Recap of Elliot Masie's Learning 2011 Conference

Recap of Elliot Masie's Learning 2011 Conference
November 29, 2011

I recently returned from Elliott Masie’s Learning 2011 conference in Orlando and was among more than 2,046 attendees. 

After last year’s conference I ended my blog with:
“Will the same topics still be "the buzz" next year?  My opinion, yes, and I feel that next year we won't be discussing "if" social media and delivering mobile learning is an important business strategy, but instead "what tools has your organization implemented, that support these strategies?" 

I am happy to say my prediction was accurate!

I remember last year seeing a handful of tablet users and stalking them to get a gander at the cool new technology. This year over half of the audience had tablets, including myself, and the conference bag was not the usual backpack, but a wonderful tablet carrier. There were very few that stuffed their laptops in them!

I always love mobile statistics and one in particular that caught my ear, was that 40 countries will have more people with mobile access than with access to home electricity.  One of the resounding themes was the thousands of expensive flash assets created, that now do not work on most mobile devices.  I noticed the HTML5/CSS3/JavaScript developers with the huge smiles on their faces! With HTML5 approaching maturity and particularly in the light of Adobe's recent announcement that they plan to stop supporting Flash for mobile devices, the theme around the water cooler was that it will be important to be ready. These discussions were referring to the highly interactive, simulations that can be developed in Flash. 

In many cases, learning needs to be created quickly and easily by any business person.  The content needs to be delivered in bite-sized pieces and easily updated. We know that mobile learning is about accessibility and trackability, both of which Brainshark provides.  If you have a single timeline video that does not include interactivity, it will play in Brainshark on any mobile device

Many of the same themes were still popular, generating lots of discussion:

  • Learning Agility

  • Affordances VS. Hype of new technology

  • Is Instructional Design as we know it today dead?

  • Performance Support

  • Leadership Development

  • On boarding Strategies

  • LMS, LCMS & Learning Systems

  • Learning Strategies

  • Learning Apps & Clouds   

  • Impact vs. ROI   

  • Learning Globally   

  • Learning "Socially"

  • Learning Governance

  • Mentoring & Coaching

I do think it is worth mentioning that this year’s keynotes stole the show!  President Clinton was the first keynote speaker.   President Clinton’s described the challenge of globalization, emphasizing our growing interdependence, and emphasized the way toward a common future based on shared goals and values. 

Actor John Lithgow was the second keynote and stressed the power of storytelling in learning and we had the pleasure of him performing an incredible 1 person, 1 act play, where he played all the characters.

The third keynote speaker was Dean Kamen. As an inventor and physicist, Dean Kamen has dedicated his life to developing technologies that help people lead better lives. FIRST is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization devoted to helping young people discover and develop a passion for science, engineering, technology, and math. The annual programs culminate in an international robotics competition and celebration where teams win recognition, gain self confidence, develop people and life skills, make new friends, and perhaps discover an unforeseen career path.  My children’s high school participates in this program and it is a wonderful organization worth reading about  To date they have 294,000 students, 26,900 teams, 90,000 mentors and 24,300 robots. 

Who knows? Maybe this year’s robotic competition will be tasked to program a robot to cleanly convert all of those Flash assets to work on all mobile devices!  Care to predict?