ASTD 2013 Is One For the History Books

Looking Back On a Week in Dallas and On the 70th Anniversary of ASTD

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A week later, and the Float team is back from the training industry’s biggest event, the annual ASTD International Conference and Expo. The week in Dallas was jam-packed with talk on mobile learning, sales enablement, measurement and, of course, Tin Can.

The first days were spent in the mobile learning certificate program, and it was a packed house. We covered off on strategy and design topics, walking the participants through the process needed to create sound mLearning for our audiences. If you missed this program, we have five more coming up around the U.S. this year.

That done, it was time to start the conference.

Sunday featured a couple of presentations on mobile learning.

One, SU109 – From Concept to Concrete: Eight Factors in Mobile Design, by Susan Fisher of Innovative Learning Group, focused on dissecting a consumer application from Whole Foods and then reviewing it through the lens of eight factors that affect mobile learning design. Overall, it was a successful examination of what makes mobile different, it was well attended, and it had a decent number of questions.

The presentation’s one major shortcoming, in my opinion, is that the example application used for much of the presentation is no longer available. It would be worthwhile choosing a new example app and redesigning the supporting materials to accommodate a bit of fresher content. Susan’s handout is on the ASTD site as is the presentation deck itself.

After that presentation, next up from our mobile guide was Jason Haag from ADL. His presentation on the MoTIF project currently underway was a good overview of the project’s goals. From their site:

ADL’s MoTIF project will explore new types of learning and design approaches that take advantage of the capabilities of the mobile platform. The MoTIF project will result in interventions such as strategies, materials, products, and guidelines as solutions to the problems, but will also advance our knowledge about the characteristics of these interventions and the processes involved in designing and developing them.

Jason’s talk was a great intro to the project and also gave a good overview of mobile learning for a relatively inexperienced crowd. We at Float are looking forward to seeing the results.

The rest of the event was equally as engaging and full of interactions with a crowd of learning professionals very interested in mobile.

This interest punctuated the keynote session on Monday morning by ASTD CEO Tony Bingham. The primary message in the keynote was that mobile is here to stay and that vast arrays of organizations are already leveraging it very effectively. The talk concluded with a mention of my book, Learning Everywhere, as a great way to get started with mobile. I was pleased and very surprised to get the nod.

The day concluded with a networking event for professionals focused on sales enablement. I was pleased to see such a great turnout. Sales training is a great area to try out mobile learning since your learners are on the road so much. I have been blogging at the ASTD Sales Enablement community site for the last month (here, here and here), so it was great to put some names to faces.

Tuesday was a busy day for me. I participated in the panel for the Sales Enablement track. It was a lively discussion and featured some industry experts talking on topics ranging from using technology to assist with coaching and mentoring, measurement, gaming and simulation and, yes, mobile. There were a lot of great questions from the packed room.

After the panel, I was interviewed for Learning Insights radio. We talked about the value of mobile for organizations and of course, content strategy and topics from Learning Everywhere. The interview was a blast and is available at the Business RadioX website.

Tuesday afternoon concluded with my session – “What’s Next for Mobile Learning?” Over the 90-minute session, we talked about emerging trends in the mobile industry, the rise to dominance by smartphones and tablets, the growth of mobile as a job tool in ag and healthcare fields and a number of new areas to explore – content curation, measurement with analytics, content strategy, and community management. We also explored topics like Tin Can, Open Badges, big data, and the cloud software movement in the LMS and authoring tools market.

I have uploaded my talk to SlideShare. The presentation is embedded here, with the Poll Everywhere results embedded in the slides for your review:


Whats Next for Mobile Learning from Chad Udell

Additionally, I closed the presentation with a question, “What did you learn here, today?” Some excerpts from the audience:

  • “That everything will change and faster than I thought.”
  • “On mobile – working and learning are combined in doing”
  • “Take eLearning and put it on Mobile; o)“
  • “I learned about some great tech innovations to go home and look up – Open Badges, Tin Can, 5G…Tophat, Tappestry.”
  • “Change is Constant”
  • “I will be a content strategist!”
  • “I need a curator.”
  • “This isn’t for geeks anymore. This is how we live.”
  • “Need to write some job descriptions and HIRE new staff!”
  • “Content strategist – where do I find one?”
  • “Starting small and getting a win.”
  • “My company is way behind the times!“
  • “Time to get serious about mobile learning.”
  • “Downloaded the apps, learned about polleverywhere, insights on the mobile reality.”
  • “Change is here :)”

I was pleased to have such a great turnout to the talk and have some excellent questions after the talk was over. After the presentation, I headed to the bookstore to conclude my conference duties. I arrived at the bookstore to learn that Learning Everywhere had sold out. It was a high note to end on.

The Float team had an expo booth at throughout ASTD, and what an expo it was. The sheer scale of it dwarfs the TechKnowledge event or any of the eLearningGuild events, with hundreds of exhibitors sharing the space. The traffic to the expo floor was steady, and the conversations were lively. Look for Gary Woodill’s review of the exhibitors on our site later this week.

Overall, the mood at the event was one of excitement, and I might even say optimism. It’s clear that the industry is in the early stages of a transformation. I think Float is part of that, and I’m proud to be involved with it.

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Chad Udell is the Managing Partner, strategy and new product development, at Float. There he leads his design and development teams to successful outcomes and award-winning work via a strong background in both disciplines and a singular focus on quality. He has worked with industry-leading Fortune 500 companies and government agencies to design and develop experiences for 20 years. Chad is recognized as an expert in mobile design and development, and he speaks regularly at national and international events and conferences on related topics. Chad is author of Learning Everywhere: How Mobile Content Strategies Are Transforming Training and co-editor and chapter author, with Gary Woodill, of Mastering Mobile Learning: Tips and Techniques for Success. His newest book, Shock of the New, co-authored with Gary Woodill was released in April of 2019.

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On May 28, 2013
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