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Learning2013: Will It Blend?

Expect More! Learning 2013: Will It Blend? @michaeljnobleI’ve just returned from Elliot Masie’s Learning2013 conference in Orlando. I’ve always liked this particular conference because I come away with a lot of inspiration—some of which comes from the conference and some of which comes from simply having the time and opportunity to reflect. This time around, I also had the chance to co-present with our CEO—yet another opportunity for thinking through things. The session was on remixing your learning solutions with new modalities, approaches, etc. I first presented on this topic at a client event a few months ago.  Learning in their organization had become synonymous with boring, so we were exploring ways to refresh, reimagine, and reinvent what had become overly institutionalized, templated, and dumbed down.

If you think about it, conferences themselves can be catalysts for mixing things up in both how you think and how you execute on your ideas. Sometimes the innovative ideas seem so out of reach that you question the practical value of the conference. Years ago, when YouTube was starting to get popular, a popular meme posed the question, will it blend? I found myself remembering that question this past week as I was thinking about remixing and considering how my favorite insights from the conference might work together.

I don’t have the blend worked out yet, but I thought I’d summarize the various ingredients I’ve collected in (loose) association with the conference:

  • Set a goal for myself to take a MOOC after listening to Martin Bean of the Open U
  • Wasted too much time on the simple but sticky, intending to make a top-10 list of instructional uses for top-10 lists
  • Heard (finally) that modalities could be transparent (Richard Culatta) and that we can (again, finally) drop the e from e-learning
  • Engaged by Hilary Clinton’s Q&A; thought a little about her comments on early childhood education and homes that foster a learning environment—similar thing is true of learning workplaces and adults, right?
  • Determined to test out Craig Weber’s conversational model that posits candor and curiosity on a spectrum. See his book on Conversational Capacity
  • Felt ready to challenge conventional thinking around personalization—not the idea that we need to personalize but how we personalize (are we falling back on face-to-face rather than working out the problem of tech personalization?)
  • Played with the 3D printer in the hallway (what will learning’s technologies for mass specialization be?)
  • Surprised and delighted by response to our remixing session; seemed to validate that designers and their learners are both done with the unoriginal, overly templated, and generic
  • Considered implications of Betsy Sparrow’s research on memory but found myself curious about the relationships between memory and intelligence (conventional wisdom likes to disconnect them but can we do that? That seems too easy)
  • Loved Tom and David Kelley’s new book Creative Confidence, particularly the parts about flipped thinking (just some reading related to my presentation)
  • Kept a running list of buzzwords that included personalization, content curation, branding, big data, gamification, badges, etc.
  • Enjoyed seeing how our client work stacks up against what’s cutting edge in the industry and felt proud to have a client sing our praises. Thanks Victoria at HP!

I’m already putting all of this into my mental blender, and I’m excited about future remixes. If you were at Masie’s Learning2013 conference, what are some of your takeaways? How are you remixing things in your organization?