More than 1,600 people converged in Orlando, Florida for Learning 2013, a dynamic immersion in all aspects of organizational learning, hosted by Elliott Masie and sponsored by the MASIE Learning Consortium.

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The Grove’s Rachel Smith provided virtual graphic recording services for keynotes and general sessions, including George Takei, journalist Jane Pauley, Martin Bean from Open University, and more. Screenshots from her notes were shown in real time to the assembly. (2)

Five annotated snapshots follow, drawn from Rachel’s notes.


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1.  Personalized Approaches to Learning: Masie urged participants to be investigators of learning approaches when talking with one another. “How do you like to learn?” he asked almost all of the speakers. “What works best for you as a learner?” Many interesting perspectives were offered in response.

2.  Learning Compression: Former full-semester college courses can now be taken as six-week web-based mini-courses. Twenty-minute video lectures are compressed into five-minute videos; those are in turn compressed into 30-second information bites. We are at 140 characters in Twitter. In all of this we are experiencing learning compression, in which the duration of learning activities has become shorter.

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3.  Keeping the Focus Where It Belongs: During the Monday morning general session, Martin Bean of Open University spoke about scaling access to high-quality learning. The image above reflects his answer to the question, “What is your hope for the future of learning?”

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4.  Classroom of the Future:  Rahul Varma, from Accenture’s Learning and Development division, addressed the democratization of learning at the Tuesday morning General Session. Accenture has 275,000+ employees in 120 countries. The old way, which was to send them all to one training center somewhere in the Midwest, is no longer working. Now they have a new learning strategy based around the classroom of the future. The same content is delivered to multiple classrooms all over the world.

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5.  Humanizing Our Storytelling: George Takei, of Star Trek fame, spoke of his early years in internment during World War II, and of the power of storytelling. “I became aware of the fact that many people who seem otherwise well informed didn’t know about the internment. It became my mission in life to raise that awareness. The best way to do that is to tell the story of our incarceration: innocent American citizens were incarcerated simply because we looked like people who bombed Pearl Harbor. When you humanize a story, it becomes much more powerful and effective in getting people to understand.”

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These excerpts only hint at the rich layers of “learning about learning” within the 170 conference sessions. A thread running through many of the speakers’ comments is that technology is changing the landscape of learning and organizational development. We face challenges as we work to adapt older methods to new tools and ways of working. Still, the outlook is promising, and this conference provided much insight into where the field may be heading.

Click here to view Rachel Smith’s full graphic recordings, video segments from the conference, and sample mini-chapters from big learning data.

See the MASIE Learning Consortium’s website for information about past and upcoming Learning convenings.