On Thursday, August 18, I attended the first ever Evernote Trunk Conference in San Francisco. I have been a light user since early 2010, but recently I have taken on so many projects that I have been searching for an organization system that works for me. I have heard of people using Evernote for all kinds of reasons up to and including "putting everything in Evernote." I wanted to learn more. At the conference, talking to people, and listening to the speakers, I started to think about how learning professionals could use Evernote to design and deliver better training.
A trainer’s job would be much simpler if her audience were all geniuses. Imagine, for example, the long lunch breaks you could take if every person you worked with had the recall capacity of savant Daniel Tammet, who holds a world record for reciting Pi from memory to 22,514 digits and who learned conversational Icelandic in just one week.
There is a lot of talk about using social media in training or about social learning in the workplace, but frankly there is not a lot of action. There are many reasons for this inaction, but anyone who has worked in an organization knows there is an incredible amount of inertia keeping things the way they have always been done. Learning experience designers need to break free from the gravitational pull of "we have always done it this way" and try something new. There is no substitute for experimentation.
In a society where "there's an app for that" is synonymous with quick problem-solving, who wants to read a book or take a class to learn something new when a simple keyword search or a dedicated application will do? This desire for self-directed, highly accessible and instantly applicable information is a defining characteristic of our convenience culture and it doesn't just vanish when we go to work. For most trainees (particularly millennials) this is an expectation -- and it means that we must embrace opportunities to replace old-school training content with new-era performance support tools.
Have you ever wished for a way to navigate a Website, live inside your training presentation, without having to leave PowerPoint and open up a Web browser? Have you ever struggled to give your trainees a clear, detailed rendering of a large diagram or a form in PowerPoint -- only to resort to cropping the image and spreading it across multiple slides? How many times have you shown up to lead a training workshop only to discover that you left your thumbdrive at home and don't have the supporting files or exhibits you need?
If you've ever wondered whether or not the Army is just like World of Warcraft, the answer is: kinda. It turns out that all branches of the military are experimenting with some special form of virtual technology -- most of it still in the developmental stage -- with ever-increasing complexity and capabilities. Here are just a few examples: