Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Quick hits

The TechKnowledge conference has been a whirlwind as I've attended sessions, chatted with presenters and attendees, listened and learned, and shared my knowledge.

I will offer more analysis in the next couple of days, but in the meantime here are some quick hits of hot topics at the conference this year.

1) social software and e-learning. ASTD COO/CIO Tony Bingham talked about social software tools in his opening address, as did keynote speaker and editor Michael Rogers. These tools are currently very hot among the younger generations; look for their influence to begin spreading into workplace learning. I just wrote two articles on this topic in Learning Circuits. Go to We Learning Part I and Part II .

2) informal learning. This topic was mentioned in many of the sessions I attended. By some estimates, up to 80 percent of learning in a company takes place informally. Online learning communities, expert management software, workflow tools, and other innovations attempt to standardize and take advantage of the informal learning that's already happening in organizations.

3) context. You may have heard "content is king." Well, the cry at TechKnowledge this year is that context is critical. Without context, we're just throwing information at learners. With context, they're able to understand what that information means to them and to their jobs, and to effectively translate the information into knowledge and, we hope, action. Technology, said Harvey Singh of Nanowave, will link context with content.

I'll leave you for now with a quote from Singh. "The best way to predict the future," he said, "is to invent it."

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