My post-conference perspectives are always interpretations on the themes of the conference rather than a blow by blow recap of the things I went to and what I learned. This post will be no different. For a comprehensive back channel digest, I recommend David Kelly’s (@LnDDavecurated digest.

There was plenty of talk at this year’s conference that continues to reflect the themes of retention, gaming, “fun” learning, and engagement. There was also a continued emphasis on video, and informal production of small learnings and those enabled through corporate implementations of social communities. Around the edges, in the visible fringes, there are grumblings about transformation of not just the learning function, but also the organizations, systems and processes, the root cause of the need for training.

When we look at why we need training, when we flip it on its head and focus on outcomes, it becomes clear that the emphasis of evaluation needs to be on “doing” and much less on “knowing.” Leaders should place value on measurements of behavior and performance above whether employees simply know the correct procedure or the preferred interpretation of policy.

If you don’t act and interact in accordance with what you learned, why does it matter if you remember the training? Retention can’t be the goal and certainly isn’t a good measure of effectiveness. Validating my perspective on the shift to performance, there were several sessions on performance consulting and both a keynote highlight and joint session with ISPI.

I did appreciate the continued conversation around story telling- not because I think it helps with retention of knowledge, but because stories make learning situational and provide the context needed for when to apply knowledge so that it equates to performance. General Colin Powell (Ret.) displayed this in his keynote by stringing numerous and memorable stories spanning his entire career. These stories make General Powell a must see public speaker if you are given the opportunity.

I want to continue the dialogue about the evolution of the training professional into performance-centered consulting, where resources are curated, designs are user-centered, and results are measured in actions.