DevLearn 2007

I’ve just spent 3 wonderful days in San Jose at the eLearning Guild’s DevLearn 2007 conference. Here were some of the highlights for me:

  • Hanging out with Ruth Clark a few times during lunches, keynotes, etc. We had a blast discussing research, the state of the profession, and the joy and challenge of doing the research-to-practice thing.
  • Seeing Ruth Clark and Silke Fleischer (of Adobe Systems) present the research AND practice of Richard Mayer’s work on multimedia learning. Silke did a nice job of demonstrating e-learning examples in Adobe’s Captivate. Ruth did a wonderful job discussing the research, framing it in terms of practical application, and describing its limitations. Adobe deserves a ton of credit for supporting the dissemination of Ruth’s work and helping to distribute it to a wide audience. Three cheers for enlightened companies like Adobe and Questionmark who support research dissemination.
  • Having Google Maps change my behavior by including a public transportation option when I did a search in San Jose. I had actually made a reservation to rent a car so I could drive from my hotel to the downtown hotel where the conference was held. When I went to Google Maps to search for the best route, I was offered a public transportation search. I found out I could get downtown in 12 minutes for only $1.75. I cancelled my rental car and happily commuted. Saving me money (Google showed my gas savings), parking fees, aggravation, etc. Awesome!! Technology changes everything.
  • Seeing a great keynote by Paul Saffo who talked about technology innovation and reminded my how many failures are required before success is rewarded. It was one of those rare keynotes that was both well-delivered and superbly relevant for the conference. Way to go Heidi Fisk (of the eLearning Guild) for a great keynote selection.
  • Wonderful food. Yes. At a conference!! Healthy, fresh, tasty. Way to go Fairmont Hotel.
  • The now-famous DevLearn DemoFest where dozens of e-learning developers show off their wares. It’s a great way to take a snapshot of the state of the e-learning industry.
  • Playing tennis with a Wii remote. My wife and I are not TV people, so I never pay attention to all the new remotes, Xbox’s, etc. At the conference, I played tennis for about 2 minutes and had some fun. The cool thing about the Wii  is that it tracks the remote’s movement and simulates that on the screen. Actually, with the Wii my first serve percentage was about 100%, much better than real life.
  • My Wednesday Breakfast Bytes session on the intersection of e-Technology and Informal Learning. We had a great conversation and I learned some things.
  • My Thursday Breakfast Bytes session on Situation-Based Instructional Design. The basic nugget is that people behave by (1) Being in a situation, (2) Evaluating that situation to make sense of it, (3) Deciding what to do, and (4) taking Action. So, we ought to give our learners practice in doing the whole SEDA process (Situation-Evaluation-Decision-Action). And, we can benefit from asking the Magic Question. Yes, there is more to it than that. The bottom line for me is that my clients have found the concept very helpful in helping them design learning that goes beyond the typical topic-based designs.
  • The DevLearn Breakfast Bytes sessions do a great job in getting conversations going. As always, Guild members come to the conference with experience and are ready to share their insights and wisdom. I love Breakfast Bytes.
  • My regular session on Learning Measurement. Another great discussion with—what seemed to me—like lots of light bulbs going off. Fun, even after several days of conferencing.
  • I met a guy at the Demo Fest—John D’Amours—who had actually tried to do a control-group experiment comparing his e-learning design to a traditional design. Yes. Yes. Yes. We need more folks taking this kind of initiative.
  • Learning that Windows Vista NORMALLY runs slow with 2GB of memory. Glad it wasn’t just my machine.
  • AND so many other great conversations and sessions. Sorry if I failed to mention you!! Hugs to all. I really learn a lot at eLearning Guild events. And I have to say, I feel that my contribution is especially appreciated. Thanks Guild members and staff !!!!!!!!!!