the real goal. It does say in the report that almost half of the respondents do believe that they have a positive impact on business goals. But that still means that almost 70 of the respondents believe that what they do is of no importance to their organization! And more than 50% believes that what they does not have any impact on their organizations goals.

I gave my summary post after the last DevLearn conference in Las Vegas the title ‘The gap is widening, we are in a crisis‘. The reason for that was that I noticed an increasing distance between the speakers at the conference and the audience. I did have some doubts about that title. I thought that maybe I was exaggerating it a bit. But after this report I would say:

The canyon is widening: We are in a crisis!

You can download the white paper or book at the ATD (The white paper is free for members, $ 19.99 for non members)

Preview of the Learning Solutions and the Learning Performance Ecosystem conferences

Next week I will be attending the Learning Solutions conference and the co-located Learning Performance Ecosystem conference. I have checked out the conference program for you so you can see if there is anything of interest for you. This is hopefully helpful if you are attending, but if you do not go to Orlando there are many ways to tap into the rich conference resources. I have listed them as well.

Shared keynotes of LSCON and ECOcon

Both events are being held in the same hotel. They have separate sessions but they share the keynotes. As always there are three:

Tom Wujec – Return on imagination
Tom Wujec will open the conference with a keynote about innovation in Fortune 100 companies. he promises that I “will learn from proven approaches that encourage exploration, engagement, prototyping, and innovation testing.” We will see.

Michael Furdyk – The future of learning at work
This is about workplace learning, how to use available devices and techniques and social media to engage learner in their workplace.

Juliette Lamontagne – Design Thinking to enhance learning
A keynote about design thinking, learning innovation and solving real world problems.

I’m curious to see what they will bring. The descriptions are not a guarantee for great keynotes. I do not know any of them. But Learning Solutions has a great track record for great keynotes, so I do hope that they will surprise and inspire me.

Learning solutions conference March 25 -27, Orlando

This years theme is ‘The convergence of technology and training’. There are three featured panels:ls15-logo

  1. The power of community in the new social workplace
  2. The importance of adding performance support to the mix
  3. Bridging the gender gap

All panels have interesting panel members. From Jane Bozarth to JD Dillon. I attended a session of JD Dillon last year at Devlearn (see my session report) , that was really inspiring. I’m looking forward to these sessions.

Morning Buzz sessions
Morning buzz sessions are great. You gather with your coffee with a group of people and discuss a certain topic. Great way to start the day, although they are really early.

LSCON concurrent sessions
As always the conference starts for me already at home. I download the app (LSCON) and start selecting potential sessions that I want to attend. There are a lot of design and instructional design sessions available this year and a lot of them are dealing with gamification, ans responsive (mobile) design. Other repeating topics are agile, XAPI, SMe’s as authors and curation. Quit surprisingly hardly any workplace learning sessions. I have selected 4 or 5 sessions for some time slots. So the conclusion is that I will have a good time and learn a lot, but I also have to make some difficult choices.

Learning Performance Ecosystem March 25 -27, Orlando

This years theme is ‘Building connections that matter’. There is a super session by keynote Tom Wujec. He will help us toeco15_600 visualize and contextualize your organization’s Learning and Performance Ecosystem. There is also a featured session by Marc Rosenberg and Steve Foreman. Their session has the same title as the white paper the wrote for the eLearning guild, so I’m not sure if the session will add a lot of added value.

Ecocon concurrent sessions

There are about 20 concurrent sessions, a lot with case studies. I have to dive in deeper to see what is really interestingand what not. It is clear that in combination with LSCON there are plenty of choices.

Places to go

Preparing for these conference is fun and necessary if you want to get the most out of it. But even if you are not going to attend you can still follow the conference.

David Kelly will host the back channels for both events (LScon back channel and Ecocon back channel). They are a great way to get a quick overview of what is happening and pick out the most interesting posts from the conference.

Follow all tweets and join the conversation via Twitter. Use and follow the hash tags  #LScon and #Ecocon

The websites
The full program with all keynotes and sessions is the for both LSCON en ECOCON

The apps
There are apps for both conferences. A must have if you go, a nice to have if you stay at home and follow. For LSCON search the app stores for ‘LScon’ and ‘Ecosystem 2015’

This blog
I will try to report on every session I attend in this blog. So stay tuned in.

A week of working and Learning in Ukraine

This week I visited Ukraine because the easygenerator development team is located in Zhytomyr (Ukraine). I have been working there but also gained new insights on the situation the country and the history.  I thought I should share these experiences with you.

The situation in Ukraine

I have visited Ukraine on average 3 times a year over the past 4,5 years. So I know that life there is very different from my life in The Netherlands. The Soviet history, the corruption, the division in the country all makes living there much more difficult than it is in my save and well-organized homeland. But with the war the situation is deteriorating even in the parts that are far away from the conflict zone.

Getting drafted

In our team we have a lot of young men, they all are at risk to get drafted into the army. Imagine that you as a 26-year-old software developer suddenly have to fight against the Russian army. But next to this uncertainty there is more. The history of Russia and Ukraine is tightly intertwined. In the recent history Ukraine has been part of the Soviet Union for a long period, basically making it to one land. This means that a lot of people have relatives living across the border in Russia. Fighting in the east can mean fighting against your own family!


What I learned during this visit is that the history of the two countries is different from what I thought. It is not just that Ukraine and Russia have a shared history. In fact Russia originates from Ukriane. Cities in Ukraine like Zhytomyr and Kiev are older than Moscow. Moscow was founded by Yuri Dolgorukiy who was an Ukrainian Prince that reigned Kiev in the 12th century. So Russia originated from Ukraine some 850 years ago. I didn’t know that and it does place the conflict for me in e new perspective. Making it clear that it is the war of politicians like Putin and local men who want to gain power, influence and wealth. It is not the war of the Ukrainian people. Although propaganda tries to turn it into that.


The other thing is that the war has a big impact on the Ukrainian economy. The worst effect is that the currency the Hrivna has devalued dramatically. Last year 100 Hrivna was worth 10 euro, now just 4. And the fall against the dollar is even more dramatic. It means all imported goods have more than doubled in price (energy, food, cars and much more). It also means that an average teachers salary now is the equivalent of $100. People are really struggling to survive in this economic situation.

Presenting at at Zhytomyr state university

I had the honor to give a presentation at Zhytomyr state university about eLearning trends. I enjoyed doing it.


My colleagues Oleksandra and Olga who translated my presentation live into Russian

The lecture hall where I presented

The lecture hall where I presented

But at the same time it is a strange idea that you are presenting on a topic like eLearning in a country where there is a war going on and people are struggling to make ends meet (most of the people in the audience are teachers). On top of that eLearning in Ukraine is hardly developed, there is a huge gap with the developments in the European Union and the US. It really made me realize how privileged I am.

Working with my team

I have been working intensely with the development team during the week.  And I’m so proud of them. Despite everything that is happening in Ukraine they are not only working but they are improving all the time. Both quality and productivity has gone up significantly over the past months. In the period of a year and a half they have created a tool that already stands out from a lot of other authoring tools. During the past week we made plans to bring out a large number of additions, improvements and innovations over the next half-year. I will not go into detail now, but if you are one of the more than 8.000 users of our eLearning software you might appreciate their effort maybe a little extra.

Even bigger contrast

Next week I will be in Orlando USA, close to downtown Disney to visit the 2015 Learning Solution conference. The contrast will be even bigger. I do have a strange but interesting life. I will blog from the conference every day.


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