Quick thoughts on #BETT2014 based on my previous expectations post…

Sun rises above ExCeL and dockers statue

The sun rises on BETT 2014

Followup to my last post

What I will see/hear:

the economy’s improvements not being passed through to learning/education budgets

— yep, ‘more with less’ was still used a few times in sessions I attended. In the tradeshow there were a few ‘only costs as much as 3 iPads’ type comments, iPads seem to be becoming the new pint of beer.

even more BYOD over machine provision (with backlash from controlled/safe environment providers)

— somewhere in between. Schools clearly want to support devices but the suggestion in most cases seems to be provision via 1-2-1 type initiatives. Learner-owned devices will be a bigger deal at LT than BETT.

more on HTML5/adaptive design, but with some vendors still pushing Flash items (including old off-the-shelf libraries which are not getting refreshed very quickly)

— apps were the major thing at BETT, the announcements around responsive elearning will be a big trend at LT.

learning by individuals circumnavigating their organizations’ expectations and limitations (via PLNs, MOOCs, informal over formal, etc) whilst others avoid learning altogether

— yes, to an extent, be it extra support for high achievers in schools or more recognition of 70/20/10 in the workplace.

post-recession leadership crisis, risk of ‘The West’ losing out top-end talent jobs to the markets they have outsourced the manual work to previously (alongside concerns that India, Brazil and others are not becoming the sources of skilled labor that it had been presumed they would)

— a lot of stalls were clearly trying to react to changes in the curriculum, particularly around IT and the shift in thinking about what skills people will need in the future (not ‘zeppelin’ tech as Gove’s speech referenced).  To me, it also seemed like less European (especially Nordic) and more Asian stalls than last year.

more about academies (in school and workplace settings) and a disconnect between their supposed improvements in quality versus economies of scale and other loses

— Corporate Universities still seem to be the preferred option to try and form better L&D organizations (but with problems), talk of Free Schools and academies seemed fairly moot.

infographics, video, diagrams and other visuals to replace boring old text – oh it is so 16th century 😉

— video and animation are always well represented at BETT. The Workplace Learning stream covered visuals over text in one session. Not much on infographics, surprisingly.

some cool stuff with 3D printers in subjects such as Physics and Design and Technology.

— yep, Gove even called out 3D printers for particular praise in his speech and has promised the ministerial equivalent of a big bucket of cash so schools can have one; the problem, no doubt, will be ensuring they are actually used productively.

Learning Record Stores vs Learning Management Systems (the latter being dead unless it is at the core of the organization’s way of operating).

— schools face an ongoing challenge in selecting between multiple systems vs one system that might not be best of breed (for example, running everything including learning via SharePoint but missing out on some social learning tools, etc). This isn’t too different to workplaces who need learning embedded in teams’ “workflows” but when their work is based around tools it is tricky (Salesforce being one exception).

What I will not see/hear:

much in the way of evidence-based selling

— did see some to be fair, but its too often “look at what this person is doing” rather than the, to me more sensible, Problem > Solution > Example approach.

evidence of MOOCs being used to formally break organizational silos (both on the provider and learner side)

— some central resources such as JANET video conferencing offer the opportunities the break silos but organizations appear to be still too insular.

a convincing argument that Tin Can, Learning Record Stores and Badges can come together in a automated enough way to avoid people ignoring them (ala ePortfolios).

— nope, sorry.  I was correct to think it is still too early – one of the Workplace Learning sessions even called Tin Can out as not being the answer to L&D’s problems.

Thoughts ahead of the January conference season

A brief post to put down what I am expecting from BETT (I will be attending over the next two days) and Learning Technologies (which I will hopefully be able to go to at least some of the free exhibition).

What I will see/hear:

  • the economy’s improvements not being passed through to learning/education budgets
  • even more BYOD over machine provision (with backlash from controlled/safe environment providers)
  • more on HTML5/adaptive design, but with some vendors still pushing Flash items (including old off-the-shelf libraries which are not getting refreshed very quickly)
  • learning by individuals circumnavigating their organizations’ expectations and limitations (via PLNs, MOOCs, informal over formal, etc) whilst others avoid learning altogether
  • post-recession leadership crisis, risk of ‘The West’ losing out top-end talent jobs to the markets they have outsourced the manual work to previously (alongside concerns that India, Brazil and others are not becoming the sources of skilled labor that it had been presumed they would)
  • more about academies (in school and workplace settings) and a disconnect between their supposed improvements in quality versus economies of scale and other loses
  • infographics, video, diagrams and other visuals to replace boring old text – oh it is so 16th century 😉
  • some cool stuff with 3D printers in subjects such as Physics and Design and Technology.
  • Learning Record Stores vs Learning Management Systems (the latter being dead unless it is at the core of the organization’s way of operating).

 What I will not see/hear:

  • much in the way of evidence-based selling
  • evidence of MOOCs being used to formally break organizational silos (both on the provider and learner side)
  • a convincing argument that Tin Can, Learning Record Stores and Badges can come together in a automated enough way to avoid people ignoring them (ala ePortfolios).

Why we all need a wall

This week I have overheard a few comments about social media, mostly on trains, one was something like:

  • “I have twitter but I don’t do it”

and another:

  • “it is just another place and thing for people to check so nobody will use it”.

Both comments immediately strike me with fear.  Can expanding your own perspective really be seen as a chore and something you can not be bothered to do?  Sure, I am not the most active poster on Twitter but I recognize the value.  In the past I have done basic training on the value of social media for people, I suspect the people I heard above need such training!  Indeed, if the second person is talking the truth for their organization, perhaps it is a bigger problem that I suspected.

This all made me think back to my Christmas movie marathon, which included watching Shirley Valentine for about the first time in 15 years. As at the start of this clip, Shirley talks to her kitchen wall to consider the failings of her life.  This is, of course, a fairly common trait in movies via diaries (Bridget Jones/Twilight) and, more recently, blogs.  Now I suspect that something the people I overheard on the train miss the point of is that whilst social media is what you want it to be but should not be dismissed out of hand.  To me, it is used to learn about land from the world, I also know plenty of people who use it (well mostly Facebook) to effectively log their lives.  Fine, so be it.  If only one person interacts with each posting you have created something beyond what Shirley, Bridget or Bella had managed.