DevLearn 2016 – Review

DevLearn 2016 – My Take

Good friends, great conversations and discussions, scrumptious food, countless eLearning and tech vendors, and amazing presentations and sessions. The  eLearning Guild’s annual DevLearn 2016 conference at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV was fantastic. I always come back from these events energized, invigorated, and eager to begin implementing things I picked-up there.

Aside from my presentation on iSpring’s TalkMaster, here is a recap of my experiences at the various sessions.

Outstanding Sessions

Screenshot of My Agenda from DevLearn 2016 app
Screenshot of My Agenda from DevLearn 2016 app

Dreaming of Electric Sheep: The Future of Learning
Julian Stodd, Author and Founder, Sea Salt Learning

There were several elements that made this presentation successful. First, the presenter is a “big thinker”, able to succinctly discuss eLearning technology from a global perspective.
Next, in contrast to a highly technical topic, Stodd delivered down-to-earth visuals by utilizing hand-drawn iconography in his presentation.

Julian Stodd presentation at DevLearn 2016.
Julian Stodd presentation at DevLearn 2016. Image courtesy of Katie Stroud.

Additionally, Stodd promoted increased interactivity and engagement from the audience, asking them to choose the major discussion points – and thereby, the flow – of his presentation. Stodd further enhanced this presentation by easily fielding questions and discussion points from the live, in-person crowd as well as a virtual audience, by means of simultaneous webcast.

Julian Stodd gave away copies of his book, The Social Leadership Handbook, at his presentation.
Julian Stodd gave away copies of his book, The Social Leadership Handbook, at his presentation.

Of course, it certainly helped that he was giving away copies of his book – which I obtained from another session participant, Katie Stroud, as she re-gifted it to me (she already owned a signed copy).

Take Storyline to the Next Level with jQuery, JavaScript, and JSON
Michael Raines, eLearning Developer – ICF International

Raines is a powerhouse of technical insight and information. As a long-time expert in many interactive projects for primarily (U.S.) Federal Governmental clients, Raines knows (more than) a thing-or-two about pushing the limits authoring tools, making them do much more than previously thought possible. Raines continues in this vein, showcasing not only how one can leverage external (JavaScript & jQuery) scripting with Storyline 2, but also exactly how he did so, by providing actual samples from a real-world project.

Mike Raines explaining code during his presentation at DevLearn 2016.
Mike Raines explaining code during his presentation at DevLearn 2016.

True to form, Raines answered each question put to him during the session open and honestly – even admitting when the question was beyond his technical skill (which only happened once) – and taking the time to provide useable insight.

Screenshot of of Katie Stroud's session on the DevLearn 2016 app.
Screenshot of of Katie Stroud’s session on the DevLearn 2016 app.

Workplace Stories: Step-by-step Inspiration for eLearning Engagement
Katie Stroud, President and CEO, Incremental Success

Stroud’s sessions seem to always draw a large crowd. It’s little wonder, too: her presentations are well-organized, well-informed, and draw energy directly from audience participation.

Plus, she sometimes gives away chocolate during her sessions. Mmmm.

Apart from this delicious benefit, Stroud focused her session on utilizing “workplace stories” to enrich eLearning development. As she did so, Stroud provided key foundational primer into storytelling elements, where to find such workplace stories, and how they can enhance learning interaction.

As always, Stroud’s session participants walk away enriched by having attended and continue discussions stemming from insights shared in-session, well-past the session itself.

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