Get the Down Low on the Spring 2018 Download

The Download – Spring 2018

While the xAPI party can get a little technical and is solidly focused on xAPI, the Download is a day of more general presentations and discussion groups on Learning. The Download was born back in 2010 to share information and ideas from conferences with colleagues locally to foster the learning community. As trends change and technologies develop, the Download is a place to let ideas take root and foster cooperation.

The morning started with Alison Hass discussing Informal Virtual Project Based Learning – a case study on the xAPI Cohort. Allison shared the human and technology support required to manage a cohort project including the challenges as the xAPI cohort has grown to more than 20 active and concurrent project groups.

Sarah Mercier led a great session on creating quick YouTube-style videos for mobile performance support.

Sarah used a Sarah Mercier presentation-Download 2018number of examples from different sources. (Yes, we saw some Dora the Explorer!) By employing a number of different methods for engagement, it was easy to see what did work and what didn’t work within our audience. Rounding out the presentation was a discussion on tools that can be used to track the use of mobile performance support tools.

Just before lunch, I participated in the Chex my UX session. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in but this turned out to be one of my favorite activity of the day. In quick succession, developers gave a little context and shared some work in progress to garner feedback from the attendees. Mike Lawrence with UL showed prototype compliance dashboards to gauge user response. I sampled a few xAPI data visualizations for feedback on clarity and value. Matt Kliewer with Torrance showed off xAVIER allowing an audience — with varied technical interest — to give feedback on the flow of a relatively technical development tool. Not only was the feedback great, where else do you have companies exposing development projects for end users to probe?

After lunch, I caught Jen Vetter with the University of Michigan Office of Academic Innovation discussing the series of 9 Teach-out events last year. What are Teach-Outs? Funny you should ask… Teach-Outs riff on the idea of a “Teach-In” where a large group can get together, learn about and discuss (formally or informally) a current, relevant topic. This results in a call to action meant to invoke a change but specifically using technology to help amplify the range and impact of the event.

On March 24, 1965, 3,000 faculty and students at U-M held a 12 hour teach-in to raise awareness of the escalation of military action in Vietnam. 53 years later, the University of Michigan is leveraging MOOC (Massive Open Online Class) technology to organize global learning events on topics ranging from Civil Right and Gerrymandering to free Speech and the Opioid Crisis.

In addition to the technology behind the Teach-Outs, Jen shared some of the challenges common to Teach-Outs (and other MOOC-style events) like managing attrition and designing for a diverse audience. For more info on the U-M Teach-Out series check out this link –

Megan Torrance presenting Agile for Learning
Megan Torrance, CEO of Torrance Learning

I was able to close out the day with Megan Torrance’s presentation on Agile for Learning. In this session Megan discusses a rapid-prototyping or iterative instructional design and development process using sprints similar Agile Software Development. One great takeaway was the taking advantage of Agile development’s chunking of work to help instructional designers better estimate projects.

Even though I dashed off to the airport with a freshly charged battery, there were lots of presentations I wish I had the capacity to catch. One that certainly warrants mentioning is a recurring topic at the download called “A few of our favorite tools”. Torrance Learning’s Leanne Gee led this particular session, encouraging everyone to bring their favorite tools and productivity hacks to share. Interested in learning more about the Download? Go to

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.