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Cows and Cakes at the IITT Training 2010 Conference

September 9, 2010

IITT LogoI had the great pleasure of speaking at the IITT’s Training 2010 conference in the Marriott Hotel, Grosvenor Square in London this week. The event was very well attended and expertly Chaired by Don Taylor. The highlights for me were the after dinner speech by Donald Clark and also the sessions by Clive Shepherd and Liz Cable.

The venue was fantastic, the food was great and the wine was free, so we were off to a good start. Donald’s after-dinner speech was characteristically sharp, amusing and thought-provoking. He lamented the fact that elearning conferences were no longer as rock n’roll as they used to be (were they ever?) with far too little partying and general mischief. Myself and a few friends (old and new, who shall remain nameless) took it upon ourselves to prove Donald wrong by staying up way past our usual 10pm bedtimes.

The following day Clive held back somewhat from taking pot-shots at a number of sacred cows of learning theory and practice. I think he’d received a few threats (probably as tweets, knowing the audience) and thought better of it. A shame, as it’s good to shake things up a little and more and more people are questioning theories and approaches previously considered “law”. There should be healthy debate and conflicting views at a conference – that’s how we formulate and refine our own opinions.

I ran a workshop session on Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping process. I was delighted that the session was fully booked and we even had a couple of gatecrashers squeezing in! We identified a topic of interest to the majority of the group and worked through the process with it. It went well and everyone seemed to get it. I chose Action Mapping because it is the single most useful thing I could have taught them in an hour.

I must also mention Liz Cable who used a wonderful social networks = doughnuts metaphor. Essentially:

  • A social network e.g. Facebook, is like a ring doughnut, hollow in the middle i.e. there is not central theme or purpose that binds it together.
  • A community of practice is like a jam doughnut – it surrounds a central theme or purpose that makes it….“sticky”.

Nice. I’m off for a doughnut….

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