ASTD International Conference Day 1 Wrap-Up

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Welcome one and all to the wrap up of the ASTD international conference and expo. It was an exciting first day, with lots of vendors hitting the entire training spectrum.

Please note that the text might be squished since I am writing from the WordPress app.

First day cool product of the show


  • Ideal for sales training and point of sales
  • It’s a mobile app, that comes as a shell
  • You add your content, drag and drop, add video, images, etc.
  • The look and feel sort of reminds me of an online magazine
  • Your app has your name on it and works with iOS, Android and Blackberry, both smartphones and tablets
  • Comes with online/offline synch
  • You can track number of times people open it, use it and even add folks to it
  • Frustration Factor

    Why hasn’t ASTD figured out how to do things right. Gripes abound in this year’s show. Here are my favorites:

  • Numerous vendors were unhappy that they had to pay $700 a day for Wi-Fi, that didn’t work most of the time or was slow. One vendor who spent $5,000 on their booth, thought the $700 a day fee was obscene and declined. Smart move.

    They ended up synching their computer to their 3G smartphone. Other vendors weren’t so lucky. As noted those who did Wi-Fi complained of slow speeds and issues with it working inside the expo floor

  • Bar code blues. Some people, including myself, had an e-mail with a bar code you could scan at the badge booth pick up. Supposedly it was to speed up the process. I heard from plenty of people that the barcode didn’t work. I can attest to that.
  • ID please. Ok let’s add a another worthless level to registration. In order to get your badge you had to show a photo ID.

    What genius thought this was a good idea? It was a pain.

    Listen I’m not trying to board a plane here. Apparently there must be a huge demand for scalping ASTD badges or hoodwinking ASTD for access into their show.

  • Get your hot news here

    Talk about some interesting tidbits. Here is what I heard and saw from day one.

  • dominKnow – has come out with a responsive capability, enabling you to create, edit and save a mobile look for your course. You can save it as a template too. I loved this because now you can really see what your end users are seeing with their mobile devices. You can do it all, including add video, images, etc.
  • SumTotal – Get ready for a new UI for the learning module. I have been told that it should be live sometime in August. It is a mass improvement compared to their current learning UI.

    Speaking of SumTotal, as you may or may not be aware any of their modules can be purchased as a standalone or any combination. Talking to a salesperson, he informed me that it is rare for someone to buy all the modules. He says most start off either with learning or performance or both modules.

    One huge thing I am really hating about SumTotal is their pricing model for their mobile app. If you access via the web browser on a mobile device, it’s free. But if you want to use their app with on/off synch, you pay per active user, per month. Oh and the mobile module is extra regardless if you choose the mobile app or not.

    Let me get this straight. For the privilege of using your mobile app, I get to pay extra per active user every month. So if I have 100 active users in June and of those 50 of the same folks use the mobile app in July, I pay for 50 active users. For the month of June, 100 active user seats. This on top of whatever number of seats I am paying for in the platform.

    Jeez, what a great deal. (just kidding).

  • Gamelearn – Last year’s cool product of the show is back with a new game on negotiation. I’ll be blunt – it’s fun. I love the point accumulation leader board, the multiple modules, the mentor and the graphics.

    What is missing to me, is that some of the text was smaller than I would want, and it would be nice to be able to zoom in. You can start and stop anytime you are in the game, which is what I would do, otherwise it is 12 hours straight through. If you are looking for a soft skills learning game this is it.

  • Quick Hits

    This year there are more e-learning vendors than in the past. Lots of traffic on day one, but the expo hall closed at 2:30 and I noticed that many people who had just completed their seminars wanted to come in, but could not.

    What was big this year?

    Besides mobile it was gamification. From soft skills online gaming to learning games on mobile to gaming in some fashion in a LMS or self contained mobile app.

    I’d actually go so far and say mobile was a distant third, with LMS vendors or learning platforms coming in second. Sure many of the learning platforms and LMSs mentioned their mobile capabilities, but if you looked around their marketing placards and immediate copy it wasn’t highly visible.

    What your salespeople are really doing on the floor

    As usual, some vendors showed up with no demos of any kind. Better yet, the usual let me eat lunch while I am talking to you also appeared.

    I also loved the salespeople checking out and reading their smartphone while in their booths. Nothing like seeing your company’s $$$ being flushed down the toilet.

    But the best was the carrot principal folks. They were tossing carrot doll like things across their booth and to each other. I will say they gave me three of the carrot doll/toy like things for my dogs. Diego, Cheyanne and Milo thank you via barks.

    That’s today’s wrap up. More to come tomorrow with another blog post.

    E-Learning 24/7


    1. I worked as an ASTD volunteer today and we did have a lot of confused people. The app did show you where the rooms were – but you had to figure out how to get from A to B. I’m hitting the Expo tomorrow – thanks for the tips, Craig!

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