I wrote earlier how the word “training” was making a comeback after a brief period of exile (“Back in Style“). During the conference, I participated in several great concurrent sessions on enhancing training delivery using technology, including:

  • Gamification with Robert Gadd
  • Mobile learning, with Clark Quinn
  • Preparing for success in virtual training with Cindy Huggett

I’ll attempt here to tie these loosely together, selecting a few highlights from each.


GreenStampsI decided some time ago I dislike the term, “Gamification.” Honestly it’s irritating me to use it here four times. Still, the more I hear the mechanics of it, the more I think my dislike starts and ends with the word itself. As Robert Gadd said, “Games are everywhere.” Even the concept of gamification isn’t new. S&H Green Stamps and scouting merit badges are classic examples. But in training, the emphasis isn’t on brand loyalty or (in the case of scouting) on achievement – it’s on engagement. Creating buzz that drives people to engage with training in some relevant way. I’ll be exploring this more in the months to come, but it falls into technology in training to me.

Mobile Learning

Clark Quinn had some of the clearest slides that made it obvious to me how mobile is a fundamentally different means of learning than “elearning to go,” but he merged this with a strong case for informal mobile learning. The concept was so simple and profound, I’m including snapshots of two slides below. The one on the left shows the value of formal learning versus informal learning as a function of expertise. Clearly as one becomes more expert, the value of formal activity falls and that of informal activities – allowing the expert to become even more expert – increases. The diagram on the right shows the way we interact with our mobile devices is fundamentally different than the way we interact with portable devices.


Figures courtesy Clark Quinn

The intersection between these two concepts to me is profound, since mobile devices are with us virtually all the time, allowing us to further develop expertise at precisely the moment a thought strikes us (I noted Dan Steer was recording live short videos throughout the conference as inspiration struck him, clearly evidencing some of Clark’s points).

“If the design is not right, it doesn’t matter how you implement it. If the design is right, there are lots of ways to implement it.”

Virtual Training

Cindy Huggett’s presentation I almost pushed into my next post on enhancing training delivery – many of her tips and pointers could equally well apply to all training, whether it’s live or virtual. As Cindy said,

“It’s not about the technology it’s about the mindset.”

In the end, I kept it here because it’s so tightly integrated with technology. Perhaps that’s best exemplified by this quote from Cindy:

“Not every classroom trainer makes a good online facilitator.”

In addition to several specific pointers for success, Cindy had three general points about ensuring success in virtual training that are worth remembering and repeating here:

  1. Prepare the facilitators
  2. Prepare the participants
  3. Get the details right

Cindy’s handout is available online here and stands alone as valuable information if you’re leading or managing virtual training.

Next, I’ll wrap up my reflections on #ASTD2013 with a brief recap of several concurrent sessions on enhancing training delivery.

Thanks for reading!


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