Goodness, my inbox is filling with requests for my presentations.

Well, folks, here you go:

  • Cool Tools (W102) is available for viewing and embedding only on SlideShare. Why? Well, because with viewing only the hyperlinks work and the video is embedded.
  • Intro to Twitter/140 Characters or Less (FR210TI) has its own wiki that anyone can access. You can find all the resources, plus the presentation for download. Additionally, the Cool Tools presentation is available for download on this wiki.
  • Finally, ASTD has posted the handouts, which include the slides, for everyone's presentations. You can download those from the TK09 web site.


 | Posted by | Categories: ASTD |

Questioning Conference Tools

19 November 2008

I moderated an unconference this year at the Wine Bloggers Conference.  I rapidly followed that up with speaking at DevLearn, so I couldn’t make it to Elliot Masie’s Learning 2008 for the first time since the event started. Truly, the Wine Bloggers Conference was probably more fun, as far as that goes, but I still missed a lot of things about the Masie event.

I think I’ve compared and contrasted  these conferences before, but with a new ASTD technology for the upcoming TechKnowledge, I wanted to do it again.

I enjoy ASTD TechKnowledge, and every year it gets just a tiny bit more technical, which makes me happy. In the past, there was no real way to communicate with the speakers, beyond recording their email address at a session. Well, ASTD has now implemented their Speaker Feedback System. You enter the speaker’s first name, last name, and session number. You can then fill out the form and it sends an email to the speaker.

Now, more often than not, I’m a speaker at these events. I already have an inbox of 431 work related emails, not to mention my other email accounts. I am not overly thrilled that this is the tact that ASTD has taken. Sure, it opens up a dialogue with the speaker, which is more than we had before, but email does not open up that big of a dialogue. It’s one on one and does not include group discussion.

This brings me to Masie’s conferences. For every conference, Masie offers a Wiki. Each session has a wiki page, complete with speaker bio and session information. You don’t need to have knowledge of the speaker’s name or session number. You can search on what you’re interested in.

At Learning 2007, I spoke on Blogs. Had you searched the conference wiki for blogs, I would have popped up. It was topic-based search, which is amazingly useful. Not only that, but conversations about the topic could start on the wiki (anyone could participate) before the conference started and continue after the conference ended. As opposed to using handouts, I put all of my resources – most of which were hyperlinks – on the wiki. Folks thought this was brilliant. It’s so much easier to click than to type out a long, nonsensical hyperlink. And because it was a wiki, anyone and everyone could contribute to group discussion beforehand.

Alternatively (and just as easily), ASTD could build a community group on Ning where each session has its own discussion group. Again, this site could be chock full of information and build itself on group input and collaboration. Not only would this help the speakers with their presentations and audience, it would help the attendees by generating useful discussion.

ASTD already requires that speakers create tree-killing handouts that include job aids and workbooks. Now we’re getting direct email as well. Wouldn’t a wiki or discussion forum, where everyone could join into the conversation work better? ASTD also offers fantastic Learning Labs – basically unconferences – where people discuss what they’ve learned so far. These sessions have individual wikis. Imagine integrating these sessions into an overall wiki, where they were searchable and easy to find for everyone. 

Again, I really enjoy the ASTD conferences, and I particularly enjoy the people I meet there. I appreciate the opportunity to speak at TechKnowledge. But I would love to somehow work with them to tweak their conference tools. I love that they’re trying to get attendees and speakers more connected, but I feel like they’re missing out on the opportunity for great discussion.

UPDATE: Just heard from ASTD, and they don’t want a group discussion. This baffles me completely. Group learning, group discussion, INFORMAL LEARNING – that’s the future. Not email. They are also setting up a social network via LinkedIn, so I’m not sure how well that will work. My money is on the idea that they’ll use the built-in discussion group features in LinkedIn and call that ASTD Connect.

Also, they hadn’t thought of a Twitter backchannel. Of course, the great thing about that is we can set it up ourselves if need be. I can’t even describe the amazing DevLearn Twitter backchannel and how much it brought to the conference for me.

I appreciate the effort, but somehow feel like they are missing out on the important points. I often feel like ASTD, and I include my local chapter in this, facilitates Learning 1.0 and sort of looks at Learning 2.0 but shies away like a scared bunny.

What do you think? As a speaker, would you rather have attendees email you or participate in a pre-session discussion? How about as an attendee? Would you rather send an email or participate in an informal, online discussion? I ask because I’m fully willing to admit that I’m wrong on this. Let me know.

Disclaimer: This is my third year leading a session of some sort at TechKnowledge. I am the frustrated webmaster (and recently the VP of Technology) for our local chapter. I’ve tried repeatedly to get on the Planning Committee for TechKnowledge as well – apparently I don’t know the right people. I want to fix this – not complain about it on my blog – but they make it difficult.

If you work in eLearning at all, or you want to learn more about how to integrate new Web 2.0 technologies into your workplace, I’ve got a seminar for you. Plus, it’s amazingly inexpensive.


Dr. Tony Karrer, CEO of TechEmpower, and author of at least two learning-related blogs, is running a seminar on July 15 here in Cincinnati. The seminar is sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati ASTD chapter, but you don’t have to be a member to participate.

Attendees of the  workshop will

  • Experience new tools including blogs, Wikis, social networks, social book marking, RSS readers
  • Learn specific methods you can use to accelerate your own knowledge work and learning
  • Define strategies for eLearning 2.0 for your organization
  • Make a plan for getting an eLearning 2.0 toolset for yourself and your organization

Tony is an expert on innovative uses of technology that improves human performance. He is a sought after presenter on eLearning 2.0 and it’s implications on workplace learning. He is the author of the award winning eLearning Technology blog and recently founded Work Literacy.

The workshop will be held at the NKU METS Center in Erlanger Kentucky. Breakfast and networking will be from 8am-9am. The workshop begins at 9am.

The cost for the workshop is $129 for GCASTD Members and $179 for Non-Members. The price includes breakfast, lunch and GCASTD membership for Non-Members.

For more information or to register for the event, visit the GCASTD web site.


Find Michelle Lentz here on Write Technology, on Twitter, or on Pownce.

Greater Cincinnati ASTD

21 March 2008

If you’re a member of our local chapter of ASTD, please make sure to vote for the proposed slate for this year’s Board of Directors. You should get an email with a link for voting – please check your spam.

You may notice that the positions for Communications and Programming are both open. It’s never too late to volunteer – we’d love to have you!

 | Posted by | Categories: ASTD |

Discussions vs Presentations

21 February 2007

In the last 6 months I’ve attended two conferences: ASTD TechKnowledge and Elliot Masie’s Learning 2006. Despite some overlap in speakers, these were vastly different conferences. While I enjoyed and benefited from attending both, I think I learned more at Masie’s conference, and here’s why.

Elliot gave his speakers strict rules – no presentations and only a 1-page handout. (Granted, several speakers squished as much as possible onto the front and back of the handout.) You could see that several speakers were uncomfortable with this format, apparently wishing they had a PowerPoint presentation to hide behind. In most sessions, however, this setup forced discussion. The speaker was more of a facilitator in many cases, and discussion involved anyone who wanted to speak up. It was a fantastic way to get people actively involved in their learning.

continue reading »

ISD Wiki Update

9 February 2007

Well, after fighting off the flu, the snowstorm, and enjoying the Super Bowl, I finally managed to update the ISD Wiki for the TechKnowledge Learning Labs. I invite everyone to read and contribute. How can we learn if not from each other? From our wiki, you will also find links to the other Learning Lab Wikis. Visit. Contribute. Learn.

 | Posted by | Categories: ASTD, Instructional Design, Web 2.0 |

The conference was quite good. I thought our Learning Labs went over
really well. Informal learning was the topic of the hour, with blogs,
wikis, and Web 2.0 being the instigators. Now that I’m home, and rather
snowbound at that, I’ll be blogging a little more about the conference
over the next few days. In the meantime, here are a few photos and videos of the city that never ever sleeps until I get around to the actual "learning" part of the trip.

Las Vegas is nothing if not surreal. Since our last trip about 4 years ago, a lot has changed. My favorite new thing on the Strip? The Wynn Las Vegas, which has moved my previous favorite, the Bellagio, into second place on my list. The Wynn is insanely classy. I love it there. I love the wine list; I love the bar; I love the use of water everywhere.

We saw Le Reve at the Wynn, which was created by the Cirque du Soleil guy (Franco Dragone) and might as well be Cirque. This show was a marvelous use of dance, acrobatics, swimming, and diving. It was mesmerizing and I loved it.

But by far, the best thing at the Wynn is the Waterfall. Every evening a series of light shows plays across the waterfall, including a giant frog who sings "It’s a Wonderful World."

I also enjoyed downtown Las Vegas/Fremont Street. We hadn’t made it down there on previous trips, and this time we took my friend David. We all had a blast. Fremont Street is the older, cheesier side of Vegas where they still liberally provide free drinks and the coffee shops still have $5.99 steak dinners. The Golden Nugget has been remodeled extensively, turning it into a very classy, old-school Vegas hotel. The pool alone is worth a visit – a twisty, turny water slide tunnels right through a salt water aquarium.

Photos from Las Vegas are here: Flickr Photoset

Video is here:

    * Wynn Waterfall Frog
    * Bellagio Fountain Dance
    * Fremont Street Light Show

 | Posted by | Categories: ASTD, Travel |

Don’t be scared of Web 2.0. It’s like that big shaggy sheepdog that you love. It’s big, but it’s cuddly and friendly. More importantly, it wants to love you and be loved in return.
Poor analogy, eh?

So many times this week I had to stop and explain Web 2.0, so I thought I’d pop those thougts onto the blog as well.

Over the last decade or so, the Web has been this wonderful, evolving creature. Most of us go to the Web to get something, be it travel information, a book from Amazon, weather reports, news … The Web gave and we took away. Just like a living creature, however, the Web has evolved. Now there is the opportunity to give something back. The world just got smaller. In Web 2.0, there is a give and take on all sides.

Blogs and wikis are the current big tools of the Web 2.0 revolution. Why? Well, with a blog, there is commentary on an editorial. Except a blog is usually moderated, and it becomes sort of a conversation in regards to the most recent post, or editorial. Wikis are even more collaborative. Wikis are dynamic, with all users participating, contributing their knowledge. Conversations can happen in the comments, but the actual knowledge grows and changes with each edit to the page. Are wikis always accurate? No, but they are self-correcting. Eventually, a wiki will become accurate.

Does that help at all? The point of these tools, and others like them, is to leverage existing knowledge. We’ve all got knowledge locked away inside our heads. This allows us to get that knowledge out there, share it with our friends and colleagues. Imagine the power of all that existing knowledge applied to learning!

Quick Conference Thoughts

4 February 2007

I promise I’ll blog more about the conference and my favorite sessions next week. Right now I’m still in Las Vegas, looking forward to a Super Bowl party at the Mirage. However, I wanted to get some impressions blogged before they leave me and I need to start referring to notes.
First off, ASTD TechKnowledge went out of its way to hit you over the head with two things: Informal Learning and Web 2.0. These aren’t new concepts for me, and I pretty much evangelize both whenever I can. I don’t think the Informal Learning concept is difficult either. But I think that when you have a bunch of people who are finally adapted to our current world of eLearning, telling them they need to move forward to Web 2.0 tools and let the learner take control, well … it’s going to sink pretty darn fast. It’s just too much information at once.
I cannot tell you how many times I was stopped in the hallways and asked to define Web 2.0. The concept of the Web evolving and moving forward is getting tangled up in all sorts of other things. I’ll define it in another post here in a minute.
I will say that my two favorite speakers were Jay Cross (& Company) and Lance Dublin. I’ve never heard Lance speak before. He didn’t say anything I didn’t already know, but I was blown away by his in-your-face presentation style. I was incredibly disappointed in Bob Pike, who attempted to tie his wonderful public speaking skills into a webinar demonstration (presumably to fit in with the Tech of TechKnowledge) and sank like a lead balloon. The Thursday morning keynote was an academic-type speaker who referenced, among other things, his thesis. Quite boring. The Learning Labs, which I helped lead, seemed to go over well, at least for the eLearning Developers and Instructional Designer sections. (To all those in my ISD Learning Lab, I will update the Wiki when I’m back in the real world on Tuesday. I promise.)
So, I’m off to see desert-loving penguins at the Flamingo and then head on to the Super Bowl party. May your favorite team win!

 | Posted by | Categories: ASTD |

What happens in Vegas …

29 January 2007

Comes home from Vegas. At least this time.

I haven’t planned out my entire schedule yet, but I do know that the creation stations, especially one for Articulate Engage, are high on my list. I hope to return from ASTD TechKnowledge with new information on authoring tools and instructional design techniques – and more information on my favorite subject, informal learning.

If you’re attending ASTD TechKnowledge 2007, please come by my Learning Lab that I’m co-moderating with Mark Steiner.

Instructional Design Learning Labs
Skybox 209/210
Wednesday, 12:30  – 1:30 pm and 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Thursday, 12:15 -1:30 pm and 5:30 – 6:30 pm

 | Posted by | Categories: ASTD |