EduTech 2013 – Some comments and ideas

As  lot of you already know I spent the last two days at EduTech 2013 – Corporate and Government Learning Congress.

and already a couple of people who didn’t attend asked me ‘How was it?’  Well it was good, I enjoyed it, Day one was for me better than day (and I will explain why later) and again for those of you who know me I usually at these things spend a fair bit of time in the exhibition hall talking to vendors and seeing where things are going.  I often joke with people (though in truth it is not a joke) that I learn as much from the exhibition floor as I do from the presentations, that didn’t happen this time and I didn’t really spend all that much time in the exhibition area, why? Well I think because the focus of the entire event has traditionally been Formal Education k-12 and tertiary, and the corporate market is a very different one, there are different vendors and people like me are looking for very different things.

For example; wandering around I spoke with vendors who made an assumption that I worked for school, even though everyone had different coloured lanyards, (though to be completely fair I had a presenter one so I could have been anyone) and seemed confused when I said look sorry I don’t work for a school I work for a large organisation and seemed to continue to talk to me about something I was never going to be interested in, some of the stands even restricted entry into their competitions to people having a valid education institute email address it was little things like that, and that  I am not interest in hardware and servers I have an IT department for that, I am  not interested in school management software, i’m not a school.  I am interested in learning and training aids (and not just ones that involve ipads or technology) for adults, learning content and delivery, not curriculum, things that the corporate side of learning is interested in.

Now this might sound like a criticism, it is not meant to be, but I think there needs to be some work done in how the exhibition hall is set out, maybe segmenting it a little bit, perhaps as two people now have suggested, putting the ‘corporate’ venders in one section of the hall, rather than being spread out, something that makes it more engaging for me.

Now the exhibitors are one thing, the content is something else and it is the content on which a conference will ultimately thrive or fail.  As I said I liked day one much more than day two, why?, well that is simple, day one was much more practical with an array of outstanding  Learning talent, Charles Jennings is always great to listen too, and Natalie Goldman and Helen Blunden are outstanding practitioners with solid practical, hands on experience and wonderful delivery styles that engage and provide the audience with solid outcomes and value.  Day two was very different however, not in the skill or expertise of the presenters, but in the content.  My pick of the day was Ewan Macintosh from NoTosh, who offered some truly interesting insights followed closely by John Stericker who was insightful funny, without a single powerpoint slide to help him along (it was an outstanding job in my opinion as it was his first time presenting at a major conference).  As for the rest of the day, the breakout sessions were solid, but not as engaging as they might have been, and while I like to think about the future of L&D and data and all of those things, but what interests me and I think I lot of us in the game of corporate L&D is how to solve todays problems, how to engage with our learners today and over the next 12-18 months.  Now I know that is short-term thinking  and we need to look to the future and I talk about where we need to be and how to get there constantly at an executive level, but and here is the big but, there are plenty of problems that need fixing now and over the next 3-6 months that are in real terms far more important for us.

So all in all I had a really good time, I want to think Fiona, and Charles and Tony from EduTech, for being so helpful and making the experience a great one.  I hope you decide to continue with the corporate congress in 2014.  I look forward to attending.

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About pauldrasmussen
Paul Rasmussen is one of Australia’s most widely read Vocational Education and Training Commentators. He provides deep, unbiased analysis and insights not only on topical issues, but also on the underlying structure and policy which supports the industry. His writing and analysis has been praised for its uncompromising and thought provoking style and its ability to focus on the issues of real importance to the sector. He has advised various government departments and ministers, training providers, public and private organisations, not for profits and small to medium enterprises on the VET sector and the issues and opportunities facing it. He is one of Australia’s most awarded learning professionals and a regular speaker at a range of conventions and forums. His extensive experience in vocational education, and learning and development coupled with formal qualifications in philosophy, ethics, business and education management allow Paul to provide a unique view of the road ahead and how to navigate it.

3 Responses to EduTech 2013 – Some comments and ideas

  1. John Stericker says:

    Thanks for the mention Paul 🙂 Hope to see you again soon.
    John

  2. Thanks for the mention too Paul and I concur with your comments. Looking at the twitter feed, there seemed to be other sessions that also would have been great for corporate and government too. Certainly to inspire some ‘creative thinking’ but we didn’t have a program. I had to rely on sending tweets out to people asking what room they’re in and who they’re seeing. Someone told me that the organisers don’t encourage mingling between the congresses [as in attending other congress] due to different ticket prices. However at least we got to see some brilliant speakers up close and personal – that’s what I liked.

  3. Pingback: EduTech 2013 – A Curated Montage | Activate Learning Solutions

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