Notes on the Monday Morning General Session at Masie’s Learning 2012

The first general session at Learning 2012 on Monday started with the two writers of the Webinar Manifesto (which is available for free as a Kindle e-book for the next two days and is a project by FranklinCovey). They discussed some of the seven principles of the manifesto:

  1. Connect or Die
  2. Don’t Default
  3. Shut Down the Ugly
  4. Captivate or Alienate
  5. Humanize the Screen
  6. Crack the Feedback Code
  7. Cage the Monsters
Webinar Manifesto

The Webinar Manifesto

These statements sound quite cryptic and will probably require reading the book to understand them better. Masie added that we should stop fixating on the one hour length of the webinar. If there is less content to discuss, then why not make it much shorter?

I recently tried out my own innovative way of doing an in-house webinar with 25-40 people attending. I turned it into what I termed a socratic webinar. Instead of showing slides and telling a story I created a set of rules for interaction, had four well-prepared questions and used the LiveMeeting feedback status to allow people to tell me they wanted to speak. For the first time ever I had the majorty of the participants engage in some real thinking and conversation. I am convinced most of them where not reading their email at the same time. Let me know if you are interested to hear more.

Next up was Ken Davenport. He isĀ an innovative Broadway producer and marketeer. He sees storytelling as something that actually gets a physical response from people. The most interesting topic he and Elliott talked about was the level of detail that is put into a Broadway show. Every single part of those worlds is designed. This is something that I have advocated should also apply to the learning experiences we design. The new en-vogue term for this is that we need to become Learning Producers rather than Learning Designers. I don’t think I agree, I would probably prefer Learning Directors or Learning Architects. Davenport sees a “YouTube-ization” of American entertainment: we want our entertainment in bite-sized chunks. He is trying to get his industry to adapt to that.

Cindy D’Aoust is from the Meeting Professionals International (MPI). She talked with Elliott about the changes in the world of meetings. Meetings have a much shorter lead time than they used to have in the past. There is less focus on executional logistics (food, temperature, location) and more on what it can do for people.

Susan Cain has written the book Quiet about introverts. She has done a TED talks about the topic:

Most people think that they are more extroverted than they really are. This is because we live in a society that tells us we should be extroverts. She thinks that introverts make up about one third to a half of the US population. To do good creative work you don’t just need to be collaborative, you also need to cultivate solitude. This is something we barely ever still do. In her book she talks about the “cult of openness” and she has a chapter on the problems with things like open office spaces. The most effective teams are a mix of introverts and extroverts. She believes that this is the next great diversity issue of our time. We are at the dawn of the quiet revolution: introverts are where women were in the fifties. We innately focus on the people who are the good talkers rather than look at the substance. There is some evidence that introverts are better at leading pro-active people than extroverts. This is because introverts can let pro-active people run with their ideas. Laptops and mobile phones are great devices for introverts because they allows us to communicate with hundreds or thousands of people without having to get on stage. There is a cultural dimension to this question. In Confucian societies “group harmony” is an important concept (so people “humble themselves”). This means that we sometimes get misunderstanding between people from a Confucian culture when they have to interact with people from an extrovert society. It was refreshing to have a speaker who actually likes to talk on the basis of research rather than on their own opinion. Interesting book, it is on my wishlist now.

The final speaker for the morning was Curtis Bonk who has written a book that I would have like to have written myself: The World Is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education (he also rocks a hairstyle from a different decade). Their main topic was MOOCs: Massive Open Online Courses. I have written about these quite often before, so a lot of this wasn’t new to me. An interesting part of their discussion had to do with assessment. Curtis thinks our CVs will consist of two parts in the future: one that reflects your formal and certified education, but also with a part that reflects the things you have done outside of the formal system. MOOCs have not really taken off in corporations yet. Curtis will talk about different business models around MOOCs in a session later in the day. Elliott encourages us to think of Open Learning not as something that only the weirdos do. It is not just a countercultural term.

Shifting Trends in Buying Learning

The Panel

The Panel

My first session for this second day of Learning 2012 started with a session of shifting trends in buying learning.

Masie has been involved in a survey aroud the learning market place. According to him there is an anomaly: there are more dollars to buy learning than robust providers/suppliers that can deliver to their needs.

One example is the market for Learning Management Systems (LMSs). There is an increasing frustration from members of the Learning Consortium that their LMS cannot deliver video very well. People are ready to buy technology to create, edit and deliver video, but they can’t find the right vendor to buy it from. Another area where people want to spend is Performance Support. There isn’t a perception that there is a large number of solution providers who can deliver this. Ironically content is also hard to get nowadays. There has been a drying up of content providers (all of them are very verticalized). New ways of doing assessment (e.g. badging models) are also hard to buy. Most people want to use mobile learning as an on-the-job performance support and also see it as a way to connect staff. 87% of the respondents are interested in mobile, but the percentage of companies really doing something in the space is in the teens. A similar thing can be said about social and collaborative learning.

Masie also made an argument that e-books will be very prevalent in the future. Everybody has a tablet, but there is no decent model for corporate learning e-book creation. He is pushing Adobe to start creating software that will allow people to author their own learning e-books.

All in all this means there are massive opportunities for vendors in this marketplace.

After Masie’s introduction we had a small discussion on the topic. One thing that came up was the disconnect between relatively young and agile companies with innovative solutions and the traditional procurement processes of big companies. The panel also discussed that it is often difficult to make the step from a small pilot or proof of concept to the larger implementation. Unfortunately nobody seemed to have a really sharp idea on how to solve the conundrum.

Elliott Masie’s Learning 2012 – Opening Night

I am one of the masses

I am one of the masses

These few days I (and 1600 others) will be attending Elliott Masie’s Learning 2012. I will be hosting a session with Marcel de Leeuwe and will be blogging about what I see.

The opening evening started with Lisa Nicole Wilkerson singing Defying Gravity, one of the themes of the conference.

Masie then made a comparison between how we watch television nowadays (everything on-demand and personalized) and how we do learning today (not quite there yet). So one of the themes is personalized learning. Another challenge that he sees is what he calls the Learning Mix: mixing live events with on-demand events. One more theme is Learning Together (he doesn’t like the term “Social Learning”). In this domain Masie touched my heart by talking about SharePoint “as a technology without a methodology”. A final theme will be Learning Everywhere.

The first keynote speaker was Richard Culatta. I first met him at this conference in 2008 when he was still at the CIA and presenting in the “trenches” of the conference. His career has progressed and he was now on the main stage. A lot of the conversation was quite obvious (at least for me), but I liked the short discussion about how learners will necessarily become designers. Richard also made a plea for there to be more “edupreneurs” and has started a MOOC, Ed Startup 101, to help this process. I’d be curious to hear his thoughts about the debatable role of VC capital in the educational world (see here and here).

Elizabeth Bryant from Southwest Airlines came to pick up a “Spotlight” award. Elizabeth talked about the learning centralization journey at Southwest.

Masie has started a program titled 30 under Thirty. All 32 of them (don’t ask) came on stage and talked a little bit about what drives them. They will be doing “reverse mentoring” at the event. Interesting concept!

Jenny Zhu of ChinesePod fame came to talk about the Masie Asia Project. This seems to be Masie’s attempt at getting a foothold in the fast-growing learning market in the East. I like Zhu’s post on 10 Chinese words that don’t have an English equivalent.

Lisa Pedrogo from CNN got a Masie award a few years back for her work with video in the learning space. Elliott shot a little video of her. He apparently did not get the memo about how to shoot video with a phone (from here, with a thank you to Marcel de Leeuwe for sharing it with me):

How to shoot video with your phone

How to shoot video with your phone

Lisa discussed how we shouldn’t make video more difficult than it really is. You shouldn’t be scared of using it and you should just have fun.

The final speaker of the night was Rahul Varma, the Chief Learning Officer of Accenture. It is interesting to see that Accenture has chosen somebody based in the East to head up learning for them. This probably has to do with the fact that the country with the most of their employees is India. He also talked about what he termed the talent challenge: how the rate of talent development will not keep pace with the growth of the emerging markets.

Finally, one interesting element of the conference is the Real-Time track comprising 15% of the scheduled content at the conference. This is explicit time and space for people to organize their own events. I will try to visit at least one of these events to see if and how they are working.

Facilitating “DIY” (Do-It-Yourself) Learning at Elliott Masie’s Learning 2012

In late October I will be attending Elliott Masie’s Learning 2012.

Elliott Masie's Learning 2012

Elliott Masie’s Learning 2012

This year Marcel de Leeuwe and I will be hosting a learning lab session which is described as follows:

Facilitating “DIY” (Do-It-Yourself) Learning

Only knowledge workers themselves really know what their jobs entail, which makes providing learning for them increasingly difficult. The level of connectedness in our world and the abundance of suitable technical tools now allow these workers to organize many parts of their own learning. So, what is our role as learning professionals in this new world of “DIY” learning? We can empower our employees to create those tailored learning experiences!

  • Examples of self-organized learning from surprising places, like MOOCs, Edupunk, the world of juggling and social media in corporations
  • The principles behind facilitating self-organized learning
  • Create your own high-level design for a self-organized learning event

It would be great if you could make it to the session. You are more than welcome! Also, I am always interested to meet new people in the world of learning and (open) technology, so do reach out to me if you would like to have a chat in Orlando. I am especially interested in truly innovative uses of learning analytics and networked learning (i.e. a Connectivist pedagogy).