TechKnowledge Presentation: evaluation, slides, sound

by Jay Cross on February 2, 2007

The hundred people who attended our talk on informal learning at ASTD TechKnowledge yesterday gave us mixed reviews:

    Too bad this bad experience is how I ended this great conference. Your session was too scattered for me.

    “Conversations are the stem cells of innovation” is brilliant. I will use (and properly attribute) this quote for many years to come.


    Even if I could use this in my work, my managers are so entrenched in traditional forms of training that this would really put them off. I would like to know what you guys do to sell this to stodgy organizations. Without practical examples of where and how this works I would respectfully have to say that you guys are full of bologna…or baloney.

    Great food for thought.

    Rather elementary in content. Stats were rather dated.

    They kept walking in front of the projector so the PowerPoint wasn’t as effective. They didn’t seem to have the presentation down. Too informal for me. I like the irony.

    I felt like I was eavesdropping on a conversation already underway.

    I’m not sure about the use in my job…. It is an interesting thought and needs to be addressed.

    Lots of good stuff but too ambitious for the time allowed.

    Very cool stuff – I will be in contact.

    I now have a new flag to carry. Bravo! Every speaker here has talked about changing the way we teach but no one could provide a plan. I now have the blueprint. Thank you.

Smile sheets invariably reflect more the innate mindset of the evaluator than the effectiveness of the learning experience. (A real evaluation would check what behavior had changed a month or two after the fact, not a reaction a minute after the conclusion.)

People tell us we are either really, really good or irredeemably god-awful. As with abortion, everyone has a strongly-held opinion. Interpretations from other speakers about the split opinion on informal learning suggests that learning professionals fall into two camps.

    1. People who think our position is flaky feel the status quo is working fine and see no reason to change. When we advocate conversation or web technology or social networking, they question whether informal learning works at all and whether their management will buy it. Some tell me that this informal stuff sounds great, and they would like to offer a course in it. (Don’t!) When we model informal approaches, many think we are scattered and don’t know any better.

    2. People who support our position agree that the world is speeding up, and traditional training and design no longer map to reality. They want to start re-inventing what they do as soon as they get home. They have fire in the belly and don’t mind shaking things up to bring on change.

You can’t please all of the people all of the time.

Here are the PowerPoint slides from our talk.

Here is an mp3 sound file of the entire presentation. Warning: This is ninety minutes long.

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