Tuesday, October 24, 2017

DevLearn 2017 - Where am I going to be?

It's hard to believe it's DevLearn time again! I also just did some counting and it turns out this is my 7th DevLearn in a row. Hard to believe how much time has passed since I came to this event for the first time.

Since I'm on staff with the eLearning Guild instead of a regular attendee, I'm not able to attend full sessions the way I used to. That said, here's where I'll be for the next few days if you're here and want to say hi or following from afar and want to know what I'll be sharing. Don't forget, this conference is in Vegas, so all these times are in Pacific.


Session: Orientation

If you're at DevLearn for the first time or have been here before but still want more pointers on how to get the most from the experience, come to Orientation. I'll be sharing some handy tips for enjoying the event and also help you get to know your best conference tool: the DevLearn app. Plus, you'll also get to meet some of the people who are running this year's Docent Program.


Live Tweeting a Keynote: Sci-Fi Meets Reality: The Future, Today
Speaker: Amy Webb

As usual, I'll be live tweeting the keynotes at the conference. The first one of DevLearn this year is all about examining where technology may take us in the future. Webb is a data and analytics expert and if you haven't had a chance to watch her hilarious and informative TED Talk about how she "gamed" data to help with online dating, take the 20 minutes now to check it out.


The rise of (comparatively) inexpensive VR hardware and software have made it much more accessible as a learning solution than it was in the past, but it's hard to come up with ideas for using it until you've gotten your hands on it first. The eLearning Guild is setting up stations so you can do just that: experiment hands on with some of the most popular VR technology available today and get a better sense of how you might be able to use VR on your own work. We'll have a Playstation VR (this is where I'll be for most of the time), HTC Vive, and two Oculus Rifts available as well as a fun selection of VR experiences for you to try. Check out the schedule here and consider coming back multiple times to try different games and simulations.

Live Tweeting a Keynote: Embracing Technology-Based Creativity
Speakers: Glen Keane

If you were at Learning Solutions this year (or watched the recording on the eLearning Guild website) you know how great a speaker Keane is. Most well known as a Disney animator, he talked a bit at Learning Solutions about the creative challenge of moving from hand drawn animation to digital. In this new talk from him, he'll discuss that experience in more detail and help us all better understand how to keep innovating when the tech and techniques we use to do our jobs drastically changes.


Speaker: LeVar Burton

This keynote is a doubly special to me because I grew up watching both Reading Rainbow and Star Trek: TNG. Burton is someone I've been dying to see speak because he's such an amazing advocate for reading, and more recently for embracing new technology to do so. He'll be discussing his work and influences over the years as well as sharing stories about his newest project, the Reading Rainbow-style app Skybrary. Can't wait? To tide you over, check out this video of Burton reading former DevLearn keynote Neil deGrasse Tyson the book "Goodnight Moon".


I'll be back here on Thursday too, so be sure to pop by the Playstation VR session and say hi!


Mark Britz and I will be hosting DemoFest again this year. Be sure to grab a drink and some snacks, check out the projects, and vote for your favorites.



Now that you've been at the conference for awhile are you thinking about proposing your own session for future events? The Guild Programming team (me, David Kelly, and Mark Britz) are running this Morning Buzz to help answer your questions about how to write a conference proposal that gets noticed, what we're looking for in proposals, and what issues do we commonly see that you'll want to avoid.


Games and gamification can be powerful tools for learning, but they aren't always the easiest to implement. From questions about development tools, challenges with getting stakeholders and partners to buy in to the concept, or dealing with the fallout of past games or gamification projects that didn't quite deliver, there are some real challenges in your way if you want to start using these approaches or deepen how you're using them. I'll be hosting this expert panel to explore practical advice for how to overcome these barriers and make games and gamification work for your situation.

Live Tweeting a Keynote: How to Think Like a Futurist
Speaker: Jane McGonigal

We're closing out the conference with another view on how to think about the future. McGonigal is most well known as the writer of Reality is Broken and SuperBetter (as well as creator the app of the same name). In this closing session she'll help us all figure out how to prime ourselves for being future thinking (and get us ready to take everything we learning at DevLearn and apply it back at work).


Guest Posting to the eLearning Guild Instagram Account

For DevLearn this year the Programming Team (me, David Kelly, and Mark Britz) are all sharing our behind the scenes photos from the event on the Guild Instagram account. If you're not at the conference it's a way you can still experience some of the event, and if you are here it's a fun way to see a side of the conference you otherwise might not see. Be sure to follow the account either way.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Review: In Progress

Look at me, tearing through my L&D "To Read" book pile!

Title: In Progress
Author: Jessica Hische

What's it about?

Jessica Hische may not be a name you're familiar with if you're not in to hand lettering or typography, but given her popularity right now there's a good chance you've seen her work and just not known it. In this book she shares the techniques and processes she uses to create her typography designs.

What's so great about it?

We talk a lot about the idea of "show your work" in L&D and this book is entirely that. Hische outlines her approach to design, the tools she uses, the technical processes she goes through when creating a design, all in conversational language that doesn't require you to be a lettering or design expert to follow along. She also talks about client projects she's worked on, sharing early sketches and her thoughts about how she wanted to best address what the client was looking for.

So this is a great peek behind the scenes at one person's creative process, which is a big reason I enjoyed this so much. It's also a fantastic example of how you yourself can work out loud in a way anyone can follow along with. Even if design isn't your passion, this book gives you great models for how you can pick apart and share you own work openly with others.

What's going to frustrate me about it?

As much as behind the scenes looks at anyone's problem solving process can be helpful, this book focuses a lot on process, so you're going to need to have at least some interest in design, drawing, or typography to really enjoy it. Not in any of those categories? It might be still worth your time to borrow this from the library and just skip to the section where Hische talks about her client work, as there are some good nuggets there about how to solve client requests that anyone might find useful.

Also, are you looking for step-by-step tutorials that will show you how to how to do hand drawn lettering yourself? This isn't that book.

Anything else?

This is a great example of a book that's about a very narrow topic (in this case, lettering) that actually has much broader insights for people in other industries. I wish there were more books out there like this that explored people's work processes in such easy to understand ways.

Related to that, this book is also n excellent example of how to write content that's accessible to non-experts, but doesn't feel too basic for experts. It's impressive how Hische can take her own processes and explain them in ways that feel don't feel confusing to newbies but still have value to experts from her field as well. It's a tough balance to walk, and one we could stand to do more in L&D.

I'm too lazy to Google the book. Where can I buy it?

I've got you covered (Well, at least if you live in North America):