If you go to an international conference like Learning 2015 for the first time you have no idea what to expect. Which was the case for Janine and me last year. Everything is amazing, you meet lots of new people and hear all new things. So how would a second time be? Would we be amazed like we were the first time? Would the people we met last year still know who we are? Would we have the same great conversations with them, that we had last year. You can imagine the expectations were pretty high. What was then my high level impression of the conference? The sessions were not as mind blowing as last year, simply because then it was all new to me. This year was much more related to strengthening the relationships we have made last year, getting reinforcement on our thoughts over the last on performance support, blended learning and learning on the job. I want to share with you the 3 most important things I saw at the conference and why this stood out for me.
The people in L&D and change management
I am worried about our profession sometimes. When someone asks me to explain what online learning is. When people at a conference are only checking their emails in sessions, when they actively make notes about braintraining of things that have been known for years. When they don’t know what the letters MOOC stand for. But mostly the phrases: BUT, and in my organization this is impossible, we would love to do it but I can’t find the time. If you are in learning I think you have an obligation to stay up to date, to keep learning, to experiment, to fail and to be on a lifelong quest to get the best results with learning interventions. That last part is also my personal mission. It is ok to not know things and to stay in tune with what your company needs, but it is never an excuse to keep developing! Nigel Paine adds another dimension when he assures us that we are responsible for making sure that our statements and decisions are data driven and that learning professionals are not taking enough responsibility for following research in learning and are still keeping certain myths alive.
Ownership, Personalization and customization
We all get that we need to become customer centric. In our case learner centric. They are responsible for their learning process and we are the facilitators, like Janine and I have mentioned so much already. The time were we designed and the learner just had to swallow whatever we were serving is gone. And slowly I see cases that show that we are much more focused on asking the learners what they need and monitoring more closely what works for certain target audiences and what not. We are more than ever listening to the learners and it we are making progress. A good example of this was a company that gave people the opportunity to make choices. For example think about onboarding and that you need to learn the history of the company. You can choose how to learn this. Via video, via an interview with someone in the organization or via deskresearch and on the website. I know machine learning is coming and we might get algorithms soon to tailor your learning, but this is already such a good start.
One of my favorite topics of this moment. How do you help people with the 70% of learning, what can you do more in place to make sure learning is taking place in the workplace. Let me share some insights from the conference with you, with special attention for the methodology of Bob Mosher and Conrad Gottfredson who I have been able to meet in person for a couple of times now. They are very clear in their vision. It is all about performance. We need to enable performance development by not only offering formal learning but making sure we look at the critical tasks offer that in training while putting other learning objectives in a performance support solution. So that when you need to apply what you have learned, you suddenly need to read up again on something you have forgotten or for a specific issue that you encounter in the workplace you need to be able to have something in place where you can look it up. Or as Con said: We need to enable knowledge to improve performance. Loved that phrase,
One guy in the Dutch group advised to do one session out of your comfort zone, so I went to a session on the internet of things. And this is one of the reasons that I love The Masie Conference, sometimes sessions are more out of the box then European conferences and I had so much fun in this session. Sitting next to a person who works for Verizon who made a camera that makes virtual classrooms very easy or someone who works for the company who makes chips to track, i was really cool to discuss a perspective from a totally different angle.
So blown away like last year, maybe not, but I have gotten a great deepening of current knowledge and better understanding of concepts and trends that were brand new for me last year. See you next year 😉