I recently attended the eLearning Guild’s DevLearn06 conference, dedicated to e-learning developers. I gave a preconference workshop on the learning research and two conference sessions, one on the spacing effect and one on assessments (especially as they are illuminated by the learning research).

Here’s some quick highlights from the conference:

1. 50 developers showed off their latest and greatest e-learning interventions in the eLearning Guild’s Demo Fest. This 2.5 hour opportunity is a great addition to the typical conference fare. I noticed two things:

    • The production values and aesthetic quality of the entries were remarkable. Beautiful work. So, if you’re developing e-learning, you better start hiring talented graphic designers and managers who have an aesthetic sensibility.
    • The designs were generally much better than page turners, but they still weren’t completely consistent with research-based practices. There were good interactions and lots of decision scenarios, but still there were too many missed opportunities for authentic practice and decision-making.

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2. The eLearning Guild’s Research Posse, led by the ingenious and tireless Steve Wexler, has developed an amazing data-gathering tool, that enables eLearning Guild members to find out the market penetration of all kinds of things, including authoring tools, simulation practices, m-Learning, etc., etc. With this foray into industry research, the Guild easily leapfrog’s the feeble attempts by ASTD and Bersin, both of which provide only broad strokes analysis of industry data.

3. Great session by Judy Brown on m-Learning, who showed (a) an amazing installed base of m-Learning tools that makes it clear that m-learning tsunami is on its way here, and (b) some interesting statistics showing that the US is way behind Asia and Western Europe in the amount of data that is utilized on cell phones (the more data, the more learning programs).