Recap of FocusOn Learning Conference: Interview with Candelario Lopez

Today’s blog post brought to you by crew-member Meg Bertapelle, Sr. Instructional Designer of Clinical & Product Education at Intuitive Surgical.

The FocusOn Learning Conference, formerly known as the Mobile Learning Conference, was held in Austin, TX last week. My team member, Candelario Lopez, a fellow Sr. Instructional Designer of Clinical & Product Education at Intuitive Surgical, attended and brought back some great insights for our organization. He’s happy to share his impressions and takeaways with us today:

What tech were you most excited about?

Augmented reality – bringing the user interface and display out of the monitor & into the real world. Keynote from Wired Magazine’s Editor in Chief, looking at companies’ roadmaps for future technologies – lots of investments in augmented reality, virtual reality & mixed reality. (Mixed reality is sort of like some combination of realities.)

Interactive video – branching and assessment/scenarios in video format, allowing the user to dictate their learning path & allowing assessment/evaluation at the time of consumption. Provides more user control and engagement. Study: interactive video provides engagement opportunities through a delivery method that is easier to access and consume (vs. e-learning) and the study saw positive results in terms of retention.

Performance support – access to the right content at the time of need. Make sure that you evaluate the end-users’ process to make sure the performance support content is delivered effectively & is the right amount for that task/need. Case study: threw stuff together to be performance support, but was wrong medium, so couldn’t access it when they needed it.

The Good, The Bad, the Ugly & Beyond

The Good:

Path-based conference organization strategy:

  • Video
  • Mobile
  • Performance support

This allowed you to attend sessions geared toward what you want to accomplish in your organization.

Quality of speakers & sessions was very good. The speakers had real-life experience, sharing case studies and real experience or research & planning for future implementations. This allowed you to take away lessons learned from their experience to implement in your own organization. Both keynote speakers were well-respected in their industry: Scott Dadich, Editor in Chief of Wired Magazine, and Big Data analyst Soraya Darabi. They provides insights into their respective fields & where the industry is going in the near & distant future, helping to future-proof your training strategy at your organization.

Case studies that directly applied to our organization. Specifically, the Nature Conservancy laid out their strategy for learning materials, talked about the strategy as a whole, as well as planning and implementation, the tools and training delivery methods they used. They were also able to share evaluation outcome data: higher use of performance support materials, users’ knowledge of topic increased, reduced troubleshooting calls from users, have been asked to use same structure for other applications & topics.

The Bad:

If you have experience with these topics, getting to the real meat of what you’re looking for – like more advanced topics – was more difficult, have to outline your own agenda using the session details.

The Ugly:

Couple of sessions that focused on the “clicky-clicky bling-bling” aspect of the technologies, but no meaningful applications.

Couple of sessions that were all theory & research with no real-world application discussions.

The Beyond:

The way we consume content is leaning more and more towards performance support, and just-in-time content. Augmented reality looks to be a leader in supporting this transformation.

Takeaways?

Performance support is the right way to go, assuming you evaluate the users’ job processes & support them effectively.

Augmented reality is real. Companies are investing resources into creating real, serious approaches to learning solutions.

 

Did any of you attend the FocusOn Learning Conference? What would your answers to these questions be?  Please share during #chat2lrn on Thursday, June 16 at 8am Pacific, 11am Eastern, 4pm BST.  See you there!

Communicating your training strategy

Tell_EveryoneThis week’s chat2lrn is from Brent Schlenker (@bschlenker), who is one of our new crew members. Brent is Chief Learning Officer for Litmos

How do you communicate your training strategy to everyone who needs to know? Technology has changed so much over the last decade but many still see training as not having changed. It may seem strange but most of the world is not interested in training the way we are. That one realization will change your life. It will not only change your approach to instructional design but it will help you better communicate the benefits you bring to the organization.

Despite 20 years of self-paced eLearning tools, methods, and amazing possibilities, most people still see training as a teacher and a student, or students. People seem to easily make the leap from live classroom to virtual online live classrooms. But for them that’s as far as technology-based learning has come. Oh sure, everyone knows about interactive self-paced elearning but the process is a mystery…and seemingly unnecessary unless you have money to burn.

And if mysterious technologies aren’t enough to cause them anxiety, then try talking to them about your epic instructional design process you intend to inflict upon them. Trust me when I say that rarely goes over well.

I’ve seen the blank stares of many managers in my career. I have no doubt each and every one appreciated my efforts and found the self-paced course I created to be quite good and effective. But I also know they wondered why we couldn’t just create and plan many more classroom sessions in a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost. And whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter. What matters is what they believe.

The art of communication is well documented by others. Listening is critical. Spend more time understanding your stakeholders before telling them about you and your plans. Building relationships early on will pave the way for implementing successful training solutions.

Be prepared to over simplify your work. Being able to state your core beliefs about the career you’ve chosen is also helpful when communicating with stakeholders. I call these core beliefs the Guiding Principles of the Training Department. Communicate these principles early and often. In all of your communications make sure you show how your work connects to each of these principles.

We are knowledge brokers.
We build expertise in those who need it, by leveraging those who have it.

We put People first–Technology second.
We recognize the best training is often 1:1, but that doesn’t scale.  We strategically  use technology to amplify, and efficiently scale up, the human element of training.

We build as we deploy.
We iteratively develop scalable solutions while meeting current and immediate training needs.

We see learning as a long-term process.
We believe training events are only a part of the journey towards expertise.  We  leverage multiple content delivery channels to make content more readily available on demand in real-time.

We measure to evaluate success.
We ensure the effectiveness of training solutions by linking desired outcomes to business performance indicators, and tracking and evaluating results.

These are my principles. And you can read more about them here. They may or may not apply to you in your current situation. Do you have certain beliefs that guide your work?

We’d love it if you could join us on chat2lrn to discuss these principles with Brent, Thursday 4th June.

Benefits of PLN, Community and Professional Organizations

Today’s post comes to us from #chat2lrn crew member, Meg Bertapelle. Meg is a Senior Instructional Designer of Clinical and Product Education at Intuitive Surgical, a medical device company which makes the da Vinci Surgical System. You can find her on twitter at @megbertapelle


 

I just got back from attending the DevLearn conference and I’ve been struggling to pull together my “take-aways” for the last week (while also trying to catch up at work after being gone for a week). My gut was telling me that the best part was the people – but is that really OK? I mean, my company paid a lot of money to send me to this conference, and the best part was the people?

#chat2lrn pre-chat LIVE at #DevLearn 14

#chat2lrn pre-chat LIVE at #DevLearn 14
Thanks to @tomspiglanin for the picture via Twitter 🙂

 For me, it really is true. The sessions might have been the spark, but the conversations and connections with all of these great smart people really were the best part. I was able to connect with people in person that I normally only communicate with over the internet. While we have become great friends and I respected and trusted them all before I met them in person, the connection was much stronger, and our communication was more efficient, in person. We’ll leave THAT distinction for another chat (maybe talk to Helen Blunden), but my point is that meeting people in person (or seeing them again in person) this time has really brought home to me that I would not be anywhere NEAR as good an instructional designer, employee, problem solver – and even thinker – without my Personal Learning Network (PLN). Whoever first said “we are smarter than me” is SO right. (btw, apparently there’s a book – I haven’t read it, but I should put it on my list!)

 I have always captured some great information and ideas from attending a conference. In fact the first conference I went to was DevLearn in 2010. The sessions I went to and people I met (can’t possibly name them all) are the whole reason I am here today, part of the #chat2lrn crew, writing a blog for a Twitter chat where we can discuss and debate really interesting things with really smart people. The great ideas don’t wait for a conference though – people in the L+D community, in my PLN, come up with ideas, share interesting stuff and have wonderful debates and discussions on Twitter, or Skype, or LinkedIn, or Google+, and it’s happening ALL THE TIME. Without this community (that’s you!), I might still be creating really horrible training materials and calling them good! LOL

So thank you, all of you, for being the greatest benefit of all in my career. Thank you for allowing me to tag along – and possibly contribute in some small way – with your PLN. 

What about you? What have you found to be the benefits of having a PLN, or participating in a community or professional organization?

Let’s discuss during #chat2lrn on Nov. 13th, 8:00 PST/11:00 EST/16:00 GMT. Hope to see you there!