The #ATD2015 Series: Day 1 of the Conference at Orange County Convention Center!

17 May, 2015:

I was super excited to be at the #ATD2015 conference in Orlando. Before the excitement, came the 14 hour flight from Dubai to New York and then from New York to Orlando, which was almost 20+ hours of travel. (Mind it, this is gonna be skewed towards Instructional Design and Learning Technologies, because I’m an instructional design and media specialist, after all). My schedule for the 1st day of the conference looked was mixed with quite a few sessions:

The international orientation was an eye opener to the world of talent development. It was lovely to see the mix of crowds from all seven continents. I would highly recommend orientations, they pave the way to a successful conference and you will always gather a newly added nitty-gritty.

Things to ensure you have before you begin the conference:

  • Plan your schedule ahead of time, it will be a blessing, you wouldn’t ever want to run around, last minute, skimming through session synopsis in your handbook or running door to door looking for a good session, once they have started.
  • Prepare yourself for the community you are most interested in and the kind of sessions you want to attend
  • Your time is precious during these conferences and some of you have actually paid a lot of money to be there… so, make the most of it! If a session is displeasing (sorry, some may not come out the way they were planned), please leave the room and go to another session you would want to attend

My focus was clear, instructional design and learning technologies so at 11:45am I was headed to the Best Practices and Trends in Instructional Design: Research by ATD, IACET, and R&A

Ann Parker, Jessica Briskin, Kristopher Newbauer, William Rothwell, Aileen Zaballero were the panelists who provided insights on the research, such as:

Design thinking for instructional designer was my next stop, post lunch. Conducted by Angel Green of Allen Communications, it was a breath of fresh air for instructional designers. The session provided some great practical tips for brainstorming and creating one’s own processes, which allow for a better and efficient method of designing instruction.

You can follow the tweets for this session through #DT4ID.

Here are some of the good points mentioned during the session, first few are my with my two bits to consider:

  • How will you design instruction if you, as an instructional designers, are designing the thinking of the instruction first?
  • While creating engaging content for others (target groups) make yourself the target and have fun along the way of designing instruction
  • Get rid of #IHateTraining to #ILoveTraining by involving learners in the process of Design
  • Get rid of the mundane tasks and provide learners with actual and workable tasks which help them at work
  • Use actual personification and characterization of your learners to add the extra edge and understand the design thinking process of instruction
  • The new way of designing your thinking is by: empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping and testing
  • Develop creative learner centric brainstorming strategies
  • Use ‘pretotypes’. Create perfectly imperfect prototypes, the first few shouldn’t be more than loose sketches
  • Analyze your skills by creating a mindmap with the instructional designer as focus center, mapping: Knowledge; Attitudes, Skills & Habits (KASH) to see if you have any gaps that someone else in your team could fill

The clock struck 3:00 and I rushed to attend “bite-size content and the new e-learning” by Stephen Meyer. Though I prefer to call bite-size content as micro-learning.

Quick points on how you can achieve them, yet again, I’ve added my two bits:

  • Never begin with the thought that micro learning is going to change your company’s spectrum or will be the only strategy used in the organization’s learning and development
  • Use an effective content design strategy to churn out small yet effective pieces of learning or instruction, which the learners can apply in their day to day work
  • Use bite-size learning for soft skills development, in leadership, management, sales and communication
  • Understand different demographics, with their abilities to use m-learning platforms, and retention and attention capacity makes all the difference in micro-learning as learners can only imbibe knowledge in shorter spans of time
  • Bite-sized content should not be more than 1 minute to 10 minutes long
  • Create a sense of urgency to be successful in bite-size learning
  • Use the art of information design instead of instructional design
  • Indulge in art of information design by aiming to change behavior, persuading learners
  • Remember that millennial may always want to “scan” information first before reading it
  • Create information design based on thin slicing of single concept learning, frame through narrow lens

The last session of the day was at 4:30pm and rushed from one end of the ground floor to the top, to attend an interactive session on – when instructional design met performance consulting. It was an intriguing to see how Jim Robinson and Dick Handshaw connected the dots to showcase how performance consulting process can drive measurable results from learning. Their focus was on reactive and proactive “consulting” with the client and the team. The core of their strategy was always ask questions and delve into the overall needs of the client: capability needs – performance needs – business needs. They had simple and reliable strategies which can be immediately used by human performance consultants and instructional designers. It was lovely to see the Handshaw instructional design model intune with the Human performance improvement model.

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