Learning Solutions conference: the day after. #LS2011

What did I learn the last few days at the guild conference?

Learning is about people and not about tools
Sometimes we forget this, especially someone like me who works with a tool vendor. But of course it’s true, tools are the means and not the goal. But there is more than just that statement. Thanks to the keynote from John Medina I got a better understanding on how remembering (or forgetting) works. We need to take this into account, especially when we are creating courses that transfer knowledge. From Nancy Duarte I learned how to capture and convince people (I’m half way through her book now) and how powerful story telling is. Through the keynote from Michael Wesh I have learned how tools affect people, how they even will change culture, but also the power people have to use those tools to their advantage.

We need to connect learning to the workplace and everyday problems
I was already convinced of this, we need to bring learning to the workplace and real life to the classroom. The role of e-Learning and e-Learning professionals will change from creator to moderator and editor. In stead of working with one or two SME’s, you will have hundreds or thousands through all social media networks, inside and outside your organization. All you got to do is capture their knowledge and insights, structure it and give it back in such a way people can find it when they need it. I learned that there is already a learning framework that supports this (Tallheimer) and that we have the technical ability to make this happen (DITA and search engines).

Difference between the US and Europe
One of the things that struck me most is the difference between e-Learning in the US and Europe. I got the impression that most e-Learning is PowerPoint or PowerPoint like and that appearance is everything. The new facilities authoring systems offer have a lot to do with presentation, animations making it more appealing and more sexy. This is important in Europe too, but having a PowerPoint as e-Learning course is just not done. E-Learning in Europe tries to go more in-depth, things like adaptive learning are hot. It would be interesting to find out what is more effective the US or the European way.

Overall I got confirmation on my ideas where e-Learning will be going. In my ‘vision‘ post I  addressed a number of issues. I saw and heard all of them back in Orlando, except adaptive e-Learning. But I got more, my ideas are deepened and  enriched. And it has created more connection between them. I will have to adjust and expand my Output Learning theory. Coming from Europe it does take a lot of time and money to visit a conference like this. But it was worth every Dollar and every minute.

Where are the digital natives?
The only that surprised me in a negative way is the average age of the attendees, I believe it will be somewhere around 40. This means that we are discussing the future of e-Learning between digital immigrants. Where are the natives? Are only the Guild masters present at this conference and did they leave their apprentices at home? Or was this conference representative for the guild population? In that case there is work to do!

I am member of the e-Learning guild for three years now (quite passive). This was my first Guild conference. I must say that the Guild really honors its name. It surprised and impressed me how willing people were to make time for me and to share their knowledge and networks with me. For me as a Guild conference newbie this was incredibly helpful, I got in contact with more people than I ever hoped for. Great networking and a great conference. I’ll be back and I will play a more active role in the community.

More information
You can find more information on the conference at the site of the e-LearningGuild. Downloads of presentations are available too. Another great source of information on the conference is misadventuresinlearning, it’s a collection of posts and notes about the conference and specific sessions, do have a look.


  1. Very well put! Never gave it much thought about the average age of Guild members. Interested in learning more about your thoughts. Look forward to seeing you at future events!


  2. I feel your post does a solid job of summarizing the conference. The one point I found the most interesting is the “Where are the Digital Natives?” It’s a great point but one the Guild would need to take a look at. At an approximate cost of $4,000 to attend, the conference does not seem to high a priority for a crowd that will already graduate with 20K or more in debt. A solution may be inviting them to get their take on the issues. Have them simply apply, easily, and we may be surprised by what they have to say. I would also like to see more K-12 schools in attendance or a better way for us to find each other at the conference.
    Thanks again for your summary, will be following your blog


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