Yesterday, the Training Magazine 2015 Online Learning Conference (OLC) included a day full of learning and networking. I participated in informative and hands-on sessions,attended the conference networking night at Howl at the Moon, and interviewed Kevin Thorn, President of Nuggethead Studioz. I’m excited to share all of that with you in this post!
OLC’s session lineup included a diverse range of topics appealing to all learning professionals, from those new to the industry to practitioners with many years in the field under their belts. The three sessions I attended were awesome. The highlights included:
Patti Shank - Have You Flipped? You Should!
Patti Shank, author of Be the Best Boss of You and The E-Learning Handbook, discussed the flipped classroom model, and why all learning professionals should consider this approach. Patti defined flipped learning as “an instructional approach in which the direct instruction moves from group learning to the individual, and application happens during group learning.” Learners take more responsibility, learn more deeply, and participate more often in the flipped classroom. Why? Because self-testing occurs during individual learning, and the group works together to apply what they learned.
When it comes to designing flipped learning, Patti recommended that you design the group application piece first. Doing this will allow you to design the individual learning to support that group initiative. Keep in mind that the goal of the individual learning is to prepare learners to participate successfully in the group activities.
With flipped learning on the radar of all learning professionals, I found this engaging session to be timely and relevant.
Charles Dye – Maximizing Learning Outcomes by Choosing the Right Tool
InSync Training Technical Director Charles Dye shared research that shows selecting the proper delivery medium in learning can have a profound effect on learner experience and outcome. While the modern classroom is more mobile, global, and social than ever, there’s a lag in modern learning experience. In Training and Development, we tend to fall back on what works. Doing this doesn’t take into consideration the authenticity of the learning as it relates to the defined objectives of your initiative.
Charles defined media selection in the modern classroom as “what format do you provide the training in?” He reminded us that the question we should ask when choosing learning media should be, “Is this the best platform for the training? NOT, “Can the platform do this?” Selecting media in the proper way ensures that you create an authentic training experience that the learners can then take back to their jobs.
Charles combined solid media selection advice with academic research for a compelling OLC session. For a high-level approach to designing modern classroom learning, download our complimentary infographic here.
Jennifer Hofmann – Virtual Classroom Survival School
InSync Training President Jennifer Hofmann presented a hands-on Adobe Connect clinic that put attendees on the fast track to creating and delivering successful virtual classroom learning events. Over the course of two-and-a-half hours, Jennifer shared applicable advice, including:
- “Have a stand-alone platform orientation before the virtual classroom program begins. Do not include a tool overview in the first class session.”
- “Be sure to set ground rules in the virtual classroom. It helps ensure learner success.”
- “For an impactful virtual classroom environment, acknowledge the obstacles your learners will face, and provide solutions.”
- “What engages learners in a live virtual classroom session? Good design, new content, hands-on tool usage, applied activities, and facilitator enthusiasm.”
- “Our concern has to be that people are learning what we’re delivering, not that we’ve gotten through all the slides.”
Jennifer shared InSync Training’s Virtual Classroom Facilitator Competency Model and Virtual Classroom Designer Competencies with learners. Jennifer asserts that designing and facilitating learning in the virtual classroom requires a specialized skillset. By being aware of these skills, and purposefully honing and leveraging them in the virtual learning environment, L&D professionals can better support modern learners.
Jennifer’s session was a rare experience: a live face-to-face instructional event about the basics of the virtual classroom with an expert in the field.
Advice to Conference Attendees
Kevin Thorn graciously agreed to an interview about his experience in the learning profession. The full interview will be shared on this blog at a later date, but he shared the following with OLC attendees:
“I’ve been in that chair. Corporation say you get to go to one or two professional conferences a year, pick one. If this is the only thing you get to come to, or that you were told to go to, put on a good pair of shoes, get protein in you, drink a lot of water, and suck it up. Absorb every minute of your experience here. Don’t take it for granted. The speakers here are giving their time to share their expertise in different areas. We all have our expertise – take what works for you. You won’t connect with everything in one conference, but take what works for you and dive in. You won’t be able to keep up with everything, just try to stay current.”
Yesterday’s OLC experience developed attendees professionally. Equally as important, though, was the opportunity the conference, and after-hours events like the Howl at the Moon dinner, provided to interact with our peers. Having time to discuss challenges, lessons-learned, and personal approaches to learning is a valuable use of time.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the last day of the conference brings!