AITD 2010 – spreading good intentions

April 26, 2010

in·ten·tion, n.
Pronunciation: \in-ˈten(t)-shən\

1 : a determination to act in a certain way : resolve
2 : import, significance
3 : what one intends to do or bring about

I’m just back from the 2010 Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD) Conference in Sydney. And if I could put one word on the message there it was intention.

I have to say the organizers of the conference were among the most gracious I’ve come across. I have only good memories of the week I’ve spent in Australia (thanks, Paul Dumble & company, if you’re reading this!).

I facilitated a pre-conference workshop on social media and learning. We collectively created a wiki, explored blogging, Twitter, social networks, etc. I never know how these learn “how-to” while emulating “how-to” will work out. This one worked well. Although most of the participants weren’t heavy social web users (mostly personal use) they had no difficulties with creating wiki pages and stuff. I think it worked well because there was only 1-2 computers per table of 4-5 people. Collective research was easier this way than with everyone using their own laptop. I would do that again.

I even had an impromptu Skype visit first with Gary Woodill and then later, with Jay Cross. (It was 9 pm in California, where Jay lives, and midnight where Gary lives, in Canada.) They are two people who walk the talk. All it took was a “are you around?” Skype message. There were others too who answered my request for help via Twitter. That’s how it works. Ask and the community steps up. Every. Single. Time.

It was great meeting up with Anne Bartlett-Bragg at a social media club event pre-conference and then hanging out and attending her brilliant conference session. There were literally a handful of people Tweeting at the conference – Michael Eury (@stickylearning), Anne Bartlett-Bragg (@AnneBB), Iggy Pintado (@iggypintado), Marc Ratcliffe (@MRWED_CEO), Janelle Amet @janelle_amet, Tony Hollingsworth (@hollingsworth), and Annalie Killian (@maverickwoman).

And oddly enough, I had never met Allison Rossett (it took a trip to another continent to meet her). She’s cool. Funny. Authentic. Brilliant. I like that she focuses on reality – what is really happening.

I think Allison’s presentation and mine complimented each other in that regard. Titled E-Learning 2010, mine contained examples of e-learning courses along with a demonstration of a “2.0” environment at the end. What is…what could be. Allison’s was titled E-Learning is What? and contained a lot of the research around what is really happening – now- in e-learning. There continues to be little adoption of new methods. See What’s Old Is New Again in ASTD for more on that. Excerpt:

Opportunities are being left on the table. Today, there is little evidence of collaborative and user-centered approaches in corporate and government settings, though there are suggestions of influence to come in the future. It is the same for mobile devices, ranked last in reported current practice, and jumping closer to the top of the list as practitioners look forward. The virtual classroom and blended learning were also less prevalent in reported practice than anticipated.

Old favorites dominated in our study. E-learning today appears to be mostly about delivering assessments and designs, testing, personalization, scenarios, and tutorials. All these are familiar, and they all have deep roots in the training and development community. Should we lament that the habits identified in this study are not much different in 2009 than they were in 1989 (although, of course, enabled by technology)? Is this good news or bad? And most important, what do you intend to do about it?

An underlying theme throughout the conference was on this idea of intention. I left wondering if we are, as an industry, (1) driving nails in our own coffins or (2) on the verge of something great. I guess it comes down to (as Allison notes) intentions.

Anyway, there were many opportunities to spread the collective learning / 2.0 / social media [whatever] message. I had great fun and made many new connections (including a cute and cuddly Koala). I also have a strong urge to go to New Zealand…and it’s all the kiwi contingents fault!

  • gerrymcateer

    I attend the pre-conference workshop which Janet conducted and it was excellent. I flew over from Perth Western Australia to attend the full AITD 2010 conference. Exciting to get a feel for where L&D is heading and the integration of social media tools! Great to meet with you Janet!

  • jclarey

    Thanks Gerry. Great to meet you too.

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