Monday, February 2, 2009

TK 09 Virtual Experience

In participating in the ASTD TKo9 Virtual conference, there were two "channels" to experience a subset of the sessions. Virtual TK participants voted for ten sessions to be videotaped. Both keynotes (David Pogue and Tony Karrer) were taped along with sessions covering virtual worlds; ROI; authoring tools future focus; social networking; implementing "readiness;" creative training techniques for webinars; expediting development/deployment of elearning and facilitation skills for E-trainers. 26 eWebEx sessions were presented live as a shoter version of the actual session as well as five vendor spotlights. Anthony Allen provided an orientation to the conference and WebEx environment and three archived sessions by the TK Program Advisory committee as background/marketing.

I found the live webinars the most satisfying and best learning experience. Here you were engaged though chat for feedback, quizzes and serious/silly questions. One presenter actually called upon us for questions. A few presenters called on up to come to the blackboard and indicate a preference or vote. Best live seasons for me ( in no particular order):
  • Lance Dublin - Keys to Successful E-Learning Implementation.Lance stresses the importance of marketing elearning internally; think consumer-style marketing. He introduced I3 Change Implementation planning tool: Inform, Involve, Integrate.
  • Jared Palmer - Open-Source Applications for Designer-Developed E-Learning. Great collection of OS tools. I'm playing two new apps GIMP and myUdutu.
  • Georgianna Marie - Virtual Classroom Instruction: Strategies for Keeping Learners Engaged. Here I was called on from Las Vegas, great application of face to face techniques within the VC. Tip: assign learners into groups ahead of time.
  • Darlene Christopher - Facilitating Virtual Events: Success Factors from the World Bank Group. Great session with practical tips for those presenting to global learners. Extra benefit, I found her blog: Web Conferencing.
  • Will Thalheimer - Measuring Learning TK Results: Research Insights for Better Evaluation Designs. Will proposed that we leverage evaluation to support learning, to prove value to the organization and to improve design.
  • Peggy Page - Zero to 60: Launching E-Learning, a case study in launching elearning within a bank.
  • Andrew Jefferson - Learning Transfer: How to Fix the Weakest Link in E-Learning. Andrew discussed the 6Ds - Define, Design, Deliver, Drive, deploy and Document and provided a learning transfer scorecard.
The taped sessions we're not so satisfying. Very passive and camera is locked in a wide shot. The Sonicfoundary Mediasite application provides a small window of the presenter and slides or desktop. You can arrange either window to what suits you. Taping works for keynotes since that's a show. However for other sessions, not so much. Audio with a panel discussion was awfully low requiring the listener to crank it up to 11. Audience questions and comments are unintelligible. Group activities in the room provide the atmosphere of waiting for the press announcement on cable news.

Taped sessions that worked for me were:
  • Patti Phillips - Measuring ROI in E-Learning
  • Frank Nguyen - Five Things Your Authoring Tool Will Do by 2013
  • Brent Schlenker - Social Networking: From Organizational Chart to Circle of Influence
  • Jean Barbazette - Facilitation Skills for E-Trainers
  • the two keynotes
One session on virtual worlds was plagued by presenter PC issues that chewed up a significant amount of time; Vista 1, learners null.

The archived WebEx sessions only provided the slides and presenter's audio. We lost the richness as well as context of the chats when referenced by the presenter.

All in all, great effort by ASTD in this inaugural attempt. Great value too at $199 for ASTD members. Only a few technical glitches in the WebEx using VOIP. A couple of speaker's sessions cancelled and we're not back filled. This also happens in the real world. I made new connections via the LinkedIn site. And I didn't have the expense, along with the noise and smoke, of visiting Las Vegas. I'll do this again.

Annoyances - speakers that proclaim their handouts/slides are on the website. Less than 50% have their material posted on the conference site. ASTD should require all presenters to make their materials available at least in draft form.

My tip: In attending webinars and in note taking, I do screen captures to aid in compiling session notes. Jing is a great tool for this purpose. Rember, this is streamed content and will not have the highest resolution. Once compiled, I trash the slides to save HDD space.

1 comment:

  1. Don:
    This is a great recap of the experience. I attended virtually as well and agree with the comments on the video for keynotes only as well as missing the chat on webinars.
    I also would have liked to have more interaction with the real-life attendees. Though there were a few twitter folks sharing info, it would have made the experience more enriching if there were more..and maybe even ustream broadcasts of sessions or social activities!
    Thanks again for your summaries!


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