The last two days I was at Innsbruck for attending the Microlearning 2007 conference which deals with topics similar to our context-aware workplace learning support approach in LIP. The participants had a refreshing variety of backgrounds. The concept of conference was inspired by the unconference idea with getting rid of traditional paper presentations and having speedgeeking sessions and microcafé discussions. I presented the knowledge maturing idea and the concept of maturity awareness in a seven minute slot for eight times in a row (with changing audience of 3 to 6 people). This was quite an experience, and I liked the immediacy of contact with your audience, but the short slot made it hard to convey the idea. But most of all, it was exhausting… Nevertheless, I took a lot of inspiring ideas with me, probably much more than from other conferences. At some points, I would have liked to have more in-depth presentations in addition to the overview presentations and especially more in-depth discussions (also more critical ones).
The microlearning idea – as a gist – is a metaphor for a new form of learning that is flexible, fine-grained, integrated into everyday activities. The biggest challenge is how to retain guidance, certification etc., which are still important. The maturing idea, as far as I took from the discussions, perfectly fits to this metaphor of learning.
One critical thing about the conference concept: networking was not that easy because of short breaks in between. Still it was nice to meet some people again and to encounter some interesting new ones. But definitely, the confence was worth going to.