This is going to be a great conference, first, because I'm doing a keynote address, second, because I'm also speaking on Situation-Based Learning Design, and third, because this conference will have some very unique elements.

In addition to me, the conference highlights other experts in learning and simulation. Dr. Richard Saetti will speak on using cinema and simulations. Brandon Andrews and Dean Fouquet will talk about mobile simulations. Phil Clements will speak on the business ethics of immersive learning. Mike Graham and Ken Spero will discuss how to blend soft and hard skills in simulations. Ron Kantor will speak on social media and immersive learning. And the list goes on.

This conference provides many unique advantages compared with other conferences, which aren't as focused on the development of simulations and immersive-learning environments. First and foremost, the folks who are leading the discussions provide a blend of practical wisdom. These folks don’t just talk about immersive learning; they’ve actually built simulations that work. The conference is designed to have two tracks, one more conceptual—to ensure that we learn the right mental models about simulation design and delivery—and one more focused on the how-to’s of authoring simulations—to help us understand the nuts and bolts of how to actually build simulations that work.The conference is also going to provide a great opportunity for learning and networking, because it's going to be a small, intimate affair. If you want a chance to hob-nob with learning and simulation experts, here is your chance.

The conference is sponsored by NexLearn, creators of SimWriter (a simulation authoring tool). All conference attendees will get a copy of SimWriter Simplicity–so even folks new to simulation authoring can build their own simulations.

EARLY-BIRD SPECIAL Ends Shortly in about a week.

To check it out or to register, click here.



22nd December 2011

Neon Elephant Award Announcement

Dr. Will Thalheimer, President of Work-Learning Research, announces the winner of the 2011 Neon Elephant Award, given this year to Jeroen van Merriënboer for his many years conducting research on learning and translating that research into practical models for use by learning professionals.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…

2011 Award Winner –  Jeroen J. G. van Merriënboer

Jeroen van Merriënboer is Program director for Research in Education, the research and PhD program of the School of Health Professions Education at Maastricht University (in Maastricht, The Netherlands).  He is also scientific director of the Interuniversity Centre for Educational Research. His main area of expertise is learning and instruction, in particular instructional design and the use of new media in innovative learning environments. He has published widely on four-component instructional design (, cognitive load theory, and lifelong learning. He holds several academic awards for his research and has been a supervisor for over 25 PhD students.

His forthcoming book:  

  • Ten Steps to Complex Learning: A Systematic Approach to Four-Component Instructional Design
    (2nd Edition arriving August 2012) 

His recent books include:

  • Ten Steps to Complex Learning: A Systematic Approach to Four-Component Instructional Design
    (2007, with Paul A. Kirschner, First Edition).
  • Training complex cognitive skills: A four-component instructional design model for technical training.
    (1997, winner of AECT’s Outstanding Book-of-the-Year Award)

Selected Publications:

Jeroen J. G. van Merriënboer is honored this year for (1) his lifetime of research and (2) for his exhaustive efforts over the years in bringing research to practice (especially as represented in his Four-Components Instructional Design model (4C/ID) and his book and articles related to the Ten-Step framework (

Jeroen should also be acknowledged for his seemingly inexaustible efforts on many fronts. He’s twice won the Best PhD Supervisor Award by the PhD Student division of the Netherlands Educational Research Association (NERA). He’s Associate Editor for the journal Learning and Instruction (ranked #3 in Educational Psychology and Educational Research). He is, or has been, involved in editorial boards on more than 10 other publications. He is involved in management as a director of research. He runs several funded research projects. He has developed software prototypes. He has authored over 100 articles in scientific refereed journals. He’s been an invited speaker over 100 times.

For his lifetime of work and for his ability to translate complex research findings into reasonably simple models for instructional design, we owe Jeroen J. G. van Merriënboe our most grateful thanks.

Click here to learn more about the Neon Elephant Award…


CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS – Do you use new technologies and social media to teach in higher education? Please consider submitting a chapter (by January 15, 2012) to the upcoming book "The Plugged-In Professor". Details, contact information and an easy-to-use template are all available at