Friday, July 20, 2012

Meeting other Learning Pros PT3- ASTD Mt Diablo

The week after my first meetings with Bay Area learning pros at the AIN Bay Area Chapter and the ASTD Golden Gate I headed out east to Mt Diablo and another ASTD chapter to meet some folks.

 The title for this session was "Scriptwriting for Instructional Designers: Process, Techniques, Options" and it was presented by Myron Maciejewski who teaches a class at SFSU on the same topic.
It was a fun and informative session and I learned a heap there that made me think about the way I create 'video' interactions in the eLearning I produce.
One thing that he mentioned that I want to share is that he sees there being 3 Presentation Genres.
Thinking back I have my own (rather simplistic) explanation of those genres.
  • In Demonstration videos you show HOW something is DONE.
  • In Documentary videos you show WHAT HAPPENS.
  • In Dramatization videos you show HOW something HAPPENS.

But this chapter meeting was as much about networking and meeting fellow Learning Professionals as it was about the content of the program.

I got to meet a bunch of colleagues and share ideas around Learning and Development with them. I was reminded about the importance of visual thinking by one fellow participant and brought up an idea that another thought was exactly what she needed. 

It's this sort of sharing that makes me love the ASTD chapters and will very likely have me returning to Mt Diablo in the near future.

Happy Learning

Friday, July 13, 2012

Meeting other Learning Pros PT2- ASTD Golden Gate

As mentioned in my last Post I attended two meeting this week with people who share my passions.
The first detailed here was the Bay Area AIN Chapter meeting.
The other meeting I attended this week was my first chapter meeting with the Golden Gate chapter of ASTD

As regular readers will know I've been a member of the Chicagoland Chapter (CCASTD)  for a while. I stepped up and became a Chapter Leader in the Fall of 2011when I took on the role of VP Finance for my chapter.
But moving to a new city means it's going to be hard to stay active with CCASTD and so I joined my new local chapter: The Golden Gate Chapter.

I had been booked to attend the June meeting but I missed it when I had to go to the UK suddenly. So July came around and I went to my first meeting.

The first thing that struck me was that this event was in Downtown San Francisco.  Pretty much all the events that CCASTD have hosted over the last year or so have been out in the burbs due to the high costs of a downtown location.  But ASTDGG managed to partner with San Francisco State University and had a location on Market St in the heart of downtown SF.

The next thing I noticed was the variety of people attending.  This meeting was entitled "Relationship Selling is Dead! An Update on What’s Working in Sales NOW" and was led by Lenann Gardner. So clearly this was aimed at Sales Trainers but there were a bunch of other people from various L&D roles there as well.

Lenann did a great job, with what must be an unusual audience for her. She typically speaks with people who are currently selling for a living, or at least have a sales background. But the ASTDGG event was full of people like me. Workplace Learning & Performance professionals. Many of them were Sales trainers but not all by any means. So I have to admire the way she brought the techniques to life for people for whom 'selling' usually means trying to persuade someone in senior management of their organizations to invest in technology or resources for them.

As I had my laptop with me I tweeted my key learning points from the event. If you want to see what I learned take a look at my twitter stream from that evening. Incidentally although they put up the #ASTDGG hash tag on the whiteboard and mentioned it I think I was the only one tweeting from the meeting. I find that surprising. I have gotten used to a strong back-channel at ASTD and CCASTD events and was expecting one here as well. I wonder if that is what normally happens in this chapter.

One other interesting thing was that there was 15 minutes assigned at the end of the networking and dinner portion of the evening for a new members / guests orientation. During this Bruce the VP of membership told us a bit about the chapter and what it can offer new and potential members. I loved that they did this. It's clear that they also make use of Second Life for virtual orientations and the presentation he gave was on that platform. Unfortunately he only had his laptop and it wasn't set up with a big projector. I have to wonder if this was a case of the technology getting in the way of the message.

So two meetings in a week and a start at connecting with Learning Pros in my new city.  I'll keep you up to date with how these relationships build as time goes on.

Happy Learning

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Meeting other Learning Pros PT1 AIN Bay Area

I love meeting other people who share my passions. I'm sure I'm not alone in that, It must be why so many professional groups exist, and why people go to watch the Chicago Cubs even though they never win anything (but that's another subject)

Now I'm settling in my new city I'm looking for these sorts of people and I know just where to find them.
So this week I got the chance to attend two meetings.

On Tuesday evening I joined other passionate about applied improvisation and attended the Bay Area AIN chapter meeting. At that meeting Rich Cox and William Hall facilitated a session on debriefing and handling difficult participants. (in the world of serendipity, almost as I typed those words my e-mail popped up with a message from the Bob Pike group with virtually the same title- freaky!)  They were using techniques that they had learned from Thiagi. they are both certified to teach Thiagi's 1 and 3 day classes. Regular readers will know how much of a fan I am of Thiagi and his work around Rapid Instructional Design and it was a pleasure to see two master practitioners at work using it.

The evening started off with a warm up game based on a game developed by Augusto Boal and learned by Rich at the AIN conference in Amsterdam a couple of years back when Adrian Jackson was our special guest.
We briefly debriefed that one and then went on to the main part of the evening where went through a simple activity and then debriefed it. We then debriefed the debrief.

Meta Debrief

At an AIN event or whenever training trainers or facilitators this is a common pattern.

Rich and William worked through 6 questions in the structure of the debrief.
  1. How did that feel?
  2. What happened?
  3. What was learned?
  4. How does it relate (to.....)?
  5. What if.....?
  6. What is next?
There was some discussion about if #1 and #2 are interchangeable. I had always learned to debrief the facts before debriefing the feelings. William pointed out that close to 90% of the answers to 'How did that feel?' from our group (who are improvisers and facilitators, so happy to talk about feelings) were actually answers to 'What happened?'

There was also discussion about how this related to Kolb's learning cycle and the Kirkpatrick 4 levels.

After a brief break for snacks we went into part two where following a Thiagi designed structure they facilitated a discussion on difficult participants. Using this structure, we the learners, came up with a long list of types of difficult participants, decided which were the ones we thought were most worth coming up with strategies for, came up with strategies and decided which ones would be most likely to work. All of this was done without and 'content' input from the facilitators (or virtually none) but under their guidance and withing their structure.
Thiagi refers to this approach with two of his RID principles
Build the plane while flying it
Let the inmates run the asylum

As this has taken me far longer to write up than I planned I'll close off here and share my experiences at the Golden Gate Chapter of ASTD chapter meeting in a follow up posting.