Wednesday, January 02, 2013

One Learning Designer's Look Back at 2012

So we've wrapped up 2012 with a few ribbons and bows and have sent it on its way.  It was a big year.

Some of my professional and personal highlights from 2012 (not that you asked):

Growing Kineo US

Our Kineo US team has continued to grow and flourish.  While I still work out of my home office in the Boston area, our office in downtown Chicago now boasts a full host of project managers, instructional designers, ace graphic artists, top notch developers, our Totara LMS support team, as well as marketing and support personnel.  It's an exciting journey and I'm proud to be part of the Kineo family.

So what did I learn from all that? Well, keep on keeping on.  Virtual working is great, but it's also really wonderful to hang out in the office with my team mates.

Clients & Project Work
Of course, none of that growth is possible without our growing and amazing client list.  I've had the opportunity to work on a huge range of projects this year, from virtual classrooms to leadership academies.

And what could have been a boring course on information security won a Brandon Hall Gold Award for Compliance Training. Just a little proud of our team!

So what did I learn from all that? Well, that learning and development always provides something new to learn. New technologies, new approaches.  There's really no getting static in this field unless you just stop trying.


Going to industry conferences is where it's at as far as I'm concerned.  I love connecting and learning and breathing learning stuff with really smart people.  This year was no let down.

The year started off with me wrapping up my stint as the planning committee chairperson for ASTD TechKnowledge 12.  I was this close to doing onstage karaoke in front of the entire TK crowd -- it's hard not to let Vegas get into your soul. You can see the proof here.

In March, I ran a pre-conference session at the eLearning Guild's Learning Solutions called The Accidental Instructional Designer.  Loved, loved, loved that.  So much, in fact, that I'll be doing it again this March!

I helped facilitate two ASTD Learn Now Conferences -- one in April and the other in July -- where we focused on real application of social, mobile, and performance support.  Working closely with Justin Brusino, Bob Mosher, Conrad Gottfredson and Chad Udell -- amazing!

At DevLearn in November, I had a great time with my session: Putting the Design Back in Instructional Design. This session had me out of my comfort zone -- I was reading and researching it for the six months leading up to it.  How's that for some informal learning with a clear goal in mind?

So what did I learn from all this conference speaking? Well, that yes, I can talk in front of 1,200 people and somehow pull it off without looking or sounding like a complete idiot.  That I need to slow down more when I talk and let people absorb it a bit (thanks to Lance Dublin for that feedback!) 


I appeared in actual paper print this year for my first time with an article published in ASTD's T&D Magazine. As much online blogging and writing as I've done in the past 7 years, it was still a thrill to see my words in an actual magazine.

Not only that, but I got interviewed for an article on training that appeared in Delta Sky Magazine.  You know, an inflight magazine that you randomly read while enroute from O'Hare to SFO or something. Weird, right? In print and in the air! (This is where people can start making jokes about the mile high club or something).

My article, The Accidental Instructional Designer, appeared on the Learning Solutions site in January.  OK -- it's not a paper magazine, but I think it's one of the best industry news sources out there so I was thrilled just the same.

My blog has suffered a bit this year as my writing has ended up elsewhere.  But be sure to check out Kineo Top Tips to which I'm a regular contributor.

So what did I learn from all that? Well, that people actually like to read what I write. And that I really love it.  And that I just need to keep on writing...I've got quite a few unfinished articles and ideas floating around that I need to pull together and get out there.  It's like giving birth sometimes.  And also like releasing an idea into the wild.

Getting Sporty

I used to be a competitive swimmer, so getting back in the water to race brings back strange feelings for me.

This July, I swam the swimming leg of a sprint triathlon in my now hometown of Littleton, MA.  Of all the relay swimmers, I was the first one out of the water and my team finished fifth.  Pretty cool if I do say so myself.  And apparently I am saying that myself.  This inspired me to start running in earnest and a few days later I started a couch to 10k running program. I've got my mind thinking about doing the entire triathlon this July...

So what did I learn from all that? Well, exercise really does make me feel better. And that sometimes you can just decide to do it--and then you go ahead and do it.

City & Guilds

Big news for those of us who proudly fly the Kineo banner! We're now thrilled to be a part of City & Guilds, a UK force for 130 years with a focus on vocational training and support for employers all over the globe.  As part of City & Guilds, our goal: "to become the global workplace learning company." You can read more about our acquisitions on our website.

So what did I learn from all that? This one is still new so haven't had much time to absorb.  But I think it's that exciting alliances can come from unexpected places!

So what's up for 2013?
Well, there's that triathlon that I may have just publicly committed myself to...

I'll be speaking at loads of conferences, with ASTD TK 13, Learning Solutions, and ASTD ICE coming ahead in the nearer future.

Hoping to write more, more, more.

Hoping to push myself more, more, more.

And -- to slow down a bit too and be more mindful....(check out my Learning Resolution on the Open Sesame blog.)

Thanks for being with me in 2012 and looking forward to more more more in 2013!

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