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Meet ASTD 2014 International Conference & Exposition Featured Guest Speakers: Rich Mesch & Stacie Comolli

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
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Welcome to the Global HRD Featured Guest Speaker Blog Series. The purpose of this series is to introduce the topics and guest speakers from the Global HRD track of the ASTD 2014 International Conference & Exposition. This week’s featured guest speakers are Rich Mesch and Stacie Comolli, presenting, “Training the World: Using Archetypes to Create a Practical Global Learning Strategy.” We have asked them to answer the following questions to help our community members gain insight into some of the content they will cover at this year’s conference.

What is the topic of your presentation?

We will look at a new approach to creating global learning—one that uses archetypes to create the smallest number of versions to address the largest number of audiences.  The global archetype approach adapts well-established cultural preference models and combines them with insightful learning models. The result is three primary global learning archetypes and six secondary archetypes that allow training to be designed once and used around the world. In addition to reviewing the model (how it was created and how it works), we'll also explore a case study of how the global archetype approach was used successfully in a multi-billion dollar global organization.

Why is this topic important for L&D professionals?

The world is getting smaller and most large organizations have a global presence, some in dozens of different countries. Those organizations need to find a way to get common messages to different audiences, while still acknowledging the cultural differences and preferences of the people within those audiences. Some organizations address this challenge by investing an enormous amount of money into creating localized learning for every geographic location in which they operate. Others send the same learning to everyone, and cross their fingers that the message will transcend cultural differences. The global archetype method is meant to be the best of both worlds. By focusing as much on the commonalities between learning styles as on the differences, this method allows for diversified learning that is also rapid and cost-effective.

What will be the top three takeaways from your presentation?

Our session not only explores an innovative new global learning model, it also focuses on turning the theory into practice with a real-life case study. Participants will learn how to:

1. Embed performance in the learning architecture with management pull-through, performance support, coaching, and mentoring.

2. Apply globally-specific blended learning strategies by carefully selecting the language, pre-work, and technology/media.

3. Make key design decisions by considering global impact in areas such as: content approach, facilitation, participation, collaboration, and use of examples.

What is your experience with ASTD or the ASTD International Conference & Exposition?

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Rich Mesch is excited to be making his fourth appearance as a guest speaker at the ASTD 2014 International Conference & Exposition, having also spoken at two ASTD TechKnowledge conferences and five local ASTD Philadelphia events. We both consider the ASTD International Conference to be the most significant event in the learning and development arena, bringing together some of the best minds from around the world.

What do you expect to get out of this year's ASTD 2014 International Conference & Exposition?

We love the ASTD International Conference, because we get to meet and learn from the people who are tackling learning and performance challenges each and every day. As much as we enjoy meeting the thought leaders in our field, we really enjoy meeting the people who create great learning experiences each and every day. The Expo is always one of our favorite parts of the conference, where we get to see how great ideas get turned into practical applications.

What are some suggestions you have for attendees to get the most our of their experience at ASTD 2014?

Between both Rich and Stacie, there are two ideas that can make any conference great:

1. Come with an open mind. You'll hear ideas you've never heard before. Some of them may sound a little crazy at first, but most innovation starts with a crazy idea! I attended my first ASTD International Conference back in 1994, and one of the crazy ideas I heard there was that we'd soon be able to learn on small powerful computers that we carried with us wherever we went—nobody called it "mobile learning" back then, but that's exactly what it was.
2. Don't be shy. A conference is a place to share ideas, to explore possibilities, to create the next generation of capability, and your ideas are as good as everybody else's. Take the time to chat with the speakers, the people in the expo, the folks sitting at your table at lunch. You may make contacts that will last you a lifetime.

About the Speakers

RichMesch150.jpg
Rich Mesch is the senior director of customer engagement at Performance Development Group. He has worked in the field of experiential and contextualized learning for over 25 years, and has designed and implemented solutions for dozens of Fortune 100 companies in all industries. His projects have won multiple awards, including the Brandon Hall Excellence Awards and the HR Executive Top 10. He is a frequent conference presenter and is the co-author of the Pfeiffer/ASTD book, The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook.

StacieComolli150.jpg
Stacie Comolli is the director of Solution Architecture for Performance Development Group. She has experience in instructional design, simulation design, project management, and performance consulting for over 15 years. In her role as director of Solution Architecture, Stacie sets the strategic direction of the team and aligns that strategy with the overarching organizational goals and values. She has designed interactive multimedia-based learning solutions, engaging instructor-led workshops (including interactive media when applicable), and tools and job aids to anchor new skills to the job.

About the Author
Nan Kim is the international coordinator for the Association for Talent Development (ATD), the world's largest association dedicated to to those who develop talent in organizations. She supports the International department by facilitating the exchange of knowledge among the global learning and development community. She also helps manage the Global HRD Community of Practice, where she supports professionals around the world to share regional best practices, conduct global benchmarking, and discuss cross-cultural and global talent development issues. Nan graduated from The University of North Carolina with a BA in sociology.
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