When I attend conferences, I take a lot of notes (old school, handwritten in a notebook notes). Over the years, I’ve found that it’s helpful to review those notes after the conference to pull out one or two key takeaways from each session I attend. Learning Solutions 2022 was the first in-person event I have attended since the beginning of the pandemic, and it felt good to reconnect with people I’ve met before and to make new connections.
Fast Tracking Your Branching Scenario
I led a pre-conference workshop for the first time this year. This was effectively “build a branching scenario in 1 day,” a compressed version of my larger branching scenario course. Overall, I was happy with how it went, even though I only had 3 participants (plus a volunteer). The conference overall was smaller this year than in past years, and that meant workshop attendance was down too. But, the smaller group meant we could do “show and tell” all together so we saw everyone else’s branching scenarios.
Wednesday, April 20
Morning Buzz on xAPI
Megan Torrance led a Morning Buzz discussion on xAPI. While there were other discussions about how to encourage adoption of xAPI, get the right data, and present it in a way that helps guide decisions, I got something very specific out of the conversation. I’ve been trying to figure out how to get xAPI to work with Twine to track participation and scores. Kristin Anthony was part of a past xAPI Cohort and did an xAPI-enabled Twine project. I’m planning to review her project to see if I can get it working with my conditional feedback example.
Keynote: Embrace the Shake
The first keynote by Phil Hansen was interesting because it was so interactive. Hansen has an app to create collaborative art projects where everyone draws on their phones. These small pictures will become part of a larger mosaic art project.
One of my takeaways from the keynote is that a self-limiting belief is not the same as a limitation. We do have limitations that we can’t necessarily change, but our beliefs about those limitations are within our control.
How to Use TikTok Videos as Part of Your Learning Culture
It was great to finally get to meet Vanessa Alzate in person! This session was less about using the TikTok app and more about how we can take elements of these short-form videos and use them for training and onboarding. I like the formula of question and solution, focused on a single, narrow topic for microlearning. Software videos showing one trick (not trying to show every feature at once) also could be used in a lot of contexts.
How to Succeed as an L&D Manager
One idea from Dawn Tedesco’s session was that sometimes managers think they told their employees something repeatedly, but they really just rehearsed it in their heads 100 times and didn’t really clearly communicate it.
Create Your First Learning Game in 60 Minutes
This session was on Twine. I knew this was likely going to be mostly review for me, but I was interested to see how someone else would teach an introduction to Twine. I liked the ideas on how to organize stories, with movement from left to right signalling success. Failure in a choice is shown by moving passages down; success is at the top.
I also appreciated seeing some new examples of games built in Twine. Nanopesos is an economic simulator, and something like this could easily be used for training or education.
Is Your Topic Like Watching Paint Dry?
I always try to catch Diane Elkins’ sessions at conferences because I always pick up something new, even in presentations where I’ve seen it (or a similar version) before. One of my key takeaways was Diane’s single word to guide L&D: Decisions.
“We are in the business of helping people make decisions.”-Diane Elkins
Thursday, April 21
Morning Buzz: Best Practices for Designing & Developing Scenarios
I led a Morning Buzz session about designing and developing scenarios. We had a great discussion about some of the challenges of scenarios. The group shared a number of tips about what’s working for them (and what isn’t working).
Keynote: The Future of Work is Here
Crystal Washington’s keynote was about how we’re changing technology, but technology is changing us, too. She said that “the future leaves us Easter eggs” so we can see what’s coming, but it can be hard to see those signs when we’re in the middle of it.
It was also great to reconnect with Kari Word. Juan Mavo-Navarro and I had also chatted about scenarios at a previous LSCon. We did some activities together during the keynote (although we would have gotten poisoned once based on our choices!).
Guild Master Panel: What L&D Needs to Hear
This was a panel with Julie Dirksen, Nick Floro, Megan Torrance, and Ron Price. The discussion covered a lot of topics, but one idea I thought I could use was about talking to stakeholders. Ask SMEs about their own learning experiences. How long did it take you to get good at this? What was helpful when you were learning? What worked for you? Then it’s clear that a 30-minute elearning isn’t going to be a complete solution to a problem. Stakeholders will bring up other solutions and be more open.
Set the Stage: Make eLearning Relevant and Authentic with Scenarios
This was my presentation on how to get the right details in scenarios to make them feel relevant and authentic to learners. This session expands on the 4 Cs framework I’ve written about before (characters, context, challenges, consequences).
Designing for Neurodiversity
Judy Katz presented on designing for neurodivergence, especially for autism and ADHD. A lot of the discussion was about the language we use when talking about neurodivergence. For example, one new thing I learned was to use neurodivergent rather than neurodiversity, especially if you’re talking about a single person. One person can’t be “diverse” on their own (makes sense, right?). I’m looking forward to going through Judy’s resources later to see some more of the tips for designing learning with neurodivergence in mind.
I had the honor to be part of the panel discussion on workflow learning with two legends in our industry, Ray Jimenez and Bob Mosher. One of Bob’s points was that we’ve been doing learning in work for a long time. You’re working on something, you get stuck, you go log into the LMS or whatever to find the course and look up what you need, and then you go back to work. But that means pausing your work to do the needed learning. Workflow learning means learning while working, not just learning in work.
Friday, April 22
Storytelling for Learning
I forgot to grab a photo of Hadiya Nuriddin from her Morning Buzz discussion on storytelling for learning Friday morning, but I did get this one of her with Dawn Mahoney after dinner Thursday night.
Hadiya made a great point about when stories are important for training: Stories add context. The further the learners are from the context of the training, the more they need a story. For example, if it’s just an upgrade to an accounting system that they already know and use daily, they don’t need a story. They can already envision what success will look like with the upgrade. If it’s new employees who are switching careers and working in a new field, they’re pretty far removed from the context. Stories can help them see the difference between their current state and desired state, as well as how to get there.
I ended up missing DemoFest (since I went out to dinner with Hadiya and Dawn instead), so I wanted to see all the winnners. Diane Elkins showed a training on difficult conversations with 4 very short scenarios, all following a specific model. One of the interesting parts of this was that it wasn’t just about choosing the right response, but also breaking down why the best response was effective. Each scenario was structured a little differently, with the highest support at the beginning and then removing the scaffolding piece by piece until the final scenario.
Custom xAPI in Storyline
I’ve been meaning to try out the new xAPI statement features in Storyline since it came out, but I hadn’t had the time. I’m actually kind of glad now that I didn’t, because it was much more efficient to get Jeff Batt’s step-by-step walk through than to fumble through on my own. One of the things I probably would have missed is that you aren’t restricted to just the verbs Storyline includes in the dropdown. You can edit it and use other verbs from registry.tincanapi.com. You can’t edit the actor in the built-in statement though (at least not currently).
Thanks, Learning Guild!
Thanks to Sierra, Mark, David, Jeff, Pam, and everyone else from the Learning Guild for a great conference! I hope to see you all next year!