Session Notes & Links from ASTD (American Society for Training & Development)

Thank you to all the FABULOUS learners at ASTD’s international convention in Chicago.  Here is a recap of my session with links and a few of my slides and side rants (thrown in for your entertainment value!).

The title of my session was, “Using Today’s Technology for the Game of Learning!”

If our goal is to engage learners and make learning fun again, it may be time to look for ways to take learning OUT of the classroom and put it into the hands (and devices) of the learners.  Let’s get them involved in the process, from telling us what they need, to co-creating content for BIG FUN learning.  In order to involve our learners, we have to be willing to step off of our thrown …or podium and remember that WE are smarter than ME!


Repeat after me, “I will not stand in front and read BORING powerpoint slides to my audience as if they were mindless idiots!”  That mantra, repeated daily, will help you shift from standing up and dumping information to truly engaging the brains of the people in your audience.  There are technology tools that can help engage, teach and even thrill your teams as they are learning …even outside the classroom walls BEFORE and AFTER a learning event!

WHY should you worry about changing the way training is delivered in your organization?  Well part of it has to do with the fact that our learners have changed!  We have 1-yr olds trading stock on e*trade for goodness sake.  They are tech-savvy, impatient, have ADHD, and they have a lot to contribute!  Here are some statistics:

We need to use some of the tools that are already in the pockets, purses and backpacks of our learners (and I’m not talking about bandaids, chewing gum or tweezers here!).

One of my favorite tools is the fabulous FLIP camera. Get creative and get others in the driver’s seat creating content!  Involve customers, vendors, and of course employees!  Some of the ideas shared included giving sales teams cameras and having them create a 5 minute learning video to teach the other teams about a new product roll-out.  Have a few of your best customers create a short video showing a “Day in the life” of that customer to show your customer service teams what it is like in your customer’s world.  Have executive teams or senior members of the organization share 3 things they know now that they wish they would have known when they first started in the industry or at your company.  These learning videos can be loaded on your own website or on sites such as YouTube or Vimeo (both set to private).

Create podcasts within your organization (simple audio recordings saved as MP3 files).  Interview team members and capture their knowledge to share with others.  Download audio books and have them available on MP3 player for people to check out.  And for those of you concerned about the risks and hazards of having these tech tools available to employees, LET IT GO! Reading your training manuals can give people paper cuts and looking at boring Powerpoint can cause brain damage so this is much safer and less expensive than those worker’s comp claims.


We discussed ways to take geo-tagging apps used for marketing or games such as FourSquare or GoWalla and create learning treasure hunt games.  You could leave envelopes at different locations with blog posts or articles in them for learners to find using a geo-location list you give and their mobile devices.  By adding the element of competition you will turn learning into a fun and fast-paced race to learn!  This is very much like the popular geocaching game for treasure hunters, only the real treasure in your hunt is big nuggets of learning!



For another dimension of fun, you can use augmented reality tools such as LAYER to embed pieces of information or content from your learning programs into specific locations.  By tagging the content to the location, you can send participants out on a hunt for information using mobile devices.




With barcode scanner apps on many of today’s mobile devices, look for ways to add 2-dimentional bar codes on objects that will provide more information to learners.  You can place barcodes on walls within a building that bring the company’s story to life, or provide safety tips to learners.  This picture shows a barcode placed on a tombstone that brings up information on the deceased.  You can create your own content-loaded QR tag at – go ahead and try it–it’s FREE!  I think I will be making a t-shirt with a tag on it that takes people to my website :))  How can you use this?

With iPads, ipods, smart phones, Kindle readers, and more gadgets popping up daily, make a commitment to learn more about these new mobile learning tools, and do share your ideas here for the rest of us because WE are smarter than ME!

Be sure and check out the SocialKNX on Facebook where I always share tech tips for BIG learning and building BIG biz.  I encourage folks to post questions there or their own GREAT tech tips!

It was great meeting so many wonderful people this week at ASTD and I look forward to more BIG learning and BIG success stories!

President & Digital Immigration Officer
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