Wednesday, October 29, 2014

DevLearn 2014 - Day 0

Why look at that... I'm acually here at DevLearn!

Today wasn't a full DevLearn day for me... acttually, a lot of today was spent in transit. But there are a few highlights of the day I thought I'd share before I crash into an exhauted, jet-lagged pile and fall asleep (only to more than likely automatically wake up at my normal Toronto wakeup time with my luck):

New Hotel
So DevLearn changed hotels this year, from the Aria to the Bellagio. I hate to say it, but I'm not enamoured with the Bellagio. As much as I love the hotel fountains (seriously, they are worth the hype), the rest of this place isn't that impressive. I mean, it's still nice, don't get me wrong, but it's not Aria-nice. It feels older, the rooms aren't as slick, and honestly it feels a bit overpriced for what you get. That said, even a so-so Vegas hotel is still lovely.

xAPI Hyperdrive
This was a cool 3-hour event/competition that debuted at DevLearn this year. The basic setup was a single stage and projection screen, a large number of speakers, and a panel of judges. Unfortunately I missed the first few minutes of it (and likely the introduction), but my understanding was that speakers were each given 5 minutes to talk about an innovative xAPI project they were working on and highlight what about it it particular was spiffy. The panel of judges then had a chance to ask a few quick questions to find out more about the project. This sort of quick burst "elevator speech" approach honestly reminded me a great deal of DemoFest, only with each person taking a turn rather than all the presentations going on at once. 

I thought the idea of this event was great. Because of the fast-paced format, I got to learn so much about so many different ways companies have used xAPI, from sales training to increasing engagement at a children's museum. That said, you could see that many of the speakers were struggling with the limit of how to talk about their project in 5 minutes (and make it shine to boot). I wonder if a set of coaching resources for these speakers on how to quickly summarize the key aspects of a project in such a short time frame (and how to weave in storytelling techniques to make their presentation come alive) would have helped? 

Regardless, I was happy to see a new and innovative event at DevLearn.

In case you're curious, here are some quick notes I took about the multitude of xAPI projects that we saw at this event:

-Training new teachers
-Preparing volunteers to do work in Haiti
-Intersystem data sharing in military training (to prevent silos in training and simulations)
-xAPI-based scavenger hunt for training. xAPI reports data on people interacting with points (qr codes) in the scavenger hunt
-Using a portal and app version of sales onboarding training leveraging xAPI to connect both. Content could be accessed offline and SCORM content was enclosed in an xAPI wrapper to upscale it
-Use xAPI to better track data and measure competencies with more precision (levelling up like character stats in RPGs)
-Creating a backbone platform to link system of record, content (including informal learning), and distribution
-Creating community-based collaborative learning environment with peer-to-peer information sharing
-Game-based approach to teaching management concepts. Mobile first... Casual, quick game
-Increasing children's museum engagement using RFID tags imbedded in a badge. Taggs interact with exhibits. Also gives museum data about how kids interact with the museum

It's not a trip to Vegas if I don't go do something weird, and THIS time I had a bunch of coworkers with me who were along for the ride! Our first "only in Vegas" adventure was the much talked about Lobsicle from Lobster Me: essentially a lobster tail on a stick (don't worry, it's piping hot, not frozen). It's a hilarious source of nutrients, and I managed to convince SEVERAL coworkers to snack on a lobsicle today. Here's my proof:

No one was brave enough to get the battered and deep fried version, not even me, but it was still a strage and wonderful Vegas experience.

Tomorrow is the first day of the main DevLearn event, and also my first day hosting the eLearning Tools learning stage ( I'm really exicted about the speakers we'll have there this week, so definitely stop by tomorrow if you have a chance. Also, I may be a shy extrovert, but I'd love to say hi to any of you (look for the girl with the pink streaked hair and chances are it'll be me). 

On a related note, I may have (repeatedly) bragged today about conquering the other learning stages by brute force, so if anyone wants to join my noble cause and fight the good fight, I'm looking for recruits for my invasion forces.  ;)  *laugh*

Also, let's not forget the reason most of us are EXTRA giddy about this year's DevLearn: Neil deGrasse Tyson!

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