Steve Nguyen: What I Learned at DevLearn 10

Steve Nguyen: What I Learned at DevLearn 10

I remember leaving DevLearn 2009 and thinking, “This was THE BEST conference experience I’ve ever had.”  At that moment, I knew a return trip was in order in 2010.  Coming into this year’s edition of DevLearn, I had different expectations that last year.  In 2009, it was all about bringing home those two or three nuggets of information that I could apply right away.  This year felt different.   I’m no longer going blindly from session to session mining for the few tidbits of information that will sell the value of my conference attendance.  Instead, it’s more about seeking out new connections who are doing great things and rejuvenating live connections I made last year.  In doing so, those golden nuggets of information, some might call @learnnuggets, find me through natural human interaction.

The first new connection with someone doing great work was Kelly Young from Humana.  Kelly and her team have developed a wonderful internal social media application they call the “Buzz” (based on SocialText).  In Buzz, Humana employees can connect with one another and see graphically how strong their network is in their “Hive”.  Buzz also lets employees earn badges for accomplishments in the network such as the number of contributions they’ve added, questions answered, etc.

Next, I made a real life connection with Bill Cushard (@billcush).  Bill and I have been following one another for a little while now, but got our first opportunity to really connect at lunch one day.  We discussed a new hire and sales program he was working on and trying to infuse elements of social media into them.  We brainstormed how he might use location based services for sales people to check in and have tips messaged to them based on where they are.  We talked about how new hires could use an internal social media application to introduce themselves and get to know each other, like Bill and I had on Twitter, and use in person engagements to dive into deeper issues.

I furthered a connection from last year with Neil Lasher (@neillasher).  If you know Neil, you know that he is quite the renaissance man.  Conversations with Neil can go in any number of directions. 

In this case, I was intrigued to learn about his DemoFest submission called Phone2Learn.  The concept is delivering learning to a mobile device the old fashioned way….VOICE.  I like to think of it as voice-activated, voice-delivered augmented reality.  What I love about the concept is its simplicity.  In a world where we’re so caught up in new fangled user interfaces and trying to shrink everything down to fit on a mobile device’s screen, Neil and his team have gone back to basics.  Delivering a real life “learning conversation”.    It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

I could go on and on.  Learning from Lance Dublin about Qualcomm’s “52 Weeks…” program and making connections withSumeet Moghe and BJ Schone to learn more about it.  Dinner with Rob Robertson and Kristi Broom to learn about their use of SharePoint.  Dinner with Gina SchreckWilliam PacoTerrence Wing, Rob Robertson, and Kristi Broom discussing how we could game the Backchannel game by making up our own words like FARF. 

Thanks again to the e-Learning Guild for putting on another memorable event.  I laughed, I learned, I connected, and yes I cried (during Brent Schlenker’s touching story about his daughter’s wonderful accomplishment).   It’s through these connections that we’ll continue to learn, share, and grow.

This is a guest blog post written by Steve Nguyen (@espnguyen), Technology Lead at Cargill, Inc. Steve specializes in the area of technology enabled learning. His skills and interest in social learning and social media are currently being used at Cargill, where their Learning and Development function is looking to transform the way people think about learning.