In a previous post, I talked about an idea I found in a blog post. Basically, this idea was to share conference notes as they were being taken. Well, here are my raw notes as they are being taken: ASTD2013.
Feel free to follow along as I take my notes for ASTD 2013. Each evening, I am planning to blog about my experiences and fill in the blanks.
If you are an Evernote user, you can subscribe to the notebook; however, this is not a requirement.
While I am at the conference, if there is something you want to explore, please let me know.
Every year since working for University of Wyoming Extension, I have had an opportunity to attend the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) conference. It is one of the highlights of my year. Simply put ASTD has their act together when putting together conferences. This year is no different.
Each year, I have an opportunity to rub elbows with the authors of many the books I have been reading over the past year. These authors are thought leaders in the industry. Sa far, at this conference, I have attended sessions by Sir Ken Robinson, Jane Bozarth, Catherine Lambardozzi, and Wendy Terwelp. I have also met Clark Quinn and Karl Kapp. Tomorrow, I start the day at a John Seeley Brown presentation.
ASTD has put together a highspeed mobile application. This application is available for smartphones and tablets both PC and Mac. The app allows you to review and plan your personal schedule. You can find breakout sessions by program, speaker, or time slot. Each session has accompanying slides and documents. A button on the session will show you where the session is on a map. You can also take notes for each session. Finally, you can export your entire schedule to Android, Google, or Outlook calendars.
At this year’s conference, there are approximately 9,000 attendees. An estimated 2,000 attendees came from over 75 different countries.
ASTD does a fantastic job catering to members and attendees. At the beginning of the conference, they host a newcomer’s orientation to help newbies best navigate the conference. In the session, the presenters talk about other great tools such as the schedule, exhibitor listing, and conference guide. The guides also include a learning transfer action logs to help keep your training focused. These are some of the best guides I have ever seen for an event. Lots to learn, even for the smallest of conferences.
ASTD has 8 content tracks:
- career development
- designing and facilitating learning
- global human resource development
- leadership development
- learning technologies
- measurement, evalation, roi
- human capital
- workforce development
And 3 industry tracks:
- higher education
- sales enablement
ASTD also provides great mentoring opportunities and tools for career development. This year, I took advantage of some of these opportunities. Throughout the conference, they provide speed mentoring opportunities where you can get advice on your career. At the conference, there was also a career resource center. This center provided the following tools and events:
- ASTD job bank and career navigator tool
- Career development library
- US department of labor career one stop shop
- Career center educational sessions
I personally tried out the career navigation tool and was very impressed. After doing a self-evaluation, the tool provided a training plan with recommended resources to help me come up to speed.
ASTD also invited world class exhibitors. This year there are 368 different exhibitors present. Many of the exhibitors also conduct classes and demos.
Throughout the conference, attendees are encouraged to network as much as possible. Many events such as “Meet to eat” are geared towards networking opportunities. The Tuesday evening event is focused on a conference wide networking opportunity. This year it will be at Gilley’s Dallas.
If you are interested in following the proceedings of the ASTD conference, you can follow the Twitter hashtag #ASTD2013.
The second afternoon session I attended The Yin and Yang of Formal and Informal Learning by Allison Rossett and Frank Nguygen. They started their session by explaining that formal training was the primary training method used by the enterprise; however, personal preference is informal learning. Rossetti cited Bozarth when reporting that 83% of companies saw value in informal learning, but only 36% employed it.
In the enterprise, courses are not dead and very much alive ,but there is an interest in employing informal learning strategies. Individual informal learning makes great sense, but for the enterprise there are more concerns. One of the challenges is that informal learning lacks certification, thus does not meet the promise of the enterprise. Enterprise or companies have a promise of service they must meet.
Here are some important questions to ask.
Is success defined?
Who chooses ends and means?
Must we prove that we can do what we say we do?
Are we in a position to go towards more choice and freedom? Is the culture forgiving?
Rossetti and Nguygen created a study to examine the disparity between what is wanted (informal learning) and what actually happens (formal learning). Their study resulted in a tool of 15 questions and two table of strategies. This tool is called the YinYang Tool, and it can be found at Http://yinyang.frankn.net. This tool helps to determine if a program or company is a good fit for informal learning strategies.
The Coast Guard used the YinYang tool to see if informal learning was good for them and new boat program. They stuck with a formal approach because of dangers of getting it wrong.
When you are talking about informal learning, you are talking about choice. The tool helps you determine the choices you have for delivering training. It will help you identify opportunities how to present training. Use the tool as a conversation starter to discuss training options and possibilities. Remember, you can evaluate a whole program or just sections of a program with the tool.
The goal is not to be informal or formal. The goal is to be better at what we do.
What a great day! It started with the Chapter Leader Day, and ended with a report out by Tony Bingham, the President and CEO of ASTD. In between, I attended three great learning sessions. I plan to share what I learned.
The meeting began by describing the theme for this year’s conference: Achieving New Heights. It is a focus on Networking, Sharing, and Learning. There was a tremendous amount of emphasis on social media and communities of practice. They were displaying a Tweetchat of the meeting using the hashtag of #ASTD2012CLD. This was definitely an example of the Networking part of the conference.
Next, chapter leaders by briefed on the “new” Next Level Tool. As the ASTD Website explains, “Find out if your chapter is an emerging, solid, or high performing chapter. See what resources are available to help move your chapter to the next level. Take this assessment now as part of your board planning and build a stronger chapter today!” It looks like a promising tool to help me get my feet under me as I take on my new role. The tool addresses six dimensions: communication, community outreach, financial, governance, membership, and professional development. The tool can be found in the chapter leadership section of the ASTD site.
Next, we broke up into groups to brainstorm ideas on various topics. There were three different sessions, and you had to find a new session each round. I focused on membership, professional development, and the southwest region. Lots of great ideas were shared. I will be bring back a number of them to the Northern Rockies Chapter board to discuss. Here are some of the ideas that resonated with me:
- Increase volunteerism within chapter by soliciting for specific help.
- Create VP of Human Resources to manage volunteers.
- Conduct a regional conference with chapters along the Front Range.
- Recognizing volunteers with free or discounted meeting
- Publish annual report.
- Recognize the volunteer of the month with certificates and web recognition
- Create a wish list for projects that could be handled by volunteers.
- Establish or publicize open door policy for board meetings.
- Conduct virtual training meetings for learning CPLP.
- Show how meeting presentations are linked back to core competences.
- Allow new members to sign up and pay for both ASTD and NRC membership through the chapter website and have chapter pay for ASTD membership.
- Explore the use of Google Voice as phone capability for the chapter; it could result in money saved.
- For volunteer opportunities, play to our skills, e.g., conduct train the trainer course for habitat for humanities.
For the first time working with this group, I was pleased with the product and results. The rest of the day went equally well.
I am excited for the rest of the session. I will let you know how it goes.