Embracing Elearning: CIASTD Keynote

I had the chance today to take part in the Fall Conference of Central Indiana Chapter of ASTD. It was a fabulous event, and we were lucky to have David Anderson, Community Manager of Articulate, as the keynote. I took some notes and I thought this might be a good chance to share.

Two fun facts: David can do some impressive work in Second Life.  He recreated the conference room in SL before the start of the 8:30 am keynote. He also has three pets: chickens. The chickens have their own blog. (I couldn’t find the chickens’  blog, but I did locate David’s take on Multimedia Learning.)

While Second Life is impressive and new, the reality is, many elearning developers still need more help creating master slides and reduced bullets than 3D worlds. The 2009 Horizon Report says that cloud computing and mobile technology will be the big new items this year, but we’re still struggling with the basics.

According to a recent eLearning Guild report, 22.8% and 18.6% of learning professionals have felt some or moderate pressure to use new technologies in their learning. Conferences often focus on the new and upcoming technologies… we could use help with the basics. Two or three years ago, we just started hearing about blogs, wikis, and social networks; now the majority are involved in at least one of the three.

We have to wear many hats, as instructional designers, elearning designers, elearning developers, graphic artists, and multi media producers. Add in figuring out the next big thing, and we find ourselves feeling the pressure.

Thinking about our elearning, we need to focus on three things:

  • Adapability: We’ve not adapted to our business as the business would like we need to adapt. They won’t learn our language, so we need to get better at communicating. Instead of expecting them to understand our jargon, use language they understand. Think about the adapation that newspapers have undergone; we should be ready to make the same kind  of changes.
  • Agility: Agile elearning needs to be reusable, editable, searchable, accessible, and shareable. As instructional designers, we need to be able to use some basic tools. There are now photo, audio, and video editing tools online that can do decent jobs.
  • Anticipation: We have a tendency to hold onto the magic of what we do. We need to get better at showing others in the organization how they can do what we do. Maybe we set up some templates and create a set of standards to give them guidance, and then help them as they start their work.

We need to embrace elearning and work together to help each other with the basics. We need to stay connected: talk to peers, use working labs, access experts, and create a personal brand. 


Thanks for a great presentation David! It was wonderful to hear such a different take on elearning from the usual conference keynotes. Instead of reaching for the newest technology, my challenge for the rest of the year will be to take your advice and look to see what I can do better with the technology I already know.

BLP Presentations at Annual CIASTD Conference

We’ll be presenting two breakout sessions at this year’s annual CIASTD conference. If you’re in the Indy area, I encourage you to register for the conference and plan on meeting us there! The sessions we’re presenting are:

Better, Faster, Smarter: Using templates and management techniques to efficiently design and develop e-learning

  • Tired of e-learning projects that take too long to design and develop?
  • Feel like you’re reinventing the wheel each time you create a new course?
  • Need help managing the expectations of subject-matter experts as well as course programmers and writers?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then this session is for you. In the workshop, Shelby Watts and Jennifer Bertram will share what they learned on a recent project where they managed the concurrent design and development of 10 e-learning courses in a curriculum.


Beyond Page Turning: Which technologies should you choose?

Presented by Gayle Beebe, Lisa Meece, and Sharon Boller, you’ll:

1. Explore an array of technologies and social networks and assess
the pro’s and con’s of each as a learning tool.

2. Identify key considerations when deciding whether to incorporate a
new technology or tool.

3. Identify a process for exploring and evaluating a new technology.

4. Leave with an evaluation matrix that will help them do ongoing
evaluations as new technologies and tools emerge.

Keep up with Training Trends – Use Email Alerts

Sometimes we training folks are like the cobblers with no shoes. We’re so busy helping others learn that we forget to keep our own skill set up to date!

We’re lucky to have great professional organizations like ASTD and ISPI to support the profession. But let’s be honest, attending even the local meetings can sometimes be hard if I know I’ll have to work late to catch up from the work missed by being at the seminar.  I attended the CIASTD monthly meeting today and it was the first one I had been to in a while. I really enjoyed connecting with the other attendees, and kicked myself for not attending more often. (A shameless plug – BLP is the platinum sponsor of the annual CIASTD fall conference on November 5. Sign-up today; it will be great!)

An easier way for me to get just-in-time updates and training is through email alerts.  Alerts are different than RSS feeds (I’m sure you’re already subscribing to the LOL feed!) Alerts send me a summary email of blogs, websites, or videos that are posted about the topics I care about.

I don’t have to already know that there’s a great blog on e-learning out there; my search engine will go out and find it for me. How great is that?!? I’m a Google girl, but I’m sure that Yahoo and other engines will do the same thing for. Here are instructions for how to set up alerts using your Google account.

One of my alerts scans blogs for “e-learning”.  I get a summary email every day and can quickly see if anything looks interesting. This week I read some great posts that I would not have had time to go out and find on my own, like this post from Cathy Moore. The alerts let me poke my head in on the conversations others are having, and decide which ones I want to engage in.

So take a moment this week to set up an alert on a training topic you care about; you might be suprised what you find! Then think about, “How could my organization use RSS feeds and alerts to keep up with changes in our field?”