DevLearn 2009

The eLearning Guild’s DevLearn ’09 in San Jose, California was a non-stop west coast jamboree of elearning tools, talks and tradeshow. We set up our booth Tuesday afternoon and didn’t stop until we boarded our flights home on Friday afternoon.Dev Learn logo

Our key takeway? Elearning is alive and well and living in California. Ok, we can be a bit more specific. From the Expo, to elearning karaoke, to the sessions, here’s some of what we soaked up.

Bits and Bytes

DevLearn organizers made sure the event was crammed full of learning opportunities. Every crack and crevice of the Fairmont Hotel seemed to have a social media camp or a games session or something going on. Amazing keynotes, great sessions, a busy Expo hall and even DemoFest – where you could walk around and check out some great examples of elearning. Seeing 27 companies demo at once is quite something – kind of like wandering around a souk, but with a lot more laptops.

We couldn’t turn around without running into the likes of Brent Schlenker, Jay Cross, Ellen Wagner, Clark Quinn, Mark Oehlert, Tony Karrer, Janet Clarey and multitudes of other elearning notables. Great to catch up with all our friends in the business.

The Twitter crowd was well-represented with a Twitter board showing comments in real-time. This was a great way to see what was happening in sessions that you couldn’t attend.

Sessions ranged all over the place. The instructional design crowd took in Ruth Clark’s talk about evidenced-based elearning. A number of sessions focused on using social media tools, along with a fair number of more technically-minded presentations.

For those with stamina and no sense of shame, there was elearning karaoke Thursday night at San Jose’s Dive Bar. You think these people can talk? You should hear them sing. We look forward to this becoming an ongoing DevLearn tradition and will be practicing our numbers to get ready. Rumor has it, the Dive Bar uses Autotune – so everyone sounds good. Well, almost everyone. We’re not ones to name and shame (ourselves,that is).

The Expo

The vendor hall filled with elearning tool companies, custom content vendors and LMS companies. Want an avatar? Check. Want an LMS? Check. Social media tools? Check. The US market is still very fragmented, with a lot of small and mid-sized players all seeming to carve out a niche for themselves.

A steady stream of interested parties kept us busy at the Kineo booth, with many organisations stopping by to talk to us about both Moodle and custom elearning options – happy to say we ran out of business cards.

The Keynotes

Andrew McAfee, author of Enterprise 2.0: The State of an Art kicked off DevLearn with the opening keynote on Wednesday morning. He talked about how organizations can use emergent social software platforms to advance their goals and move forward into the 21st century.

On Thursday, the crowd was entertained with game developer legend Eric Zimmerman. From a massive multiplayer game of rock-paper-scissors to a talk about how we are entering a Ludic Age of Play, Eric provided a great session and some thought provoking ideas.

DevLearn closed with Leo Laporte’s closing keynote. Leo Laporte, known as “The Tech Guy!”, is a US-based journalist specialising in technology coverage on radio, TV, and the Internet. He took us through the rise and fall of mass media. The traditional media monopoly is crumbling as it gets replaced by public, personal user generated media.

Cammy showed off her live-blogging super powers with live-blogged notes of all three keynotes. Catch the details at her blog:

Andrew McAfee: Eric Zimmerman: Leo Laporte:

Kineo Sessions

We were delighted to present two sessions at this year’s DevLearn.

Moodle: Changing the Face of Corporate Elearning?

On Wednesday, Kineo’s Cammy Bean and Steve Lowenthal presented to a packed room on the Corporate Moodle. Talking through the advantages of open source and Moodle in particular, we looked at recent statistics published by the eLearning Guild showing Moodle’s increasing market share in the corporate sector. We then looked at ten corporate case studies – examples of corporate organizations using Moodle as tactical LMS solutions – from compliance and new hire portals, to testing centres and product knowledge portals for resellers.

Yawn Proof Your Elearning without Busting the Bank

Friday morning, as the elearning crowd began to resemble the zombies that they were trying to keep out through the DevLearn Zombie Apocalypse Alternative Reality Game (ARG), a standing room only crowd came to Stephen Walsh and Cammy’s session: “Yawn Proofing Your Elearning without Busting the Bank.”

To wake everyone up, we broke out into small sessions to talk about what’s boring in e-learning. Then we walked through ten tracks or tips for spicing up your e-learning with low-cost solutions. Missed it? You can read up on our top ten tracks in our free guide here.

Jeff Pankin of MIT told us, “Not only did I not yawn, I stayed for the whole session! It was one of the best - real practical advice.” We hope Jeff and all the others who came to our session brought home some practical tips to put to use right away. You can view our session slides here.

Breakfast Bytes

If all that wasn’t enough, the brave got up for early morning breakfast sessions before the keynotes kicked off. Cammy led a lively conversation on Thursday called “Instructional Design: You do what for a living?” Friday morning, Stephen gathered with a group to talk about Rapid. A bit bleary-eyed at 7:15am, we nonetheless managed to have some insightful conversations – the key point being it’s not about the tool – it’s about changing your process to accelerate and cut out needless documentation and accelerate the build/review/amend cycle.

Check out Cammy’s notes on her ID session here: Accidental Instructional Designers.

All in all, it was great to be part of DevLearn 09 and we’re looking forward to the next event.