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Devlearn 09 - Day 2

Day 2 of Devlearn was much better for me. But it did not start out that way.

The second day keynote was by Eric Zimmerman, game designer and author of Rules of Play. Now Eric is a very smart chap, but his keynote was a mess. There was no structure in his presentation and his incessant “ahmmm” and “ahhhhs” drove me dizzy. I was not the only one who felt this way apparently. The Tweetboard had many tweets by people having this same feeling. After the dizzy spell, I was behind a couple of people leaving the conference room and this is what I heard: “Did you find it useful?” “Nah! There were both cute and confusing moments but mostly it was distracting”.

Cammy Bean has captured the essence of his keynote if you want to go through it.

Next I attended a very crisp and clear presentation by Dave Ragan who is responsible for training at Taco Bell.  He showed how Taco Bell is using an avatar (from CodeBaby) to present the courses and maintain consistency. He also showed the level of media and interactivity that these coursers have. But more importantly he showed how all of this training is helping Taco Bell meet its business objectives. Not fancy courseware here, just plain and simple—learn it; try it; and then show it to me—type of training.

The highlight of the day however was meeting Mark Oehlert from the Defence Acquisition University. Mark is someone who gets social media. He is using many, many different tools to re-engineer processes to make them more efficient. His focus was on using these Web 2.0 tools in serious applications. The centre of his universe is Twitter and he uses it in many different ways from seeking out options available out there to searching for knowledge from his staff.

They key theme I observed was that all these applications are built on the assumption that there are people who will constantly feed these applications via their tweets, blogs, comments, etc., and there are people who will constantly watch and respond to this stream of information. If there is no ‘social stream’ then it seems we’re talking of the Web 1.0 paradigm. 

To put all of this in perspective, the entire social media thing is working under the assumption that if there is a problem, we can throw the social stream at it and it will somehow get solved. How? Some like Mark seem to have figured it out while others choose to use the word “by emergence” or in simpler words, by magic.

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