24.03.2014

BLOG - Reflections from LSCon 2014 - do you agree?

BLOG - Reflections from LSCon 2014 - do you agree? Last week three Unicorns headed to Orlando for eLearning Guild's international Learning Solutions 2014 event. Pretending that we're not remotely jealous of their sunshine excursion (honest!), the trio of Peter Phillips (CEO), Jackie Kennedy (COO) and award-winning instructional designer, Sam Yates, will be reflecting on the conference over a series of blogs this week. pip_smileFirst up, Peter gives his lowdown on the overall event and discusses Will Thalheimer's “Subscription Learning" session. Attending a Learning Guild conference can be a bit like trying to drink from a fire hydrant. The three day conference starts each day at 7:15 a.m. with a choice from an array of “Morning Buzz” discussion groups, I’m sure these used to be called “Breakfast Bites” and included coffee and pastries, but this year you had to buy your own breakfast. By the end of the day, you are likely to have attended a key note general session, half a dozen smaller group sessions on a bewildering variety of topics, visited the vendor expo, listened in on a couple of the Learning Stages (shorter vendor-led presentations), and with a bit of luck as you rush from room to room, had time to grab a sandwich, a coffee and a few words with fellow delegates. All this plus “SolutionFest”, where you can pinch the ideas from over 40 real-life examples of great work by delegate volunteers, including Unicorn’s own Global Giveback award-winner Sam Yates. I’m not sure how that three-day intensive barrage of content, with relatively little interactivity, sits with the learning principles that our profession espouses, but it certainly provided plenty of food for thought. The brain’s ability to find patterns was mentioned several times, both positive (an essential learning skill) and negative (thinking biases and how they stifle creativity). So, for better or worse, here is my attempt to create order from the chaos……. Learning and Forgetting One of my first sessions on the morning of day 1, was Will Thalheimer on “Subscription Learning”.Will Thalheimer At the heart of this session were Will’s research-based learning and forgetting curves. Traditional one-time learning inputs, whether classroom or on-line, have a short term benefit, but the learning quickly tails away if not reinforced regularly. Subscription Learning, then is about providing learning in small nuggets, pushed to the learner and (crucially) repeating the learning in a variety of formats – varying the message actually increases retention - and so far as possible tailored to the individual and their role. learningandforgetting1 The session contained plenty of valuable insights into spacing of learning interventions (or Penguins and Ostriches in Will’s visuals), and we will be able to apply much of this in Unicorn’s new CPD learning solution. For more on subscription learning, I recommend you visit www.subscriptionlearning.com You might also like to explore Duolingo, an excellent (and rare) example of subscription learning in practice. learningandforgetting2Those charts of the learning and forgetting curves came up again in several other speakers’ presentations throughout the conference. The research behind them is relevant to how we design and deliver learning content, to the role of the LMS, and to my second theme Tin Can, Big Data and Performance Support. I will have more to say on these in the next thrilling instalment of my LSCon 14 reflections tomorrow…....

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