Session Notes & Links from ASTD (American Society for Training & Development)

Thank you to all the FABULOUS learners at ASTD’s international convention in Chicago.  Here is a recap of my session with links and a few of my slides and side rants (thrown in for your entertainment value!).

The title of my session was, “Using Today’s Technology for the Game of Learning!”

If our goal is to engage learners and make learning fun again, it may be time to look for ways to take learning OUT of the classroom and put it into the hands (and devices) of the learners.  Let’s get them involved in the process, from telling us what they need, to co-creating content for BIG FUN learning.  In order to involve our learners, we have to be willing to step off of our thrown …or podium and remember that WE are smarter than ME!


Repeat after me, “I will not stand in front and read BORING powerpoint slides to my audience as if they were mindless idiots!”  That mantra, repeated daily, will help you shift from standing up and dumping information to truly engaging the brains of the people in your audience.  There are technology tools that can help engage, teach and even thrill your teams as they are learning …even outside the classroom walls BEFORE and AFTER a learning event!

WHY should you worry about changing the way training is delivered in your organization?  Well part of it has to do with the fact that our learners have changed!  We have 1-yr olds trading stock on e*trade for goodness sake.  They are tech-savvy, impatient, have ADHD, and they have a lot to contribute!  Here are some statistics:

We need to use some of the tools that are already in the pockets, purses and backpacks of our learners (and I’m not talking about bandaids, chewing gum or tweezers here!).

One of my favorite tools is the fabulous FLIP camera. Get creative and get others in the driver’s seat creating content!  Involve customers, vendors, and of course employees!  Some of the ideas shared included giving sales teams cameras and having them create a 5 minute learning video to teach the other teams about a new product roll-out.  Have a few of your best customers create a short video showing a “Day in the life” of that customer to show your customer service teams what it is like in your customer’s world.  Have executive teams or senior members of the organization share 3 things they know now that they wish they would have known when they first started in the industry or at your company.  These learning videos can be loaded on your own website or on sites such as YouTube or Vimeo (both set to private).

Create podcasts within your organization (simple audio recordings saved as MP3 files).  Interview team members and capture their knowledge to share with others.  Download audio books and have them available on MP3 player for people to check out.  And for those of you concerned about the risks and hazards of having these tech tools available to employees, LET IT GO! Reading your training manuals can give people paper cuts and looking at boring Powerpoint can cause brain damage so this is much safer and less expensive than those worker’s comp claims.


We discussed ways to take geo-tagging apps used for marketing or games such as FourSquare or GoWalla and create learning treasure hunt games.  You could leave envelopes at different locations with blog posts or articles in them for learners to find using a geo-location list you give and their mobile devices.  By adding the element of competition you will turn learning into a fun and fast-paced race to learn!  This is very much like the popular geocaching game for treasure hunters, only the real treasure in your hunt is big nuggets of learning!



For another dimension of fun, you can use augmented reality tools such as LAYER to embed pieces of information or content from your learning programs into specific locations.  By tagging the content to the location, you can send participants out on a hunt for information using mobile devices.




With barcode scanner apps on many of today’s mobile devices, look for ways to add 2-dimentional bar codes on objects that will provide more information to learners.  You can place barcodes on walls within a building that bring the company’s story to life, or provide safety tips to learners.  This picture shows a barcode placed on a tombstone that brings up information on the deceased.  You can create your own content-loaded QR tag at – go ahead and try it–it’s FREE!  I think I will be making a t-shirt with a tag on it that takes people to my website :))  How can you use this?

With iPads, ipods, smart phones, Kindle readers, and more gadgets popping up daily, make a commitment to learn more about these new mobile learning tools, and do share your ideas here for the rest of us because WE are smarter than ME!

Be sure and check out the SocialKNX on Facebook where I always share tech tips for BIG learning and building BIG biz.  I encourage folks to post questions there or their own GREAT tech tips!

It was great meeting so many wonderful people this week at ASTD and I look forward to more BIG learning and BIG success stories!

President & Digital Immigration Officer
Synapse 3Di

Why Create Your Own YouTube Channel?

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world (just behind Google) and since over 85% of Americans watch videos on-line, you want to make sure you are taking advantage of this power-social marketing tool.  Do you have tips you could provide via video?  Can you teach something in 5 minutes?  Don’t worry about the home-made look~ That’s the beauty of YouTube.  Using a handheld video recorder or even a cell phone, you can record and upload tips and messages for your fans and have them all collected on your very own channel. You might be asking,”Why do I need a channel? Can’t I just upload my videos without setting up a channel?”  Well yes you can , but if you’d like a central place to collect your videos and allow people to subscribe to any new video that is loaded, you need a channel!  And besides, it is easy enough that you can be set up in under 15 minutes.  Here are the 4 steps to set up your channel:

1.  Log into YouTube or sign up if you have never done so. Click on the CREATE an ACCOUNT.  If you have a Google account, you can use that same log in information without having to start over (Google owns YouTube).

2. Take some time to fill out your profile and tell folks about your business.  You can add links back to your website, blog, Facebook page or anywhere else you’d like to point them.  You can customize the colors and choose how you want your videos displayed.

3. The next step is to decide if you want everything shown to the world or if you will keep a playlist designated for family or private videos.  Not only are YOUR videos highlighted here, but anytime you see a great video on YouTube you can save it in your playlists or mark it as FAVORITE which will be displayed on your channel.

4. The last step is to tell the world about your channel.  Like Facebook or Twitter, your URL is the website with your username following: From here you can link your videos to your website, your blog, your Facebook page and more!  So what are you waiting for, get that camera rolling!


5 Reasons I Won’t Follow You Back

If you are trying to build your Twitter following, you may want to take a fresh look at your Twitter profile and do some housekeeping first.  There are some folks who will auto-follow anyone who follows them, but many people want to make sure they are following people who will add great content to their Twitter stream.  Here are the 5 reasons I do not follow people:

1. If there is no photo.  Do not let the DEFAULT BIRD of laziness kill your Twitter efforts. Don’t be like those folks who drive to work while they shave or put on make up- Get dressed before you leave the house.  Loading a picture can be tricky for some folks but if you don’t have a digital photo on your computer to load, try using the camera that is built into your laptop to snap a photo or better yet have your teenaged son or daughter do it for you!  They can even go to and do some teeth whitening or blemish remover before loading it.

2. If there is a photo but it looks like something out of a Playboy or Playgirl magazine you will not only NOT be followed but you will probably be BLOCKED!  I don’t want to see a picture that is cropped from your chin to your hips and I CERTAINLY don’t want to see your sculpted 6-pack abs (that would only irritate me every time I saw your tweets!).  Save those Glamour Girl poses for your boyfriend, and get dressed before you take that headshot!

3. If you have no bio written.  Take a moment (it’s only 160 characters for goodness sake) and tell us who you are or better yet why you are here in Twitter Town.  Are you a photographer, a trainer, a stamp collector?  Put something that gives your followers an idea of the type of information you will be sending out and don’t forget to show some personality.  Play around with your bio and feel free to change it up often to see which one you like the best.  You can take a look at my Twitter Bio for one idea.

4. If there is no link allowing me to find out more about you.  Add the URL to your website, your blog, your Facebook profile or even your LinkedIn page.  Show me you are legit.  If you are entering Twitter Town to network or showcase your business, don’t forget this important step!

5.  Post a few tweets before you head out to follow folks or clean up your trash-talking tweet stream if you already have tweets posted.  I tend to look at one page of someone’s tweets to see what kind of information they are sending out. This is a good exercise of all of us to do – look one one page of your Twitter profile and see it from the perspective of a new follower.  Would YOU follow YOU if you saw that?  Nothing is a bigger Twitter turn off than a page filled with profanity or raunchy talk that belongs …well that belongs in the TRASH CAN.  Remember that your tweets are out there for the world to see, and unless you are trying to attract that kind of trashy business, keep a bar of soap handy and clean that Twitter beak!

Remember, everyone has different standards but these are a few that are shared by many business folks here in Twitter Town.  If you want more tips on creating a successful Twitter nest check out Gettin’ Geeky with Twitter: Build Your Business and Manage Your Brand with Today’s Hottest Social Media Tool – available in eBook (for the impatient) or paperback!

What are some of the standards that you have when it comes to folks you will follow, unfollow or block?


Daily Time-Travel in Today’s School

Most kids put away their futuristic tools each morning and enter a time machine to go back to a past that is more and more unfamiliar and irrelevant to them.  We call it school.   They enter a classroom that looks much like the classrooms of yesteryear, to learn from teachers who are unfamiliar with the future tools or how they are used in the new digital landscape.  Many parents of these same children avoid teaching them how to use the new tools out of fear, frustration and intimidation.  Where will they go to prepare for their future?  Who will lead them?

Wikis, blogs, Google docs, geo-tagging, social and mobile applications, are just a few of the tools that today’s kids use… outside the classroom.  They find it odd that they’re told to look through old books for answers when Google has the latest information.  They can’t talk with others in class about the answers to a test but as soon as they leave school they collaborate with a global team to solve more complex problems in a 3D immersive gaming environment.   

Just do a Google search for “Layoffs in schools” to see that hundreds of thousands of teachers will lose their jobs this year and next. Sadly, many of the younger, tech-savvy teachers are first to go and many of the tenured teachers feel as is the digital divide has turned into a digital canyon that has them on the wrong side.  These difficult times call for creative and radical solutions.

As Dorothy said, “We are not in Kansas anymore!”  We have entered a new digital landscape that requires innovative thinking.  We need to turn everything on its head to find creative solutions, such as reverse-mentoring, where students become the teacher, where teachers become coaches, applying tried wisdom to new problems.  We need tools that blow the walls off of classrooms and take the students into environments that look more like the collaborative settings they enjoy when they leave school.

It’s time to ignite the desire for everyone to take action; to change what we know today as “school” and to become more innovative than ever before!  We must seek new and creative ways to use more technology tools in our classrooms to prepare students for their future.  We must all realize that he tools that built our past will not work to build our future.  As learners, we must enter that time machine and go back to the future, where collaboration and teaming skills are critical.

If you had to start from scratch, what would you do different?

It’s about BIG learning! It’s about change. It’s about time!