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Online workshop report: Training 2002 Conference and Expo, Atlanta


This is the transcript from the online workshop live from the Training 2002 Conference and Expo, Atlanta, held on 19 February 2002.

Peter Cox Hello everyone - this is Peter Cox in Atlanta - why don't you do a one line introduction as you join me?

Debbie Kingsley Hello - this is Debbie in Warwickshire, England.

Krista Reid Good day Peter - I am in New Brunswick, Canada and I work for Innovatia, an e-learning company.

Dominic Ward Hi I'm Dominic, I am a Global Program manager, focusing on education and development issues, with a US technology company based in Scotland.

Peter Cox Welcome both - is it early morning in New Brunswich too?
Krista Reid 9am.

Peter Cox Not too bad.

Krista Reid Not quite as early a start as it is for you.

Peter Cox Right Krista - a 6.30 wake up when jet lagged is really early!

Krista Reid Is it nice and warm in Atlanta today?

Peter Cox Bit early to tell ! But yesterday was sunny and warm - almost T-shirt weather.

Peter Cox As usual we'll wait a few moments for stragglers ...have any of you used this online event space before?

Dominic Ward No.

Krista Reid Not me.

Debbie Kingsley First timer.

Peter Cox That's great - you've got the hang of it ..Let's get started - I've got some notes to share - but really it's up to you to interrupt, ask questions, just like real life.

Peter Cox Welcome once again to Training 2002 in Atlanta. It's my fifth Training Expo - four of them held here in Atlanta. And it's the show's 25th anniversary so something must be right! I said last year that there's nothing like it in Europe for the HR professional, and that's still the case. It looks to me as though recession over here and 11 September have taken a toll of the show and the business. Attendance is down about 25% to 5000-ish attendees (just five thousand!!). And the Expo hall is distinctly thin on the ground. But it's still a great place to see what's going on in the training world. Has anyone been to anything like this?

Dominic Ward No.

Krista Reid Me neither. Our company has though.

Peter Cox You need pretty good planning to decide what to do with over 250 sessions!

Debbie Kingsley I've never been to a conference with more than 500 or so attendees.

Krista Reid Who are the average attendees (i.e.: training managers, hr professionals, training sellers, etc)?

Peter Cox Let's look at the THEME - every conference has to have one. This year's theme is Blended Learning. This seems more a recipe than a theme: I hadn't met the term before and it sounded like taking a load of stuff and tipping it into a Magimix. Well that's what it is: The idea is that that instructional designers review a learning program, chunk it into modules, and determine the best medium to deliver those modules to the learner?, according to Jennifer Hofmann of InSync Training Synergy. You might think that this is America companies reinventing themselves. I couldn't disagree. What's your experience of this theme? Anyone used it?

Dominic Ward Yes, we use it extensively in our company. We are also talking about reusable learning objects which fits in well with the concept of a blended approach.

Peter Cox Do you regard it as just a new term for what you've been doing already, Dominic?

Krista Reid Actually, we are a provider of blended learning solutions for original equipment manufacturers, who have training to provide to their customers.

Peter Cox...and Krista too?

Dominic Ward Not really - I think it captures the essence of different methodologies in learning, ones which e-learning don't.

Krista Reid Not a new term to us.

Tony Graham Hi, Its my first time in here and the phone has just rang. I'll be back!!

Krista Reid of the struggles of e-learning.

Peter Cox It seems to me here that providers of e-learning solutions are trying to get the 'trainer' as a person back into the equation.

Dominic Ward About time too.

Krista Reid Does their seem to be a lot more talk about "synchronous" learning versus the self-paced online versions? Is that what you mean by incorporating an instructor? - I see that trend as well.

Peter Cox I suppose I find this theme surprising because - although we deliver e-solutions as part of the mix - we never stopped deliver face-to-face.

Dominic Ward That's the key thing about the blended approach - it provides a variety of options hopefully optimised to reflect the strengths of that approach.

Krista Reid No you aren't being too simplistic - having new delivery methods available just adds to the mix of available "tools" for the instructional designers, taking advantage of the advances in technology.

Peter Cox Isn't that what any well planned training intervention should do anyway? Am I being too simplistic ? Want to look at the business stuff? Here's a note or two... The press room is full of releases announcing take-overs, acquisition of intellectual capital, strategic alliances etc. This is business 'realigning' itself. I'd like to have last year's catalogue of the expo here to compare names - I'm sure some big ones have gone forever - and some very big players like IBM are visibly absent from the floor (though not the program). There's a distinct depressing lack of innovation. Of course I don't know what that would be since it hasn't been made, but I am pretty certain I haven't seen anything that new in the Expo. It's all Version 4.05 stuff. But I've still got two more days looking!

Dominic Ward I think you are being to simplistic - and don't address where the purchasing power is - typically not training designers.

Peter Cox Is any one looking for anything 'new' that I could search out?

Dominic Ward My interest is in the application of sdl to behavioural training (such as giving feedback or coaching).

Krista Reid Is there a presence of anyone providing training or information for use on PDAs?

Peter Cox Dominic first: me too, and the perennial question of how well u can do this!! I am of later to look at Element K who have a new programme for situational leadership. This might prove that it can be done.. I'll report back when I have reviewed it later today.

Dominic Ward I would like to hear more.

Peter Cox Krista: I haven't seen anyone specialising in this so far. However, last year there was a very interesting demo in the press room by a start-up company in alliance with one of the big boys - when I get back I'll try to find the references for you.

Debbie Kingsley Any CPD Portals outside of the private/commercial sector being developed?

Peter Cox Debbie: EVERYONE has what they call Portals! But I haven't seen any focused CPD Portal offerings outside the generic ones e.g. Phoenix University and Carwardine, whom I'm meeting later.

Peter Cox My analysis - pretty quickly I admit is: There are those that do everything in e-learning - Smartforce, Click2Learn, Knowledge Net, Digital Think. There are those that do a bit in a big way e.g. Capella for content; AT&T, TEN-TV,, providing streaming solutions. Then there are the things you must have: have you seen Camtasia for making videos from ICT to distribute on CD or the web; or FreeBeam, the latest electronic whiteboard device, but it's portable and fits any whiteboard and communicates wirelessly to you PC for printing, emailing, sharing on the web. Lots of rationalising I suspect. And niche finding. One new to me product in a session which included the redoubtable Gloria Gery is a new Electronic Performance Support System launched last year by Kepner Tregoe ( called ethink. It's a tool for helping to analyse problems and promote critical thinking. Any one doing performance support work?

Dominic Ward Yes.

Peter Cox Two of the best session yesterday were with Gloria Gery. Gloria's own session was peppered with quoteables: Training is necessary because of the failures of the equipment/software? - meaning that learning to use something should be designed in .. Now there's a thought to make us all redundant. We have required people to build process models in order to do their work. This requires a high level of cognitive overload? - make it simple and stop my head hurting. Any of that resonate?

Dominic Ward I think one of the major obstacles at the moment is cash - or lack of it.

Dominic Ward Spot on in my org! Although I don't blame the equipment bit really. We evaluate performance once a year, managers forget the process and the principles over the twelve months and need some help.

Peter Cox I think the point is that if we think about learning when we design things we might design better things. And do we really need to learn processes when we only use them say once a month?

Dominic Ward True - which is where epss cmes in.

Peter Cox Hence the cognitive overload.

Dominic Ward...which takes us back to the blended model!

Peter Cox Ethink is quite cheap for an individual version $500 ish - by the way. EThink is another example (along with ProCarta which we use: of training/learning moving into the Knowledge Management Domain. (I should talk we have two massive learning/KM projects on the go at home!). and are two good sites to go see. I see all this moving the trainer into quite different domains - KM, EPSS etc - not sure if many have the skills to do this .. ?

Dominic Ward It depends - on the design of the intervention (how does the learning work) and the constructing the technology. There is no doubt that there is a major change afoot - I have been delivering sdl classes recently. the absence of eye contact makes things difficult.

Peter Cox The Expo here is very much focussed still on the technology (it Sells) and I don't quite think that the general constituency has quite caught up on the thinking. It's notable that Gloria's two sessions were only part full, whereas a skills session on getting to Yes was packed ...

Dominic Ward..which is typically why the "system" doesn't live up to its hype when in real life use.

Peter Cox Perhaps Dominic, the systems aren't implemented by the right people/skilled people.

Peter Cox .. it may not be the system .. that's our experience.

Dominic Ward It's the focus on the technology and not on how people interact with the system that detracts from it. it is easier to buy on tech specs.

Peter Cox How much have you all used online learning for your own CPD?

Dominic Ward Very little.

Debbie Kingsley Some - would like to do more.

Peter Cox One innovation this year is that some of the sessions are being video streamed by TEN-TV. There's a panel session on now; later today at 2pm Atlanta time (GMT +5) How to design effective training; tomorrow at 8 am (yes they do start so early) preparing e-learners; and ten impossible things for e-learning at 3.30 Atlanta time. Go to .

Peter Cox Any more questions or ideas? My last note then to share with you .. the dot com shock has hit e-learning providers. But the exploration of new ways of learning hasn't stopped. we're now in the boring, consolidation, shakeout phase. But if you think about trainer roles it all up for grabs. Blended Learning means we can mix and match (means we can sell what we're good at and like doing, but repackage it with a new name, I like that!). But the definitions between learning, knowledge management continue to be blurred. Will there be a Training 2027 - I doubt it. And certainly not with me here.

Debbie Kingsley What do you think next years' theme should be?

Peter Cox mmmm... how about ... something to do with people, performance, achievement... recognising the impact of technology, but the importance of people... and the minimal impact that training per se has on it all... attendance figures would be me ... and one other perhaps.

Debbie Kingsley Thanks Peter.

Dominic Ward That sounds good - need to check in next year then!

Peter Cox Thanks everyone for being here. If you'd like to send me an e-mail at mailto:[email protected] I'll follow up the earlier questions when homework is completed.

Dominic Ward Thanks for the inputs Peter.

Dominic Ward Bye everyone.

Peter Cox Enjoy your day wherever it is.

Peter Cox Bye everyone.

Debbie Kingsley Bye from England.


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