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Thoughts from DevLearn 2011

It was 3 weeks ago today that DevLearn wrapped up and I left Vegas.  As this was my first DevLearn and actually my first experience at any eLearning conference I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was nervous and excited to arrive as I was speaking and presenting at the DemoFest session.  Each day started the Morning buzz which is a discussion group broken by topic.  These discussion were extremely informative and just provided a great forum for talking with other attendees.  The keynote speaker Michio Kaku started day one.  His session was absolutely stunning, his combination of wit and amazing predictions was something to see.  Even if you didn’t agree with what he was saying, there was something to learn just from watching his presentation style and delivery.  Following his session the Expo opened and I was completely overwhelmed by the size and scope of the vendors that were there.  I think I made at least 3 laps just taking it in before stopping and talking to one of the vendors.  I spent a lot of time in the Expo the rest of the week talking to vendors and learning everything I could about their products or services.  The concurrent sessions were great throughout the rest of the week.  Since the focus of my work is software simulation I focused my session attendance on sessions focused around those topics.  In hindsight I wish I had branched out a bit of for nothing else than to pick up ideas from other areas.  Day one ended with Tom Koulopoulos talking about the Cloud.  It was another exhilarating session by a very dynamic speaker.   Day 2 started with the final keynote Steven Rosenbaum talking about curation and the context of learning.  Again, just fantastic and very interesting topic.  In the evening of day two I had the honor of presenting one of our projects at DemoFest.  I cannot begin to express the amount of fun and how awesome this experience was for me.  The people that stopped by were so great and gained so much knowledge just from talking about what we were doing in comparison to them.  I am hoping to be accepted to the DemoFest again at a future DevLearn.  Finally on Day 3 it was my turn to speak.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from this session.  Looking back I am so grateful for the opportunity to present.  I have presented many times internally to my company about our training plans and I always get the blank stares.  There was actual dialog in this session!  People seemed excited to be there and the discussion was great.  I was so excited by the session and getting actual feedback and discussion as the session went along.  Finally the conference ended with the Ignite session.  The session was a chance for 6 people to present a new idea in learning.  The session was really inspiring and well done.  Great job by the folks from the eLearning Guild!  All in all the conference experience could not have been better.  I spent the plane ride home processing what I learned at the conference.  In fact I probably spent the next 2 weeks processing what I learned and reading blogs and following Twitter for the people I had met and seen at the conference.  I have really started to rethink our approach to learning as we create material for our customers.  We have already started to implement some new thinking focused more on content instead of the technology.  I think anyone wondering if they should attend, you definately should.  The experience cannot be matched.  In fact I told my wife when I arrived home (at 4:30am) that I didn’t care if I paid for it myself, I would be attending next year.

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Posted by on November 25, 2011 in eLearning