DevLearn 2018 – What will you learn?

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What will you learn at DevLearn 2018?

The eLearning Guild’s Devlearn is one of my favorite conferences every year. It feeds my inner geek. It recharges my batteries as the summer is winding down and has become like a little family reunion, where I can reconnect with my learning technology brethren. Of course, that means there is a lot of competition for time and attention throughout the show – and that is before anyone starts making karaoke plans.

With the scope of presentations and variety of industry leaders speaking at the conference, it’s certainly worth spending some time planning out sessions. This year, my highlights break down into three big categories – xAPI & Learning Analytics, Design Strategy and Battery Chargers.

Of course, there are more pre-conference workshops than I can make. I will be at xAPI Camp on Tuesday, October 22nd.  This pre-conference event has evolved over the years from what CAN we do with xAPI, through HOW can we do this with xAPI, and finally into WHAT we do with xAPI. With case studies, a design jam and a track for newbies, anyone who is curious about xAPI and its benefits for your organization should join.

Learning Technology brethren at DevLearn 2017.

Three new pre-conference workshops that I regret missing are:

In advance of the IEEE’s first conference on Learning Engineering next spring, a pre-conference Learning Engineering Summit will focus on the IEEE’s focus on building Learning Engineering as a professional and the needed competencies for a Learning Engineer. Fortunately, I can still catch Robby Robson and Avron Barr’s session 511 on Thursday titled What Is Learning Engineering? for a high-level overview.

The second new pre-conference session is a LMS & Learning Platform Forum with a whole host of presenters including HT2’s Ben Betts, Kineo’s Haitham Gasim and Yet Analytics’ Allie Tschulin.  This forum is focused on the evolution of the learning ecosystem and integration of multiple technologies or learning platforms. In the same topic area, the eLearning Guild’s Dave Kelly is presenting conference session 102 on Wednesday called LMS, LRS, LXP and More: Exploring the Learning Platforms Landscape that I can still target.

Finally, the third pre-conference workshop new for 2018 is the Microlearning Design Summit. In this session Carla Torgerson, Diane Elkins and JD Dillon will discuss not only building Microlearning assets but creating a plan for managing and delivering Microlearning. In addition to these tactical and strategic topics, a showcase of Microlearning projects will be reviewed.

xAPI and Learning Analytics – I love learning evaluation. Since my first exposure to xAPI during the Guild’s “Tin Can Shootouts” for early adopters, we at RISC have been looking at applications to help inform business decisions. As the specification has matured, DevLearn has created an xAPI Central area of the expo floor for attendees to easily find xAPI enabled vendors.  There is an xAPI Central stage, as well, for highlighting xAPI projects. This includes a session by RISC’s President, Art Werkenthin, on Identifying Competency Gaps with xAPI Analytics and Dashboards at 11:00 am Wednesday, October 24.

For a more robust and far more eloquent breakdown of xAPI at DevLearn, check out Yet Analytics’ Margaret Roth’s blog The xAPI Insiders Guide to DevLearn 2018. Some of the highlights I’m looking forward to seeing include:

Megan Torrance presenting Agile
Megan Torrance, CEO of Torrance Learning

206 xAPI: An Introduction for Instructional DesignersMegan Torrance with Torrance Learning always brings the energy to her conference sessions. In this session, Megan discusses how to identify learning data needs and making infrastructure decision to endure new content provides the data needed for good business intelligence.

MB21 xAPI Basics—Getting StartedLearning Ninja’s Sean Putman and Sarah Mercier  Kick off a Morning Buzz session for early risers on Thursday morning to discuss getting started with xAPI. Anyone just kicking the tires or interested in learning more should put this session on their agenda.

506 My xAPI Year: An Implementation Story – Traveler’s Insurance Becky Goldberg and Marc Casavant are leading a Case Study session on Traveler’s implementation of xAPI with a focus on getting stakeholder buy-in and minimizing the barriers to entry for non-technical designers and developers. One more example of how making xAPI geek-free helps foster adoption.

Yet Analytics Margaret Roth and Allie Tscheulin
Yet Analytics Margaret Roth and Allie Tscheulin

SXAPI201 Creating a Data-Driven L&D Team—an xAPI Case Study – Another case, this time on the xAPI Central stage focuses on the retail environment.  Yet AnalyticsMargaret Roth and Allie Tschuelin will discuss building a data strategy and what xAPI implementation requires in the way of planning.  If you’ve not seen Margaret and Allie present before, they are a powerhouse not to missed.

809 Powering Next-Gen Learning with VR and xAPI – Speaking of powerhouse presenters, Jon Blackmon with Trivantis and Melissa Milloway from Amazon will look at enabling VR content with xAPI.  Lectora’s xAPI enabled CenarioVR will be one of the tools highlighted.  If you’ve not seen this “rapid VR” (if I can use that term) in action, you should check it out.

SELR204 Getting Started with xAPI in Rapid Authoring ToolseLearning Brother Bill Milstid takes on Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, Lectora Inspire and discusses instrumenting content developed with these tools with xAPI.  Even better, he will be sending statements from this content to the SCORM Cloud LRS providing a great, free way to explore xAPI from these authoring tools.

SXAPI101 The Crawl, Walk, Run Methodology for Adopting Learning AnalyticsDavid Keezel with Riptide Software will take the xAPI Central stage on Wednesday to discuss starting small with Learning Analytics and allowing them to prove their value within an organization.  David’s repeatable process for easy xAPI implementation will be covered in a series of client case studies.

Experience Design – With the maturation of interconnected learning ecosystems, microlearning and AR/VR, I’m keenly interested in how designers are evaluating the user and their learning experience. Some of the highlights that jump out of the agenda to me include:

409 Using Design Systems for Scalable, Accessible, Cohesive eLearning ExperiencesMelissa Milloway, senior Instructional Designer with Amazon will discuss using design systems to help minimize re-inventing the wheel when developing custom content without getting boxed into a template-driven approach. Even better, Melissa will go on to look at testing components for accessibility.

316 BYOD: Beginner’s Guide to Designing a Voice UI Learning Experience –  Another Amazon presenter, Myra Roldan, takes on the interesting topic of using voice interactions (think Alexa or Siri) in your learning ecosystem. In this hands-on session, Myra will discuss designing a voice user experience and outlining dialogs. If you’ve not seen Myra present in the past, don’t miss her session. Her passion for learning is palpable and I’ve never walked away from a presentation (or even casual conversation) with Myra that I didn’t absorb some of that excitement.

510 VR and AR for Behavior Change – Usable Learning’s Julie Dirksen session Thursday afternoon will focus on using immersive environments to drive behavior change. Julie brings a wealth of knowledge to the table on design as well as the neuroscience of learning which makes every session she gives one not to miss.

P06 Design for Behavior Change – Not quite ready for AR/VR?  Julie Dirksen is also presenting a session on Design for Behavior change in general. This session will focus on behavioral change models and understanding why affecting behavior change can be difficult. As a bonus, Julie will highlight fitness trackers and other mobile apps designed to drive behavior change.

MB08 How to Support Social Learning – The eLearning Guild’s Mark Britz will start Wednesday with a Morning Buzz session on ways to support Social Learning within an organization. These sessions are great for fostering discussion so you can share best practices and learn what others in the industry are doing well as well as pitfalls to be avoided. A couple other competing design-focused Morning Buzz sessions on Wednesday include Yet Analytics’ Margaret Roth and Allie Tscheulin session MB02 Designing a Data Strategy and MB04 Design Thinking by Kristin Machac and Holly Cline from Radfort University.

Learning Ninja’s Brian Dusablon

MB32 Designing Accessible and Inclusive Learning Experiences – Finally, a critical stop for designers is Learning Ninja’s  Morning Buzz session on Designing and Inclusive Learning Experiences by Brian Dusablon. Brian’s expertise and focus on creating learning that considers the varying ability levels of all learners makes this a fantastic session for developers in both public and private organizations.

Battery Chargers – Every conference has a handful of sessions that jump out at me as Do Not Miss sessions. Sometimes these Go-To is driven by great presenters. Other times this is driven by great topics. At DevLearn 2018 there are three sessions that that hit both these marks for me.

402 Wonder Woman, Wakanda, and Work: Make Your eLearning Representative – The Pacific-northwest power team of Guardian Analytics’ Tricia Ransom and the Huckleberry Design Group’s Judy Katz take on diversity, inclusion and representation in e-Learning. I’m excited to learn their tips and methods for ensuring authentic and respectful representation of genders, ethnicities, orientations, and abilities when designing content.

707 Meme-ing Today’s Hottest Learning Trends – If there is a session worth getting up early for on Friday morning, it’s the this one.  Industry leaders; Julie Dirksen, Jane Bozarth, Tracy Parish, Sam Rogers, JD Dillon and David Kelly join-up for this fast-paced session where each presenter gets 6 minutes to highlight what they think is the latest trend in learning…using only memes found on the internet. Plus, how can you miss a session that is going to discuss SOS – Shiny Object Syndrome – that we suffer from so much in the learning world?

Demofest – RISC’s Art Werkenthin and Duncan Welder

410 Learning Technology’s Past, Present, and Future: A Guild Master Panel – And last but not least, a Guild Master Panel  on the impact of technology on learning and common characteristics of disruptive technology. These long-time industry experts will also discuss their tips for staying apprised of ever-changing industry trends. Panelists include:  eLearning Joe – Joe Ganci, Marc Rosenberg, Michael Allen, Julie Dirksen, Jane Bozarth, Nick Floro, Robert Gadd and David Kelly.

Of course, if you want to catch up, I will be around the RISC Booth number 127 in the xAPI Central area of the expo hall or reach out on Twitter @duncanwiv.  Be sure to stop into DemoFest on Thursday night and vote on my project with Creative Interactive Idea’s president Debbie Richards at table 18 on Learning Analytics with xAPI.

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Duncan Welder IV
Mr. Welder holds a Master’s of Education from Texas A&M University in Educational Technology and has more than 15 years experience in implementation of Learning Management Systems, both domestically and abroad. Mr. Welder has been recognized for his application of Learning Management Systems to manage regulatory-compliance in industries ranging from petrochemicals to finance and has provided presentations to professional organizations including the Gulf Coast Process Technology Alliance, the Northwest Process Technology Alliance and the American Society of Training and Development.
Mr. Welder’s career is founded in traditional instructional design and computer-based training development. He is a certified Development Dimensions International facilitator, a Kirkpatrick Certified Evaluator and facilitator of the Ohio State University curriculum development program. In addition to working in industry, Mr. Welder has held adjunct faculty positions at Bowling Green State University, Ohio and the College of the Mainland, Texas. Mr. Welder has been published in both Training Magazine as well as US Business Review.