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What's happening at #TK11?

February 3, 2011 16:01 by Tora Estep

ASTD's TechKnowledge 2011 Conference & Exposition started yesterday, and I have been keeping an eye on the Twitter feed to find out what's going on. Yesterday, Tony Bingham and and Kara Swisher did the keynote address. Cammie Bean liveblogged Tony Bingham's comments and Kara Swisher's keynote speech.

What are some of the takeaways from Tony's speech? Complexity will keep increasing, requiring leaders to become more creative. Mobile devices are and will continue to become a critical way to deliver learning (hm, maybe I should start thinking about upgrading my phone). Furthermore, new technologies are converging, creating whole new scenarios. What will that mean for learning professionals going forward? Learning is going mobile, and organizations are going to support more and more of that. That means ISD is up for a makeover. What else? Devices are going to figure out what you need, instead of requiring you to go looking for it.

Here are some of the frequent comments coming out of Twitter during Kara Swisher's presentation:

  • one of the top tech trends is the socialization of technology
  • information is every-changing, adding a level of instantness and thus changing the nature of information itself
  • everyone contributes, is an author; producers become consumers of content, thus improving the overall content
  • the masses are smarter than the elite; mistakes can be fixed faster
  • social changes the dynamics of how information gets to you; it's no longer controlled by gatekeepers
  • mobile is the future of everything; the geeks are right: We're moving to a Star Trek-like environment (oh, I guess I had better get some tall boots and mini-skirts...)
  • in a year everyone will have a tablet
  • people have relationships with their phones now
  • geolocation is another trend to pay attention to; it enables the real and the virtual worlds to collide--of course this has privacy implications...
  • everything is in the cloud; it makes sense to store everything in the cloud and not store it locally (allows you to pull it down from anywhere)
  • multitouch screens
  • how does this affect learning? The consumer drives everything.

I'll be back tomorrow with more from #TK11. To keep up with it in real time, follow the hashtag #TK11 on Twitter!

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Categories: Books | TechKnowledge

ASTD Books on Social Learning, Customer Service Are Top Picks

January 19, 2011 10:40 by Kristen Fyfe

Two ASTD books have recently been featured as "Top Picks." The New Social Learning by ASTD CEO Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner was featured on the Washington Post's leadership blog as a Top 5 Pick in leadership books. It was also featured on as a Top Pick as well.

I also heard from Bill Keenan, the editor of the Customer Service Newsletter, who said they've selected ASTD author Maxine Kamin's book 10 Steps to Successful Customer Service as one of the best customer service books for 2010! Bill tells me they'll be featuring the book in the February issue. I'm really looking forward to seeing that!


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Categories: ASTD in the News | Books

Learn about using social media, part 1 #socialmedia

October 28, 2010 12:05 by Tora Estep

Yesterday, some of us here at ASTD participated in a training session facilitated by fellow ASTD’ers Jennifer Homer, Anthony Allen, and Kristen Fyfe about social media, and I thought it might be fun to share some of what we learned.

One of the main messages I took away from the session is that one point of social media is about engagement with one another and with our customers. What ASTD aims to do is not just to provide information for you, but to learn from you. What’s on your minds? What kind of ideas do you have that can make us better, more valuable to you? What’s going on out there that’s cool, interesting, earth-shattering, or just plain useful? We want to know!

In their session, Jennifer, Anthony, and Kristen shared examples of organizations that are doing great jobs at engaging their audiences and making social media work for them:

The first of these was Starbucks with its My Starbucks Idea program. Their MyStarbucksIdea site provides an avenue for customers to offer ideas to Starbucks to provide more and more of what customers want. More than just a suggestion box, the site actually shows where Starbucks is taking these ideas and encourages everyone to vote on the ideas that they like the most, thus allowing the best ideas to rise to the top. That allows Starbucks to get a better picture of the kinds of things that their customers would like and continually improve the customer experience.

Another example of great use of social media for engaging customers is the Zappos blog. Zappos is an online retailer that started out primarily selling shoes, but has expanded to lots of other products. The company generates an enormous amount of customer loyalty. In yesterday's session we heard lots of oohs and aahs from the group demonstrating people’s excitement about the company’s customer service. What companies do you know that can generate that kind of response? On the Zappos blog are blogs from the CEO and the COO, blogs from other employees of the company, videos, a fashion culture blog, and more. When I went to check it out, one of the employees had just posted a video of another employee’s response to returning from vacation to find her desk decorated with hundreds of teabags (apparently she really likes tea). It’s a funny, personal touch that endears people to the company and its people. (Darin Hartley talks more about the Starbucks and Zappos examples in his book 10 Steps to Successful Social Networking for Business.)

The relaxed, casual use of social media represented by Starbucks and may seem incompatible with more formal types of cultures, but social media can be valuable for any type of organization. One of the examples shared in our training session was the Mayo Clinic’s Twitter feed. In their book, The New Social Learning, Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner tell a story about a woman suffering from wrist pain who clicked on a link to a story about wrist pain through the Mayo Clinic Twitter feed, found a surgeon who was doing new things, underwent a new type of surgery, and then went on to a better life without wrist pain. Another aspect of the Mayo Clinic example is that use of the organization's internal microsharing network is allowing physicians to connect with each other to work on new forms of treatment and to share ideas and information. (My husbands works as a research scientist at Inova Fairfax Hospital, and I love the idea of them using microsharing to brainstorm and work on new research ideas.) 

Another example Bingham and Conner share of a culture that places a high premium on control of information is the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, which has implemented an intelligence community wiki called Intellipedia that allows analysts from across the intelligence community to share information and capture knowledge. Intellipedia now has tens of thousands of users and gets upwards of 10,000 page edits per day. Now that’s a culture that clearly requires tight control of information—and yet, in this case, social media represents a way to share data in a way that’s fast enough to keep up with the speed of the world and to capture valuable background information that may not make it into formal reports.

The last example shared in our training session was the JetBlue Airways feed on Twitter. The feed allows JetBlue to connect directly with customers, giving the company an avenue to provide up-to-date information and to gather feedback that it then displays on its speakup site (both positive and negative). It lets JetBlue be transparent about what’s not working and how they plan to fix it, as well as share positive stories and thus gain valuable word-of-mouth advertising for its service. It also allows JetBlue employees to establish a direct connection with their customers, which supports customer loyalty.

Tomorrow, I will talk a bit about what I learned about using Twitter and Facebook and what ASTD is doing with its internal microsharing site, Yammer.

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What's going on at Learning 2010 #L2010?

October 25, 2010 13:18 by Tora Estep

So I have been following some of the Twitter traffic coming out of Learning 2010 (some of my colleagues are down there running a bookstore), and one of the attendees just posted a pic of some popular books at the store. Of course, I am pretty psyched that one of them is our very own The New Social Learning by Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner!

Another one of our authors, Cindy Huggett (@cindyhugg), has been tweeting regularly about virtual training and will have a session on Tuesday at 2:45 called "Virtual Sessions Gone Bad." She is the author of ASTD Press's Virtual Training Basics, which provides all the how-to information you might need to deliver effective virtual training.

Also tweeting at Learning 2010 is my pal Darin Hartley (@soc_net_writer), author of 10 Steps to Successful Social Networking for Business. He's got a session tomorrow at 8 a.m. He notes that keynote speaker Marshall Goldsmith (and contributor to The ASTD Leadership Handbook) offers the content of his library unrestricted, so you might want to check that out.


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Clark Quinn calls The New Social Learning a must-read!

October 22, 2010 16:16 by Tora Estep

In his October 18 blog post, Clark Quinn, a recognized leader in learning technology strategy, called Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner's book The New Social Learning a "must-read." He goes on to say that "this powerful book helps make abundantly clear just what is on offer. Illustrated with anecdotes and quotes from the major players jn the space (usual disclaimer), the message could not be clearer.  They’ve done the homework to illuminate the way the world is moving."

In other news on The New Social Learning front, the website continues to be populated with new content, including video and as well as the chapter-by-chapter drip. So check it out at

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Hot Off the Press: The New Social Learning

August 11, 2010 12:32 by Tora Estep

Hot Off the Press

The New Social Learning
By Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner
Foreword by Daniel H. Pink

Training often gives people solutions to problems already solved. Collaboration addresses challenges no one has overcome before.

Beyond the hype, buzzwords, and entertainment value of reconnecting with old friends, people in organizations across the globe use social media to collaborate and learn. Emerging technologies enable a new kind of knowledge‐building ecosystem with people at its core.
Classic business models presumed that relevant information is created and shared either through management or training. But classic isn’t enough: there’s too much to know and make sense of, too little time to gain perspective, and information changes too fast to dispense. A virtual water cooler becomes a gathering place to share ideas and ask questions beyond the limits of formal organizations, company meetings, or classrooms.

Our inherent drive to learn together...Read More about The New Social Learning

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ASTD CEO Tony Bingham Responds to News on Training

August 3, 2010 10:14 by Kristen Fyfe

ASTD President and CEO Tony Bingham has issued this open letter:

The topic of training and its efficacy have been featured in three national newspapers this summer. USA Today opened the conversation with a June 11 article titled, “Laid off workers retrain but end up in same spot: Jobless;” then came the New York Times with a July 18 article, “After training, still scrambling for employment;” and most recently, an August 1 article in the Washington Post pondered, “Maybe it’s job retraining that needs to be retooled.”

The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) would like to provide our perspective on the value of training in response to these stories.

With unemployment still high at 9.5 percent, there are many who have sought to improve their skills through training and are still unemployed. This is certainly an unfortunate reality for some people, and while training alone is not a cure for unemployment; it is part of the solution for those needing different skills to succeed in the job market. To ensure that training investments are well-spent, the public and private sectors must work in partnership to make certain that training is targeted to help individuals prepare for a new occupation or career, meet available job requirements, close skills gaps, and address the hiring needs of the labor market.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for highly skilled workers will continue to grow over the next decade. In Bridging the Skills Gap, a white paper released by ASTD earlier this year, we note that 85 percent of the work in the United States involves transactions—the exchange of information, products, or services. This shift to a knowledge economy is significant because it requires workers to have a higher level of skills. Tony Carnevale, director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, notes in ASTD’s white paper that “Recessions accelerate the trend to eliminate low-wage, low-skill jobs.” He continues, “In a recession, the economy goes to sleep, but when it awakens, there will be a need for higher-skilled people to fill skill-intensive jobs.”

In a 2009 Time magazine article on the likelihood of unemployment and a decade of low job growth in the U.S., Harvard professor Roberto Mangabiera Unger noted, “…making cheap low-end jobs won’t deliver a workforce capable of sustaining a competitive advantage.” The article pointed out that training helps break the cycle of low skills, low productivity, and low wages.
In today’s knowledge economy, senior executives agree that systems and processes are no longer differentiators for organizations; these are becoming commodities. Today, people—their knowledge, skills, and abilities—are the competitive advantage for organizations. As the economy rebounds, organizations in the public and private sectors must strategically invest in developing the skills and knowledge of people who are working and those who want to work. Our opportunities for growth and success depend heavily on having a skilled workforce. It’s incumbent on all of us to use every available tool, including training, to achieve that potential.

Tony Bingham
President and CEO, ASTD 


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Categories: ASTD in the News | Membership | News | Public Policy | The Economy

Read the Interview with Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner on "The New Social Learning"

June 25, 2010 10:19 by Kristen Fyfe

The New Social Learning - a much anticipated book from ASTD's CEO and President Tony Bingham, and Marica Conner, partner at Altimeter Group - is a practical guide to how social media can be used to harness learning and transform organizations. The book is at the printer and due for release late this summer. But here, in the June issue of LX Briefing (page 6), is an interview with Bingham and Conner about the book and the power of social learning.  Enjoy!

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Categories: ASTD in the News | Books

Groundbreaking Book Explains the Power of Social Learning for Organizations

June 17, 2010 13:22 by Kristen Fyfe

Most writing about social media focuses on how to use it for marketing, but there’s a larger story to tell, according to Tony Bingham and Marcia Conner, co-authors of The New Social Learning, set for release in late summer. This book is for those who are interested in how social media helps people in organizations learn quickly, innovate fast, share their knowledge, and engage with peers, business partners, and the customers they serve. Co-author Marcia Conner spoke on the subject of social learning today at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference.

Co-published by ASTD and Berrett-Koehler, The New Social Learning explains why classic business models, which assume that relevant information is created and shared through management or training, isn’t enough today. There’s too much to know and make sense of, too little time to gain perspective, and information changes too fast to dispense. A virtual water cooler becomes a gathering place to share ideas and ask questions beyond the limits of formal organizations, company meetings, or classrooms.

Using examples from a wide range of organizations—including Deloitte, IBM, Mayo Clinic, TELUS, and even the CIA—The New Social Learning shows how people in organizations across the globe are using social media to collaborate and learn.

More so than any other technology, social media allows us to embrace the needs of changing workplace demographics and allow people of all ages to learn in ways that are comfortable and convenient for them. And, as the authors assert, emerging technologies enable a new kind of knowledge-building ecosystem with people at its core.

Tony Bingham is president and CEO of ASTD, the world’s largest professional association dedicated to the training and development field. Marcia Conner is a partner for enterprise collaboration at Altimeter Group, a firm that provides thought-leadership, research, education, and advice on leveraging emerging digital strategies.

Connect with the authors online at and on Twitter @newsociallearn. More information about the book’s late summer release and a free chapter are available here.


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Categories: ASTD in the News | Books

Tony Bingham to Address Social Media and New Research in Speech at ASTD 2010

May 12, 2010 13:45 by Kristen Fyfe

Findings from ASTD's latest research report The Rise of Social Media will be featured in a speech Tony Bingham will deliver on Ma 17 at the ASTD 2010 International Conference & Exposition. For some highlights from the research, check out the press release here.

The ASTD 2010 International Conference & Exposition will be held in Chicago, IL, May 16-19. For more information on the conference click here.

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Categories: ASTD in the News | Conferences | International | Membership | News | Research