mLearnCon 2015 in Review

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mLearnConThe eLearning Guild’s 2015 mLearnCon was held in Austin, Texas this month in conjunction with the Performance Support conference at the brand-new J.W. Marriott downtown. The show seemed to grow in size a bit from last year but still retains the feel of a small, solutions-focused conference for L&D technophiles.

I always enjoy learning how organizations are pushing the technology envelope to support their student and this show was particularly exciting as the xAPI standard makes a solid transition from use case (theoretical) to case study (practical) in the industry. At the same time, the emerging cmi5 standard – a protocol using xAPI specifically for e-learning content and LMS communication – shows some real traction since being adopted by the ADL in January of this year. The initial version, Sandstone, was released after the ADL’s Working Group meeting in April.

VTA Instructor AppThe RISC team was busy with the debut of the VTA Instructor Application for Android and iPhone. The alpha release provides functionality for instructors to scan students into training sessions, verify pre-requisite status, view session documents and update student history all from their phone. This is RISC’s newest mobile application tied to the VTA suite since the version 2 of the xAPI PDF Annotator hit the Apple iTunes App Store in February and is part of RISC’s overall mobile development strategy to move subsets of traditional LMS functionality into small, user friendly applications to support business.


Many of RISC’s partners (and fellow learning geeks) were also promoting new initiatives at mLearnCon. Obsidian’s Stephen Victor and Steven Westmoreland were on the New Possibilities demo stage introducing Black, Obsidian’s new cloud-based HTML5 authoring tool. Black is a great looking solution that allows development teams to collaborate in the Authoring environment. There are a whole series of sample output files on the Obsidian site if you want to get a sneak peek (and you do).

Float Learning ChampionsFloat Mobile Learning was just down the aisle from RISC and recently worked with Qualcomm to develop the CHAMPIONS Framework presented at the show. CHAMPIONS – in addition to being a contender for world’s longest acronym – is a guideline or checklist to help assess or evaluate mobile learning and performance support solution that is Contextual, High Speed, Ambient, Mobile, Personal Interactive, Open, Networked and Social. Qualcomm’s Senior Director of Mobile Learning, Geoff Stead presented with Float’s Chad Udell and Gary Woodill on how the framework was used during development of Qualcomm’s mobile strategy. By the way, Qualcomm took best of show at DemoFest for their Patent Wall Experience. You can download a copy of the framework and self-assessment rubric before venturing into a new mobile development initiative at

RISC’s Art Werkenthin gave a presentations cmi5 with a great discussion about the cmi5-defined verbs and which are made by the LMS versus those made by the AU (Assignable Unit). Art’s slides are available on SlideShare.  OnPoint’s Robert Gadd covered the ABC’s of xAPIand also gave sessions on xAPI-enabled Interactive Video for Mobile and Successful Ecosystems for Enterprise mLearning. Kudos as well to Robert’s team for taking the vendor best of show at DemoFest!

Finally, my unexpected fun find of the conference came from the always entertaining Sarah Gilbert . Sarah gave an interactive session on Creating a Rapid Mobile Prototype. As part of the session, attendees used the POP App (Prototyping on Paper) to create a navigable mobile application wireframe during the session. Since the show, I’ve even taught my kids how to use the app – yes, a prototype tool that a 10 year old can use.

If you want to learn more, the eLearning Guild’s David Kelly provides a great backchannel of curated resources around this and other Guild shows. Speaking of Guild shows, don’t forget to join RISC at DevLearn 2015 starting September 30, 2015 in Las Vegas. In the meantime, join me at the next two xAPI Connection Forum’s hosted by Making Better’s Aaron Silvers and Megan Bowe. The next Connections Forum xAPI camp is July 21 at the Amazon Headquarters in Seattle and the fall xAPI camp will be just the day before DevLearn in Las Vegas (how convenient is that?).

xAPI Camp - Connections Forum

Don’t forget that RISC will also exhibit at the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics October 4 – 7 in Las Vegas and Canadian Society of Training and Development conference November 18-20 in Toronto.  If you’ve not yet signed up for the 2015 VTALive User Conference in Austin, TX – don’t miss the August 1st early bird registration. Click here for more information.

Duncan Welder IV
Director of Client ServicesRISC, 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.