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Learning Beyond the Course

September 28, 2010

It was my great privilege to recently organise and Chair the eLearning Network’s Learning Beyond the Course conference in London, UK. We had a wonderful lineup of speakers including Ben Betts the creator of Curatr a refreshing new paradigm for content delivery, Graeme Duncan from Caspian Learning vendors of the awesome Thinking Worlds author tool, Ed Stonestreet and Llewelyn Thomas from Yoodoo an innovative performance management system, the Queen of Social Learning Jane Hart, and Patrick Fitzpatrick from learning game developers PTK Learning.

Ben Betts presenting

The presentations were excellent, the highlight for me being Ben’s opening exercise which demonstrated perfectly the effect (or lack of) of a carrot or stick approach to learner motivation and the negative effect of constraints. I was delighted that several of the speakers shared the research and theory behind their work showing the clear link between the two. All discounted learning styles and it’s good to see the groundswell against these false sacred cows of training. You can learn more about this here.

Other great moments for me included Llewelyn sharing the results of an experiment conducted in a US care home where giving residents more choice and control over their lives and environment actually made them live longer. Also Jane ran a wonderful session which included real time input from her Twitter network (currently a colossal 7500 followers) as well as tweet input from the audience. For the Twitter thread of the day search for the hashtag #lbtc.

Patrick ponders

In my opening keynote I made the point that although the speakers were all from very different parts of the industry (gaming, author tools, social learning, performance management) and pushing boundaries we were all converging on a shared vision of how teaching and learning could work in the future. It was pleasing to find the close alignment of the theories followed by those in these very different parts of the industry.

I came away inspired and more convinced than ever that the way to survive and thrive in these tough economic times is not to sit tight and churn out the same old guff that didn’t work yesterday but instead to innovate and move forward. Times are tough for the trailblazers in our market, however those that survive the next few years and continue to innovate will be leading the pack.

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