Tuesday, June 02, 2009

#ASTD09 Thoughts on Day 2

Here's my picture with Cammy Bean.... Taking pictures of yourself from smartphones....not an easy business.

I'm starting to see a lot of reaction to my thoughts and other comments coming from ASTD09. I haven't absorbed many of them yet and it will all be works in progress. Bear with me while I try to take this amorphous mass and try to make sense of it.

This may take awhile....and be very disjointed. Just had to write it all down for some feedback.


When I'm thinking of technologies - I'm thinking beyond just software, hardware and gadgets. I'm also thinking of "intellectual technologies."

I'm goint to quote John Schulz's comment to my Day 2 post

The one thing I want to challenge, however, is your assertion that we are early adopters. Are we really? I feel like I've been an early adopter my entire career (approaching 20 years now). While the technology has changed dramatically in that time, it doesn't appear that the profession has moved much at all. We still have discussions about getting a seat at the table, or moving beyond reporting of butts-in-seats to show the value of organizational learning. So few of us have actually gotten beyond these fundamental issues.

I believe it was David Merrill who said instruction designed today is less effective than what was created 40 years ago. We seem so much more interested in efficiency (i.e. rapid elearning development) than effectiveness. Why is that? Why is it so difficult for our profession to move forward?

When I mentioned early adopters, I was thinking about the Brent Schlenkers, Mark Oehlerts, Cammy Beans and Janet Clareys (among many others) of the world. I'm immodest enough to think I'm one of them - though I wonder if my actual produced work really bears this out some days....

John's got a good point - as an industry, particularly in eLearning, we are so focused on fast development that the whole notion of effectiveness gets lost. This may be a reflection of the increasingly shorter deadlines and more chaotic environments we find ourselves in.

And what a lot of the bleeding edge thinkers in our industry have been harping on is that we need to find ways that adapt to this chaos more effectively.

- Maybe through incorporating the social and more social learning technologies

- Maybe through rethinking our actual design tools - not just the physical tools, but the mental ones. What solutions do we bring to the table.

- Maybe through rethinking reporting beyond butts-in-seats to actual business metrics. Not accepting that measurement from Kilpatrick Level 1-3 is OK....

- Maybe through redefining ourselves as a facilitator. Most of us in corporate training departments do have the rare position of touching everyone in an organization. We are in a rare position to bring folks togethr.

- Maybe through redefining our solutions. We serve as an advocate to the end user. Since we often touch everyone, maybe we can add knowledge management solutions to our bag of tricks. Help corrale information into more easily digestible chunks and in ways that makes sense to the end user - not just the expert. From what I can tell, we're pretty good at this.

Why is this so hard?

Being willing to NOT be the expert when every moment of your education and your professional career punishes you for "not knowing what you are talking about" is a very tricky and uncomfortable thing. There is power in being one step ahead of everyone else. In being the expert. The know it all.

What all of these solutions is asking us to do is to give up the essential power that we perceive information has and pass it on to others.

Do you want to give up power?


So much of my job as an applications trainer is fear mitigation.

I wonder if we are CAUSING fear among our colleagues rather than mitigating it and helping them apply and adapt to their own situation.

Ellen Wagner said this very eloquently in her post reflecting on the ASTD09 Twitter traffic:
It's simply that we have an opportunity - the responsibility - to demonstrate the value of what these emerging solutions mean to our enterprises


I had a conversation over at Allen Interactions as I attempted to get more information about the cool branching that they are experimenting with (no news yet BTW. Gotta make some phone calls and do more meandering tomorrow).

We chatted about is the challenge of encouraging some of our colleagues to think differently about eLearning course design. Linear vs. Branching. Because branching necessarily makes design more complicated while it also makes the interaction and the learning more contextual.

I'm puzzling on how best to do this. To both show value, then make it easy and less intimidating. I'm not entirely sure just giving someone a template is an answer. And I'm not sure it's just technical limitations with the tools.

The jump from a linear ID design to a branched ID design requires looking at all of the shades of grey that we may not be equipped to deal with as we march to the objective.

Again - little time, lots of change. And a knowledge that there has to be a better way to make it all effective or we all become irrelevant.


Janet Clarey said...

I'm loving your updates. Like John, I feel like I've been an "early adopter" (or maybe just inquisitive) my entire career. I often wondered if people that didn't share that inquisitiveness just didn't like their job that much and didn't see the need for the amount of effort needed to keep the ball moving forward.

I can see now that a third face in the photo would've required another foot or so of arm length. Great to see you and Cammy.

Unknown said...

sometimes i wish i could post like this.

Cammy Bean said...

I'm not sure why we didn't just ask one of the five guys standing around us to take the picture. I guess us early adopters just have to do ourselves. It was great meeting you, Wendy!

Tony Karrer said...

Wendy - you look about 10 years older in that picture than what I remember.

Your updates from the conference have been great. Thanks.

Wendy said...

erm....thanks Tony.....

The weird unattractive chin / neck thing is one reason I went to work out rather than go get beer ;')