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  • The Technology Guy 09:07 on April 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , presentation,   

    Reflections from #LSCon 2012 

    I have had a short week to get my feet back under the desk after a whirlwind trip to Orlando.

    Such a great week amongst some of the clever people in our industry, so much to listen to and so much to learn from other’s ideas.

    Of course they tweet the same about being with me and listening to my presentations, I just get embarrassed in the normal way.

    What was clear in this week and in reflection since leaving the hot sun in Florida is that there are a number of interesting changes taking place across the world in T&D. The first is that T&D is on it’s very last legs in large corporations. If you are still working in a department with this name or have a business title of L&D Manager, get ready as sweeping changes will knock you off your feet if you are not ready.

    The changes are a distinct move towards the Business Performance Department, delivering a set of technologies that include training where required but more of acquiring and rolling out technology that assist your workers to make more money for the organisation. The talk in the back rooms and of course on the backchannel were about revenue and profitability, not about good LMS scores or completion rates. Jay Cross almost had it right last year with ‘Work Smarter’ concept but I think in times of economic downturn that we are all experiencing, Work Leaner may have been a better term. But I take my hat off to Jay as he was ahead of the game on this one.

    Those who understand business and how to generate higher revenue through capability and capable staff certainly have the edge. (Check out my paper i2 that was launched at #LSCon which aims to replace ROI with an Incapabiity Index. Paper available at http://www.thelearningcoach.co.uk/media.html)

    The tools being spoken of were more of performance support, remember how that came and went, it was just too early and is making a huge comeback. Other technologies in the frame are those that provide a social lounge for the workforce to talk about what is important to them, where they can dip in and out learning materials and use new concepts like IVR (see http://www.phone2know.com) to deliver contextual information in numerous ways.

    New products were in the expo to deliver to mobile devices, the imminent product from Articulate, Storyline, is the first of a new breed of tools to help deliver this type of learning. I have used the beta of this product, the latest version includes mobile and html5, very exciting prospects for the future.

    The second big thing to come out of #LSCon was the concept of Conversation in learning. I was not the only person presenting or talking of this. Conversation in communication is key to creating a platform where people can learn. The presentation I made ‘Conversational Learning’ is available to watch in a cut down form from http://bit.ly/HesHMt

    I have come home very enthused about this coming year. I have launched a great service at Phone2Know using the latest technologies to add conversation to learning, eLearning, mLearning and delivered as an addition to face to face training. Some cool concepts that will grow over the coming months.

    The next conference I attend is Congreso de Recursos Humanos in Mexico City later this month http://www.congresorh.com.mx/ where I will be presenting what can be achieved using conversation and mobile learning. Then I am onto mLearnCon in San Jose for June to host the Mobile Tools and Tech Stage. By this time we should be seeing some very cool additions to the mobile scene.

    • Aleymi 09:44 on May 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Right on BJ! I also can see mLearning as an additional recourse to classes, instead of printouts that rest in shelves, wouldnt be more useful to provide main ideas in nuggets (memory cards type) that learners could access via cell phone when needed, thus,extending learning beyond classrooms and real performance?

  • The Technology Guy 13:26 on October 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: dancing, , , presentation   

    Dancing in the moment 

    I always remember meeting a man named Doug Malouf. It was at an ASTD conference back in the ’90s. At that time, I thought I was a great trainer and presenter. He changed my life by opening my eyes to what I was really doing as a trainer, instead of what I wanted to be – a training facilitator.

    From the moment he walked on stage he had my attention. When he left I was satisfied, but wanted more. He was funny, he was entertaining he had my full attention. I sat after he finished and asked myself one simple question.. “How did he do that?” I had a head full of new ideas and a book full of writing I had scrawled so fast, I had trouble reading it.

    Ask yourself a question before you begin every course: If this group of students go home today and say they had a bloody great time, what would have happened and how will you have achieved this?

    “Listen up,” I shouted at a conference. The room fell silent as I began a presentation five minutes early and whilst still backstage using a microphone. People were still trying to take their seats and choose the best view. I said “Don’t sit down, stay standing, and if you are sitting comfortably then please stand up for a moment.” It was a room of professional e-learning developers. I asked two questions: “If you have never facilitated a classroom-based training course using a controlled set of pre-designed interventions, or have no idea what I am talking about please sit down.” And then…”If you have never sat and completed any e-learning course that you or your company has not designed, please sit down.”

    At that point, of the 175 people in the room all bar a handful were sitting down. I was astonished and have repeated this around the world with the same result.

    Being a trainer in today’s world is being a facilitator, able to move with the crowd and change the material on the fly to meet the need. The training psychotherapist in my family (my wife) calls it “dancing in the moment.” The rules of the chalk-and-talk educator of the past have changed. The more we move to new media the more we have to change our training ways and views.

    To dance in the moment is to know your subject so well that you can design your course not as training but as explorative learning. Imagine this: You stand up and begin to present your session. Everyone looks eager and awake, eyes are shining. Everyone is ready for your very first word. You start to talk, all seems great. You like the sound of your own voice, so why shouldn’t everyone attending? Five minutes in and a few eyes are glazed, the light fixtures and the sweets in the dish on the table have become more interesting than you. You’re in trouble, but you have not noticed yet. So on you go, talk…talk…talk…

    At seven minutes there is a change in the group. The “manager type” in the front row is smiling at you politely. The blonde lady in the business suit has a twinkle in her eye, and the techie in the second row is completely relaxed and fully consumed in pleasure. You think, “Hey I’m getting through.
    They love me, no?” No! In fact after seven minutes, it is well documented your audience will be thinking of something else, something that is fun or is more easily palatable. What you have is not the positive feedback you so desire. It’s a message to stop talking and move on.

    Dancing in the moment?

    Dancing in the moment?

    To dance in the moment is to present for only a few minutes, and present something so thought provoking in relevant subject matter that the group are filled with questions and the need for more. Then offer the group the opportunity to use your expertise, to ask questions and explore the areas they wish to know rather than your normal, pre-designed route for teaching. Delivery in e-learning using this process is still achievable. Design a library of small scenarios and allow the user to get involved in as many as they wish.

    Dancing in the moment, requires not much new, just a change in how you do it…. If they had a bloody good time, then you were dancing…..

    As for Doug Malouf, he was one of those “ah ha” moments for me all those years ago, something that stuck and that I will always consider. If I saw him on the bill at any conference, I would be at the front of the queue.

    • John Malcom 14:48 on October 27, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      I also saw Doug some years ago. He was from Austrailia if I remember. Has a couple of books published by ASTD, really worth the read.

      Nice to see you finally blogging Neil, been pushing you for ages…..

    • Sarah 11:30 on October 28, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      This is really cool! (sorry, sounding a bit unprofessional here!!).

    • Józefa Fawcett 07:48 on December 3, 2008 Permalink | Reply

      Just discovered you on Global HRD Congress website and having read your blog post above can only say, great, fantastic and yes, yes yes to all of your comments about ‘dancing in the moment’ (thank your wife for the lovely term).

      So many conference speakers and trainers fall into the trap of loving the sound of their own voice – your comments are spot-on.


    • Sriram Subramanian 13:15 on June 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Neil –

      Just came across this post, and can totally relate to ‘dancing in the moment’. If I had a dollar / pound / rupee for everytime I wished I was so on top of my subject and material, that I could do that….

      I wanted to share with you one aspect of training that I’ve constantly obsessed over – the balance b/w PPT / slides / the trainer’s own ‘voice’, and interaction, cases, games and discussions amongst participants. When I started many years back, my own voice would predominate – now I find that I only need to say a few things, and say them right and let the class take over.

      One of the aspects of PPT slides that I’ve consciously worked on, apart from the # of such slides, is the visual appeal of slides. About 3 years back, we stopped using stock photos and started using custom drawn illustrations in our training presentations and course material. Got an immediate connect with the audience – I think it may be because stock photos are “too perfect” and somewhere, we all like a bit of imperfection – somehow seems more real. Also with illustrations, you can juxtapose objects, people, concepts in a way you can’t with photographs – eg. early man inventing the wheel, to symbolise innovation.

      Anyway, we’ve launched a stock illustrations site called http://www.doodleco.com, which has been specifically created by a training firm and takes into account the needs of the L&D community, while catering to a larger and wider design audience.

      I’d love your feedback on the same, and your support as we are still at a nascent stage.


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