CSTD Durham – Workshop Reflection
I had the distinct privilege of being the invited speaker at the first quarterly meeting of 2012 for the Durham Region Chapter of CSTD. This is the first time I’ve had the chance to speak to my CSTD colleagues in this kind of forum.
The focus for my talk was two-fold: first, an interactive discussion on some of the things you need to know when developing or contributing to e-learning strategies; and, second, a look at 5 trends that will gain traction in 2012 for L&D professionals.
I admit (now) to a little trepidation on the latter portion of my talk because I don’t really consider myself a futurist. However, I also found it to be an interesting challenge to take a look at some things that might really get interesting for people in our profession as the year progresses. I also admit to a little more than my usual level of pre-talk jitters because this was the first time I’d put a lot of this stuff together into a single mini-workshop. As they say in theatre, once you get past Opening Night, you should be OK.
The session turned out to be a lot of fun. I had 22 participants ranging from existing e-learning practitioners and managers to others who were very, very new to the industry. We did a lot of Q&A and breakouts and it was really neat to see what people came up with in responses to some of the queries. I also observed a lot of peer-level (social!) sharing of ideas and expertise, which was also really nice to see.
What was clear to me was that strategic planning and mindset are under-served skills in our profession. We’re used to being viewed as a “cost centre” for organizations rather than a strategic asset that not only adds value, but acts as a key enabler for the achievement of corporate objectives as the plan unfolds. My gut tells me that we should be doing more of this kind of learning and exploration on the individual front, but also actively planning our tactical solutions with the long view in mind. Ultimately, it comes down to getting a seat at the decision-makers’ table. I’m lucky working with the CF that I don’t have to sell the value of training to anyone; rather, we do have to sell the value of transformation and new innovations, but to me that seems to be a much smaller fight than going to a C-level decision-maker who thinks lunch & learns are all the “training” people require.
Good problems to chew on, I think.
As I look back, I was really happy with how the session turned out. From what I’ve been told by the chapter exec, the first glance at the participant feedback was very positive and I did enjoy myself. Of course, getting myself unwound from that session when it ended at 9:30 did prove to be problematic. 4:20 came mighty early today…
If I’m really lucky, I’ll be invited back. I’d enjoy doing that session again.