Clark Quinn's Learnings about Learning
(The Official Quinnovation blog)

12 February 2009

On the road again

Clark @ 12:58 PM

Well, this spring is shaping up differently than I expected. Instead of the doing the familiar talks or workshops in the usual places: Training’s Conference, eLearning Guild’s Annual Gathering, and ASTD’s TechKnowledge and International Conference, I’m doing new things in old and new places.  Not that I don’t like those conferences, in fact I recommend them, it’s just that life takes funny turns (and I like challenging myself). Which isn’t to say I won’t be at those conferences again (I hope and intend to).

So, where will I be showing up?  At VizThink, for one.  A conference I’ve been very interested in, and managed to get a chance to present at.  That’s really just in a few days (Feb 22-25), and I’ll be talking about the cognitive underpinnings behind diagrams (and more).  As well as soaking up some great thoughts from others!

I’ll also be talking at the 5th Annual Innovations in eLearning Conference, hosted by the Defense Acquisition and George Mason Universities in the beginning of June.  My topic is myths about new learners, and I intend to debunk much of the hype just as I like to do around learning styles (which will probably show it’s head in the talk), as well as provide practical guidelines.  Folks like Will Wright and Vint Cerf are keynoting, so this is bound to be special.

Finally, assuming there are enough registrations, I will be at ASTD’s ICE (end of May), not speaking but running a pre-conference workshop on elearning strategy.  This is based upon my chapter in the forthcoming Michael Allen’s eLearning Annual 2009 about both the important principles of elearning tactics like mobile, portals, social learning, and more, and tying those tactics together into a strategy.  The focus is on an integrated ‘performance ecosystem‘, and I reckon it’s the most useful thing I can offer in this economic uncertainty.  I’ve given it as a talk before, but not as a workshop, and this is for managers and executives to take the next step in improving their organizational learning infrastructure.  It’s time to work smarter, folks!

One of the ways I work smarter and keep learning is to push myself into new areas that are beyond my comfort zone but that are within my reach (e.g. Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development).  I recommend it to you too.  It’s a way to keep learning, and expanding.  I welcome new challenges, got any handy?


  1. Kia ora Clark

    It is strange, isn’t it, that Vygotsky has made such an impact on our thinking 3/4 of a century on. He did, of course, explain that teenagers and adults follow different patterns of development from the young minds he was studying at the time.

    His zone of proximal development is a great concept and the extension of it in adult learning is useful, for Vygotsky himself admitted that learning, even in the more advanced years, can be supported by a similar prop.

    For the analogy to work (and I’m not knocking your analogy) the adult has to have an inner ‘person’ that takes the part of the mother who was a key player in the studies Vygotsky reported on and who provided the guidance for the developing child.

    I’d like to extend that idea here. Who or what is it that takes the part of the mother, when an adult does what you have described, and steps into the zone of proximal development?

    My feeling is that few adults can (or know how to) do this – but those who can have the potential to be genuine innovators. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this.

    Catchya later
    from Middle-earth

    Comment by Ken Allan — 12 February 2009 @ 11:09 PM

  2. Ken, interesting question. I reckon it’s a meta-learning process that we develop. Vygotsky would have it, I think, as internalizing and expanding a set of social rules of nurturing, developing an internal dialog. I do think it’s a skill that can be developed, and should be. Back to my long-standing claim that organizations should not take their employee learning skills for granted, but set explicit competencies and develop them. I don’t know if few have it, but it is rarer than organizations (and society) should hope for. Ideally it would be developed in schools, but right now it’s rarely on the curriculum.

    Comment by Clark — 13 February 2009 @ 7:47 AM

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