Getting Ready for the IEEE Learning Engineering Conference


We are just two weeks away from the 2023 IEEE Learning Engineering Conference and this is a professional development opportunity that should not be missed. The conference will be held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania July 24 – 26 and immediately followed by the ADL’s Total Learning Architecture PlugFest on July 27. If you need a chance to geek-out on learning science, technology, and standards, there is no better place. 

IEEE Learning Engineering Conference

If you’ve not attended the IEEE Learning Engineering Conference in the past, it is different from typical learning industry events. There is no expo hall of vendors hawking their wares. What you will find is a combination of academia and industry in the learning space coming together to advance the field of learning engineering.   


Each day of the conference begins with a keynote. Dr. Steve Ritter, the Founder and Chief Scientist at Carnegie Learning will kick off this year’s conference following the theme of “Grounding Theory in Practice.” With my work in corporate adult learning, I’m curious to see how Dr. Ritter’s team employ learning science in the K-12 space.



Day two will be led by Dr. Tammy Berman, Senior VP of Design at Socratic Arts. Dr. Berman is an expert in Story-Centered learning and lends a great industry perspective to the conference. I’m looking forward to learning how she, and the Socratic Arts team, create “learn-by-doing” performance improvement solutions. Day three will start off with Dr. Ken Koedinger, who is a Professor of Computer Science and a Professor of Human-Computer Interaction and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon. If that isn’t enough, his research with the Human-Computer Interaction Institute uses cognitive models to design efficient and effective learning experiences. I’m excited to learn how Dr. Koedinger applies human-centric design in computer science. 

Active Learning Sessions 

Once the keynotes have your mind engaged, there are three types of sessions to follow: Active Learning Sessions, Show and Share Sessions, and Technology Showcases. Active Learning Sessions are hour-long and interactive sessions giving attendees an opportunity to learn something new. I’m excited to see Harvard’s Dr. Chris Dede discussing Strategies for Engineering Motivation into Learning Experiences. I’m also excited to see the Active Learning Session on AI Ethics for Learning Engineers by Drs. Jeanine DeFalco and Rachel Van Campenhout. The ethical use of learning data has been a long-time interest of mine – I even had the privilege of leading a session at the IEEE Learning Engineering Conference back in 2019 at George Mason University on Responsible Content Creation and Respecting Learner Privacy. This year there is a panel discussion slated on Ethics in Learning Engineering and I’m excited to see who will join the panel.   

Show Us Your Work! 

Show and Share and Technology Showcase sessions are short sessions where people can share the work they are doing to support the industry. Ten-minute Show and Share sessions are quick sessions often with a research focus. Tech Showcase sessions highlight tools and applications that apply learning engineering principles and applications that help advance learning standards. RISC’s own Art Werkenthin is co-presenting with ADL Contractor and Learning Specification and Standards Manager Andy Johnson on using xAPI to automate competency assertions, a critical element of the Total Learning Architecture and supporting the IEEE P2881 Standard for Learning Metadata.

TLA Model

Andy will also join Yet AnalyticsShelly Blake-Plock on the STEEL-R project to evaluate the effectiveness of synthetic versus live/experiential training to achieve competency. Click here to see a great abstract Shelly along with Dr. Robby Robson and his team at Eduworks published for last year’s IEEE Learning Engineering Conference.  

Plugfest Logo

But wait… There’s More! 

As a co-located event, the ADL is hosting a co-located Total Learning Architecture PlugFest the day following the IEEE Learning Engineering Conference. PlugFest is a fast-paced hands on where the military and industry meet to discuss needs and demonstrate TLA-supporting Technologies. Think of it like a science fair where all the tools surround xAPI, xAPI Profiles, cmi5, Sharable Competency Definitions and Learning Metadata. The US Army, Navy, Marines, Airforce and the Defense Acquisition University will all be represented to discuss their learning needs. Click here to see the agenda. 

Looking for more resources? Below are links to: 

Registration for the 2023 IEEE Learning Engineering Conference 

About the IEEE Industry Connection Program (ICICLE) 

Proceedings of the 2019 Conference on Learning Engineering 

Learn more about Learning Engineering curated by the IEEE 

Thoughts on the 2022 TLA Plugfest

Duncan Welder IV
Director of Client Services RISC, Inc
Mr. Welder holds a Master’s of Education from Texas A&M University in Educational Technology and has more than 25 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.