I just returned from 2017 ATD TechKnowledge. I really enjoy this conference because it focuses on learning and technology which are my two favorite aspects of my job. I’m going to hit the highlights of what I went to (but I probably write way too much anyway).
The Fallacy of “Impossible” Mick Ebeling from Not Impossible Labs
I really enjoyed Mick Ebeling’s talk about doing things that are impossible. The slogan at Not Impossible Labs is to change the world through technology and story. Not just any technology but technology for the sake of humanity. When we do things that we thought were impossible it opens up the gateway to doing more impossible things. When another person sees you doing the impossible, they also believe that they can do the impossible. It spreads. “Impossible” is a total fallacy.
He talked about doing good being good business for companies. It’s great branding. He’s not afraid to leverage this corporate self-interest to get things done. The company isn’t going to make change but the people inside it are. The responsibility lies in the people to make the change happen.
Visit his website, look into the Daniel Project. What an inspirational way to kick the conference off. We can all apply some of Mick Ebeling’s work to our daily lives.
Big Data and Leadership: Creating Meaningful Experiences with Analytics and Information – Rahaf Harfoush
Social Business Imperative (Adapting to the Constantly Connected Customer) – Clara Shih
Both speaker’s talks were similar in the fact that they talked about the availability of data. We are connected to our social media constantly by our phones. This constant connectivity produces a data trail that companies can use to become more efficient and automated. Technology is transforming every job in every company. In L&D we can use data to find out what our learners need.
The amount of information out there is overwhelming. A major shift that we must make in training is thinking that learning has a beginning and an endpoint. Our learners have information at their fingertips and are constantly learning. We all have access to a constant stream of information that never ends and our learning programs must adapt to this. People are getting information where and when they want it now. We aren’t directing it toward them anymore.
Big data allows companies to customize messages/experiences for customers. Hypercustomization in learning is coming because this is what our learners experience in their everyday lives. Content designed exactly for that individual. For example, systems or software that can sense when you need just in time training and perhaps push it out to the computer terminal that you’re working on.
Clara Shih’s defined social business imperatives for training and development. I think it will be interesting to see how we handle her imperatives as a profession.
I think all of this information is great and the data produced will help us to find training solutions for our learners. However, it is my experience that typically training departments lag far behind when collecting data. These big ideas are great but I think we are a long way off from implementing them.
I think it was great that ATD extended the TechKnowledge hands-on sessions to 2 hours and 15 minutes. Some topics fit well into this time block and some left me wanting more but I have resources to pursue them.
Reaching Every Device with Articulate 360
I was really excited to attend this session because I recently upgraded to Articulate 360 and have already built out a few things in Storyline 360. Plus it was exciting to meet Trina Rimmer who is a Community Manager for the Articulate Community. My hope for this session was to see Rise since I haven’t really played with it that much and maybe pick up a few Storyline 360 tricks. Unfortunately, I think this turned out to be every trainer’s nightmare due to technical difficulties. The software wan’t loaded on the machines in the room and it took a while for everyone to download. Then we couldn’t get out to the website that had sample files for us to work on in class. A few takeaways though:
I’m taking the Code Academy HTML course and I thought this might be a good chance to ask some questions. I don’t know exactly what I expected to learn in a little more than 2 hours. The session was ok and the facilitator was fun. He also babysat John Mayer so that’s a plus.
To borrow a phrase from Cammy Bean, I’m an “accidental” LMS administrator. I wanted to learn more about xAPI and how it’s actually being used in the real world. Some highlights include:
Gamification Elements to Use for eLearning
This session was a great review of learning games and the principles behind them. I think far too often the terminology is jumbled because it’s easy to add a few game mechanics to an activity but it doesn’t make the activity a game. I really liked a quote the facilitator shared with us from John Dewey, “To be playful and serious at the same time defines the ideal mental condition.” This is way too much information in bulleted format but typing this all out helps me to remember what I learned.
Implications for Instructional Design
Elements of games
Things to consider
Gamificaiton vs. Serious Games – What’s the Difference?
I never really thought about it but traditional instructional design pushes content to learners while game-based learning makes the learner go find the information. The speaker at this session said that we are no longer in the age of information but rather the age of instant gratification. People will pay to grow crops in Farmville for no reason other than to speed up the game play. We need to reflect our audience because the majority of people under the age of 34 consume their entertainment in video game format.
From Immersion to Presence: How Virtual Reality is Disrupting Learning
This was another session that had some technical difficulties. It’s strange to me that a technology conference had so many technology issues. Virtual Reality (VR) is nothing new, it’s been around since 1908 when flight simulators were invented. Today VR work is all custom and evolving rapidly. It is the ultimate display of empathy because you step into someone’s shoes. Prices are coming down on the equipment because companies like Facebook, Microsoft and Google have made major investments in VR and Augmented Reality (AR). AR is the next step and it’s already here with games like Pokemon Go.
Designing with Animation
I read Tim Slade’s blog and I really like his perspective. My eLearning tends to fall on the side of not using a whole lot of animation but I’m going to implement more now. This session was really useful. Some of my key takeaways:
Tim’s three rules of animation were great. There’s a point when animation can just be distracting and these rules are great reminders of when to use animation in eLearning. Three rules:
The Top 5 Big Mistakes Made When Creating eLearning and how to Avoid Them
This was another session with technology problems. The presenter’s laptop crashed right before the session started. I think his plan B was ok. He accessed his program slides from the conference app on his phone, however, you could tell that he was rattled by his laptop issues. I didn’t really pull a lot of new content from this but it was a good refresher.
The top 5 mistakes:
Successfully Implement your LMS
I wouldn’t normally go to a session about LMS implementation but I’m doing this in my current job right now. I’ve been a domain administrator and can troubleshoot somethings but never anything this early in the process. I think the most valuable information I walked away with is to develop a list of internal helpers who can assist in the rollout. Having the marketing department develop a campaign to roll out the LMS is a brilliant idea. I have a few ideas, and a new book, to help me with this process when I get back to work.
I’m a frequent visitor to the eLearning Heroes community and it was really cool to meet David Anderson from Articulate. I talked to him for 45 minutes about the eLearning Heroes challenges and how I should submit more of them. We also talked about an Articulate Users Group in Denver. If you’re reading this and you’re interested it’s going to happen in the near future. I really like building in Storyline and the best part of the 360 version is that we won’t have to wait for versioning for updates but I hope they do something about the $1,000 a year price tag. It makes Storyline much more expensive when compared to Adobe Captivate.
That is my ATD TechKnowledge wrap up for 2017. I have plenty of things to start working on to be a better ID, eLearning Developer and plain old human.