Sunday, June 07, 2009

Thoughts on ASTD

This past week, I spent Monday and Tuesday at the ASTD International Conference & Expo in DC. Not attending sessions, mind you, but working the Kineo booth and fine-tuning my schmoozing super powers.

My first impressions of ASTD: ‘wow, what a huge conference’ and ‘wow, these are traditional training people for whom most of this eLearning stuff is kind of exotic and/or quite overwhelming and threatening.’ There were over 350 booths selling their wares: from “are you a squiggle, a circle, or a box?”people to big LMS companies to leadership/management classroom trainers up the wazoo.

From Kineo, Steve Rayson and Mark Harrison from the UK office were there, along with my new US boss, Steve Lowenthal. It’s nice to meet people for the first time and give them hugs. Especially the people you work with.

At the show, we talked to a lot of people about Moodle and Articulate. Could see lots of light bulbs going off in people’s heads as they viewed our demos and heard about pricing options for Moodles. More on that later, but I do see us at a Tipping Point with the Corporate Moodle.

But more important than all that, and what you, my fellow bloggers/twitterers will be most interested in, are all the cool bloggers/tweeple I got to meet face to face!

Wendy Wickham. We went for a walk and had coffee. Jealous? I know you are. We talked about some of the sessions she attended (go read her blog for all the news).

Clark Quinn. He’s with me on the impending Moodle explosion. Clark, I’m sorry I missed you at the beer meetup. I got there too late!

Kevin Thorn. He’s the guy who does really cool cartoons. Also one of the nicest human beings on the planet.

Mark Britz. Turns out to be one of the nicest human beings on the planet.

Dave Ferguson. When I finally made my way to the Monday night Beer & Bloggers session at Fado, Dave was the only one left from the crowd I had hoped to mingle with. Dave was regaling some Germans in the corner with amazing stories and singing the Liechtenstein National Anthem with great gusto. Then we sat down and talked about “Ten Steps to Complex Learning.” What an amazing human being. Too bad I didn’t get a picture.

Marcia Connor. She arrived at the Beer & Bloggers session even later than I did, having just driven 2.5 hours to get to DC! And then she drove me to my hotel, for which I will be forever thankful.

The reason I missed most of the Beer & Bloggers session (after doing my best to get it organized), is that the crew from Articulate took Kineo out to dinner at Clyde’s. I sat next to the very famous Tom Kuhlman and talked about everything from the amazing Articulate community to home schooling and virtual office worker issues to passports. (Tom, my passport just arrived in the mail yesterday!)

The Articulate booth was just around the corner from us and there was always a big crowd listening in to Tom’s sessions. This company really cares about helping people create better eLearning with their products. Thanks to Mark Schwartz, Articulate CEO, for the great meal.

I wished I’d had more time as I missed some key people I would have loved to have connected with:

Robert Kennedy (Robert stopped by the Kineo booth on Tuesday while I was at a client meeting.)

Craig Wiggins (he came to crash the Beer & Bloggers party. So bummed we didn’t meet!)

I returned to Massachusetts late Tuesday night after having a great dinner with my brother, visiting my Dad’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery and seeing my cousin’s two-week old baby.

What a two days! And that was just the beginning of the week. I’m still bleary, but invigorated.


Jane Bozarth said...

Interested in your opening comments about the preponderance of classroom trainers who seem overwhelmed by the e-horizon. I encounter this at many conferences and other events.

This is an abiding interest of mine and one that I had hoped would become my dissertation topic. That didn't happen, but I have posted a copy of a lit review on my own blog. It discusses personality traits, attitudes toward teaching, other factors that might interest you.

But I'll leave this with a question for you and your readers: I used to say that classroom trainers would not be left behind, but now I'm not so sure. Is the gulf widening? Will we soon see a never-the-twain shall meet distinction between "classroom people" and "e-people"?

Jane Bozarth said...

Oops -- thought my comment header would link to the blog post/lit review. It's at .


Robert Kennedy III said...

Yeah Cammy!! Ya missed me!! lol! I was a bit crazed as well. We'll definitely meet up at another event soon.

Unknown said...

Great meeting you (finally) and the Steves as well! Sorry we missed on beers - I was there, you were there ..."there" was a big busy bar!

Wendy said...

Cammy - awesome to finally meet you in person too!!!! The division Jane talks about in her comments seemed even MORE stark at the Innovations in eLearning conference that same week.

Glad you had a safe trip home. Guess it's back to reality for both of us.....

Tom said...

Nice to finally meet you, Cammy. I'm looking forward to the day when I can finally get my own passport and not sit in fear of deportation. :)