I have been many things in my life - from fruit-picker, through postman, delivery driver, barman, professional actor, Office Manager, Trainer, IT Learning Manager and latterly, Head of Technology Assisted Learning in a global corporate. Now an independent consultant, speaker, tweeter & blogger, I have learned, and now know, 'a little about a lot, and a lot about very little'. I hope this blog will be of interest and stimulate some further conversations amongst us all.
Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Er... I've spoken!
Well, 'tis done. Yesterday, at the World of Learning Conference (#WoL11), I had the great pleasure of sharing the stage in Conference Room 1 with Clive Shepherd and Nicholas Owen (BBC News Journalist and Conference Chair).
I blogged previously on my thoughts and feelings as I prepared for what would be my first conference speaking engagement in several years. Yesterday was the day when I had to step up and deliver my presentation. Clive and I had met over lunch in Brighton a couple of months ago, to agree and scope out what we would each cover in our respective parts of the session and, apart from a couple of email exchanges since then, we had not managed to confer again. So I was delighted when we sat down on the sofas for a chat during our technical set-up to discover how closely aligned we were.
Under the collective banner of "Integrating the Formal, Informal and Social in Learning", Clive was speaking on the new Learning Architect, and how learning professionals now have to consider all aspects of blended learning when in consultation with their customers, internal or external. I had elected to take the audience on a learning journey, analogous with a train journey, discussing examples of how we have developed and delivered learning solutions more creatively, by leveraging existing tools and resources, whilst developing our skills and toolsets 'under the radar' of our current corporate technical and other constraints. I included points for the audience to vote as to how closely aligned each particular approach had been in relation to Clive's LA model.
We both recognised that our respective inputs would probably be longer than our originally planned 15 minutes each, but we expected to be able to flex around that and still have time for a Q&A session at the end.
So, how did it go? What would I do again and what would I do differently? What did I learn from the experience?
I was very pleased with my slides! Very subtle corporate branding, no bullet points - indeed, no text - and relevant graphics only (some photos and some screen grabs from our learning solutions).
No chance of reading off the screen, so I had my notes on the podium. Next time, I'll have my notes better written and be more familiar with them (see "Practice" below).. Clive did his presentation without notes, as did several speakers at the Learning and Performance Institute Conference I attended a couple of weeks ago. I should have taken the hint then! That said, I didn't get lost and the presentation flowed as I hoped.
I had a couple of radio microphone issues, with the clip slipping back inside my shirt, which necessitated the tech guy coming up onto stage during the session to re-clip it. Of course it would have helped if I hadn't kept hitting it with my hand every time I thumped myself on the chest (not something I was hitherto aware I did!)
And the biggest lesson - practice! We started the session late and both Clive and I over-ran in our respective slots, meaning, as 'tail-end-Charlie', I was the one who kept people late for their break and didn't allow time for the Q&A session. If I had practised my session more, I would have been well aware of the timings and trimmed accordingly. I hope that everyone who wanted to comment or converse with us afterwards will find us online and continue the discussion.
I'm collating the audience voting results, so that I will have an overview of their opinions as to how well the various learning interventions we have developed/are developing and have delivered/are delivering map against Clive's Learning Architect model. This will help to inform our strategy planning for L&D, IT Training and Learning Technologies, and I'm more than happy to share those results.
Some thanks: to all my colleagues at work and on Twitter, for their encouragement and support (great to meet so many of you at the event too); to Clive Shepherd, for the pleasure of working together, for the opportunity to dig deep into his Learning Architect model and co-present our session; to Nicholas Owen for excellent, non-starry Chairmanship and interesting 'train' chats (he's a bit of a railways anorak, like me - who'd have thought?); to the guys at TurningTechUK for their help in enabling the TurningPoint voting handsets and results onto my voting slides before and during the presentation; to Laura Overton at Towards Maturity, for suggesting I speak in the first place; to Tracy Shah at Venture for excellent organisation of the event; and finally to Mandy, for her patience and support in the midst of her own challenges.