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TechLearn 2
Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Robby Robson is very savvy on learning standards. Two issues dominate the standards conversation today. The first is the convergence of standards, i.e. the recognition that learning standards must cross boundaries, for example learning and multimedia. Second is IP, intellectual property. Copyright law forbids the reproduction of documents. This makes common practices on the internet technically illegal (e.g. verifying compliance with a reference model). This one’s going to be incredibly tough to figure out.

The Expo

Three aisles of 10x10. Last year, the expo booths faced center-of-aisle tables, which made for good schmooze. This year it was narrow aisles.

I'll admit that I no longer try to talk with lots of vendors. Instead, I ask cognoscenti what's hot and home in on those. What did I see?

Grassroots Learning is a PowerPoint converter with a twist. Left in the hands of amateurs, death-by-PowerPoint slides are converted into death-by-PowerPoint training. Grassroots adds an instructional framework and design templates. For marketing departments and others tasked with preparing training resources but lacking instructional designers, (think of, say, a marketing department) Grassroots makes great sense.

Lee Kraus, Advanstar

The Marriott Marquis Hotel

Marriott must have hired the Mad Hatter as architect for the Marquis, probably the most confusing hotel I’ve ever been to. Once you find the front door (it’s between two storefronts on Broadway, behind the tank traps, with discreet signage, given that everything else fronting on Times Square is over-the-top, garish, gigantic advertising propaganda.

Throughout TechLearn, none of the elevators opened up on the ground floor, so you’re required to use the narrow escalator. Since half of the elevators on the upper levels are kaput while being renovated, the wait there takes forever. Most of the time I played their silly game of taking the escalators. At least one escalator was broken most of the time we were there. TechLearn Registration was on the 5th floor. Mega-sessions and keynotes were on 6. Breakouts were on 7. (Hotel registration was on 8.) Some breakouts were in tiny rooms which quickly filled to capacity. Others were down a couple of narrow hallways. Half the room signs there were covered up. A hotel employee happily pointed me to the wrong room. When Tom Peters went into overtime, all sessions were delayed 15 minutes, but no one informed the presenters to follow (they were out of the room setting up). None of the signs were modified. While some rooms were overflowing, others were totally empty. I’ll admit that I’ve had a problem with Marriott ever since the elevators broke when I was staying in Dallas, no one could tell us when they’d be fixed, the staff really didn’t seem to care, and I ended up fuming as I carried my son up to our room on the 8th floor. Bill sent me an apology but sheesh; this outfit should really invest a little in its customer service.

The Party

I don’t mean to be a grouch. The turkey was good. The wine and beer flowed freely. But Planet Hollywood is not a good spot for a party where networking is on the agenda. Loud music, dark corners, a focus on gambling with fake chips. Ugh.

Extreme Times Call for Extreme Learning


Speed of Business. Speedometer reading for your business, but one that you can set.

Readiness???!!! Speed of learning determines the speed of your business. Time to market.

Time to compliance. In the coming year, 50% to 60% of training revenue will come from compliance. Elliott is on several boards; all of them require training in Sarbanes-Oxley; there’s no certification, so he has to take it again and again.

Audience participation: Hire and train 500 to 1000 people for a new project. You have a month. Extreme On-boarding. Do things in parallel. Re-sequence the pieces. Start the orientation before they apply. Do a readiness exercise at your company.

Most Consortium members undergoing major change.

Three things to take away:
  1. Tidal waves of games and simulations. Not games, but game tech.
  2. Small chunks aggregated
  3. Expertise location

Jay's presentation

Only time for a summary right now.


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