A few more thoughts about April Learntrends

by Jay Cross on April 25, 2009

Reflection is vital to learning. I am delighted to report that recordings of the April Learntrends sessions are online. Congratulations to Scott Skibell for creating and uploading both standard-format videos and mp4s that you can download to your iPhone.

Someone whose opinion I respect emailed me that they “think that there is a stronger moderation / content role needed for the sessions to give them a bit more push / direction,” to which I replied..

I don’t know that I agree on being more “pushy” in the sessions. To be sure, I’d firm up some of the individual offerings had I to do it over again. However, in terms of sticking things in people’s heads, the informal combo of free-flowing discussion and audience interaction probably got more across than covering more topics in an efficient manner. This was an experiment in making an event more informal and spontaneous. Consider what participants are likely to remember a month from now.

After all, April Learntrends was an experiment in socially-mediated learning in lieu of traditional presentation. In putting the sessions together, I consciously attempted to shift from presentation to conversation. Consider the origins of these terms from the wonderful Online Etymology Dictionary:

presentation. c.1380, “act of presenting,” from O.Fr. presentation (13c.), from L. præsentationem (nom. præsentatio) “a placing before,” from præsentatus, pp. of præsentare (see present (v.)). Meaning “a theatrical or other representation, thing presented” is recorded from 1600.

conversation. 1340, from O.Fr. conversation, from L. conversationem (nom. conversatio) “act of living with,” prp. of conversari “to live with, keep company with,” lit. “turn about with,” from L. com- intens. prefix + vertare, freq. of vertere (see versus). Originally “having dealings with others,” also “manner of conducting oneself in the world;” specific sense of “talk” is 1580.

Improving the process of learning in organizations was our theme. Conversation struck me as a more appropriate way to foster the engagement that’s part of my vision for the future.

More dialog among the conversants in advance would have improved most of the conversations. I’m not so sure about more moderation.

A few comments that resonated with me:

  • ended up being my talk radio
  • you’ve got to be in it to ‘get’ it
  • experimentation with teaching and learning that challenges assumptions of courses and conferences is intriguing
  • Con la llegada de las nuevas tecnologías, las personas, a partir de una cierta edad, han tenido que aprender nuevas habilidades para poder desenvolverse virtualmente de forma satisfactoria. Y todo ello a un ritmo vertigionoso.
  • love both the planned and impromptu presentations and discussions, which reflect what we all value in our informal learning. This also reveals that learning is taking place in an emergent social landscape other than the formal education platform and system.
  • Night owl session going on now on value of learning
  • participants were more active than during normal sessions because we had the back-channel in which questions were posted, answers provided and that already during the presentations. One did not have to wait until the last few minutes to ask questions, but could do that the entire time

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