Both Jim and I are lifelong learners. One of the things that originally attracted us to each other was our hunger for learning; our curiosity for just about everything – but especially technology. Now we are Geeks Who Teach – and we welcomed this learning opportunity to “sharpen the saw.”
Who is Elliott Masie?
That’s a big question, and if you want to read all about him, here is his bio. But here, I’ll just tell you how I know him. Elliott used to run a conference called “Computer Training and Support Conference.” This was back in the early 90’s and that was my industry. I owned a company called Computer Savvy which was a stick and brick business with 11 classrooms and over 100 computers. We had a full schedule of classes on business computer applications as well as network systems certification courses. I was even president of the International Computer Training Ass’n during some of those years.
Elliott asked me to be a member of his faculty and I spoke at a couple of his conferences. I don’t even remember what I taught … probably something to do with Microsoft Access since that was a specialty of mine back then. I loved his conferences! He knows how to deliver volumes of information in an entertaining and inspiring way, and, most of all he knows how to make people feel special for being a part of the teaching/learning profession. Elliott Masie is my guru. We even visited his ‘Masie Center’ while traveling thru Saratoga Springs, NY. Here’s the Blog post about that visit in 2008.
What is a Learning Conference?
I was thrilled when it worked out this year that we could attend his current conference called, simply “Learning.” This conference has been going for quite a few years, so he identifies each conference by the year. I can’t imagine that any other Learning conference could possibly live up to what we experienced at Learning 2013!
- Technology is becoming integral to learning everything! A fitbit on your wrist helps you learn about your health. A video on your smartphone teaches a hotel maintenance worker how to caulk the bathtubs. A website generically called a MOOC (Massive, Open, Online Courses) makes university level education accessible to everyone for free! See Open University, Coursera, Kahn Academy
- Learning should be Personalized: No more big classrooms where one size fits all, now it’s “one size fits one.” Each learner has different needs and with online resources and mobile learning techniques, they should get exactly what they need.
- Learning is getting shorter, referred to as ‘Learning Compression.’ No more week-long training programs, now a company provides a series of 20 minute videos, along with social media groups for new hires to get acclimated. But, these shorter learning sessions need to happen more often. Continuous learning, Lifelong Learning, Learning needs to become part of our DNA!
We were probably the only 2-person company represented. Most people were there from the likes of NBC Universal, Ericsson North America, General Dynamics Corporation, and Coca-Cola. Did you know that there is now a corporate title CLO? For Chief Learning Officer? How to teach people what they need to know for advancement in the workplace is a big business! We teach individual travelers what they need to know to enhance their travels with technology – but many of the same principles apply and we were like sponges soaking it all up.
Over 1,600 people were registered for this conference. There were 177 breakout sessions over the 4 days for 20-50 people to learn details like, for me, how to embed a video into an eBook. Or how to use smartphones to ‘gamify’ a class – we’ll use this one! Or understanding 3D printers. Or how to present learning over webinars.
We learned a lot and it was a Blast. We came away inspired and motivated to try all sorts of new things to help our Geeks on Tour members learn!