My DevLearn Experience


This past week I was able to experience DevLearn 2008, the learning conference put on by the eLearning Guild. The focus this year was on Learning 2.0 – applying new technologies to learning.

I’ve posted plenty of session summaries, but I thought I’d share my experiences in a chronological storyline with a few photos – mostly for my own archival purposes.

Thursday, November 6th:

My trip to California was interesting.

Friday, November 7th:

Great round of golf with my dad, uncle and their boss. Gorgeous day, despite a bit of wind. Shot a 105 with an old set of borrowed clubs. Had some killer drives that I was very happy with. I really need a new driver when I get home (thank you Spanning Sync).

Sunday, November 9th:

After a too-short, but very nice trip to Simi, it was time to head up to San Jose. Thankfully, no issues on this flight. I settled in to the very nice Fairmont San Jose with some Clam Chowder and a Club Sandwich and some Sunday Night Football.

Monday, November 10th:

Adobe Learning Summit. I learned a lot about where Adobe is headed with learning products. They’re launching an eLearning Suite, which will include modified versions of Dreamweaver and Flash. It, as well as Captivate 4, will be released sometime in 2009. I met up with Philip Hutchison, who I’d only known electronically before today.

I also met Doug Welch via Twitter, and Steve Howard and Shameer (Adobe Product Mgr.) at the Adobe reception. We had a great dinner at Gordon-Biersch. Afterwards, Steve and I went over to a Pub and talked about life and politics over a couple rounds of Guinness. It was a great evening.


Tuesday, November 11th:

DevLearn begins. Day one is workshops and symposiums. I was a little disappointed in the workshop I attended, but I was able to provide some input and help a few folks out, so it wasn’t too bad.

Dinner was great – Amici’s pizza with my manager and coworkers.

Wednesday, November 12th:

The day started with a wonderful keynote on technology, alpha geeks and the future from Tom O’Reilly. The sessions were pretty good. Twitter was going strong and it was a great way to share session experiences and notes. Mark Oehlert live-blogged some sessions. (one guy I really wanted to meet in person, but never synced up).

I snagged a quick lunch/coffee with Doug Welch and we chatted about podcasting and technology. Check out his handouts – he had a workshop and a concurrent session.


Thursday, November 13th:

Another great keynote to kick off the day. Dan Roam and the Back of the Napkin. Brilliant stuff that I can actually use in real life, which is great. My Amazon wish list is getting longer. The sessions were pretty good again, except for the vCom3D sales pitch I went to that was supposed to be about learning portals. I hate that.


Friday, November 14th:

Well, this keynote definitely woke everyone up. Medina (Brain Rules) is hilariously hyper, but in a good way. He used an odd method of presenting by using 30+ Director movies – he had to open each one and click play, rather than using Keynote or PowerPoint or just combining all the movies with a “next” button. Weird.

I would have loved to have had this guy as a professor. He’s brilliant, but passionate and entertaining, and even though he talks 100mph, you’re able to learn from him. Yet another book I’ll be buying. Great stuff around how screwed up our learning environments are, both in education and in corporations.

I have a new exercise goal, now. Thanks John!

Went to a great session with Paul Clothier on using PowerPoint to develop animations. Very clever examples and shows how far you can push PowerPoint with enough vision and time. He also backed what Dan Roam was telling us, that we need to detach ourselves from technology now and again and just brainstorm, draw, doodle and map on a piece of paper or a whiteboard. This is definitely something I will be doing moving forward.

I didn’t get to stay for all of Avron’s session on LETSI and SCORM, but I’ll be more directly involved with that moving forward and Aaron promised to fill me in a little, as well.


General Thoughts:

I had a great time. I met some great people, and Brent did a great job getting people to use Twitter. I found it to be a great tool for sharing information quickly and also for networking. Total tweets sent all time before DevLearn: ~250. Total tweets sent while at DevLearn: ~300.

Overall, the theme of the conference was great, but the sessions could have been a little better. I want more panels and discussions rather than presentations. I want workshops that are actual workshops.

I will take a lot away from this conference. Thanks to blogging and Twittering, I retained a LOT more than last year, when I just took notes on paper and didn’t record much or share anything and it was lost. I hope to keep the conversations going on this site, Twitter and a few other ideas I have brewing.

I’m excited about the future of learning and eLearning. This trip, and my recent promotion, have really stimulated my passion for teaching people, improving the learning environment with new technologies, and carving a path for myself in this industry.

Thanks to the EG folks, Adobe and all the peeps I met at DevLearn. It was fun.

Full List of DevLearn 2008 Handouts

2 thoughts on “My DevLearn Experience

  1. Excellent review! Great to hear that you had a good time, learned new things, and applied technology to facilitate it all. Twitter was fun. I'm happy to hear that you found it beneficial.
    I would like to say that I am very sorry about the sales pitches you received in any of the sessions. We work really hard to make sure that doesn't happen, and it reflects poorly on me and our events. So, I hope you gave feedback on the forms. As I get the feedback forms I will be contacting the speakers and providing "coaching" on their performance.
    Thanks for taking the time to write a thoughtful review. Your feedback is valuable to us.
    I look forward to hearing more from others in the coming weeks.

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