Monday, August 17, 2009

IQPC's Corporate Learning Exchange recap

Back from vacation, I had some time to reflect on my experience at IQPC's Corporate Learning Exchange. If you have never been to an event like this, and my guess is most people haven't, it is structured a bit like a timeshare sales pitch crossed with speed-dating. Attendees were by and large executive learning professionals, and most of the day was spent in presentations by their peers. But in between, there were 25 minute one-on-one meetings with learning vendors.

I was a learning vendor.

I won't bore you with logistics, but I had 14 meetings in 3 days. The first couple, I had no idea what I was doing. The interesting part of the experience was that in the process of holding those meetings, I had to get really good at explaining what we do, succinctly. The good and bad news is that we do something that very few other companies do. Its tough to talk about social media with people who haven't used a wiki, never blogged, and have never been on Twitter. Its hard to talk about virtual worlds with someone who doesn't know what an avatar is. Of course, its also an opportunity...and by the end, I was excited that I could talk about what we do much more clearly and in a way that seemed to make sense to the executives I met with.

The other interesting observation at the conference was the lack of technology. No one else was on Twitter. Hell, no one else had their laptop or mobile device on to take notes. It was pens and paper as far as the eye could see. Not only the participants, but the presenters focused an inordinate amount of attention on face to face learning. I think f2f is great...but it has so many limitations. I spent most of the time in the presentations thinking about ways to supplement or replace the f2f experiences being described with some form of distance learning technology.

I was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked the format. I met some fascinating people and am already neck-deep in follow up meetings. But more than anything, this conference opened my eyes to just how far web 2.0 has to go for enterprise learning.

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