DevLearn and Motorcycle Mayhem 2012


I recently attended the DevLearn conference in Las Vegas, followed by a fun little event we call Motorcycle Mayhem. I did a similar thing last year, and it was an amazing week and weekend. So last week had a lot to live up to, and wow, did it.

I kicked things off on Monday with an all-day working session with Trina Rimmer, as we finalized resources, documents and workbooks for our workshop on Tuesday. This was nicely interrupted by an extended lunch at Todd English PUB, my second home in Vegas thanks to a diverse menu and excellent stable of craft brews.

Tuesday, it was time for From the Trenches: Developing eLearning in the Real World, our workshop on building eLearning with limited resources, budget and tight timelines without removing good design from the process. It was a very successful workshop. Trina and I developed a prototype of what we’re calling a Project Design Guide (for now), that helps practitioners better plan a difficult project. We’ll have more on this once we apply some more design and polish. Turns out we could have spent an entire day just on project design and analysis work, something we’ll consider for future conferences and for our Learning Ninja workshops. We had a great group, and received very positive feedback. All in all, a very successful day.

After Jon Landau’s solid keynote, I spent most of Wednesday helping Kevin Thorn launch his new NuggetHead Store. Kevin has access to some really wonderful characters and has made them available at very affordable prices. These are amazing, high quality illustrated characters for your presentations or eLearning. I was able to catch a few good stage presentations as well.

NuggetHead Characters
Kevin “NuggetHead” Thorn’s Illustrated Characters

After an early breakfast buzz with Julie Dirksen on Usability, Accessibility and User Testing, the rest of the week was spent mostly in hallway conversations and chatting up some vendors at the Expo. Nothing really jumped out at me product-wise. A lot of discussion about Tin Can adoption, but nothing revolutionary. I’m interested to see where Rich Chetwynd (of Litmos fame) takes Rapid Intake now that it’s all part of CallidusCloud. Thursday’s Ignite session had a great lineup of speakers, and I enjoyed it immensely. Kris Rockwell’s Fear and Loathing in eLearning was easily the best presentation title of the week.

By Friday, I was mostly focused on Motorcycle Mayhem, and it did not let me down. We had absolutely stunning weather all three days.

Patch art courtesy of Kevin Thorn

We hit Valley of Fire on Friday afternoon, Zion National Park on Saturday and Red Rocks Canyon on Sunday. Highlights included Rob Christie’s playlists, watching the moon come up over the mountain like something out of Close Encounters, and riding into the sunset on Saturday evening.

Valley of Fire

I’m optimistic that the eLearning Guild will at least maintain the level it’s at with DevLearn, now that Brent Schlenker has moved on. That dude sure knows how to put on a show. To all my friends, colleagues and clients, thank you for a great week of learning and fun. I can’t wait until next year.

Conference resources, presentations and recaps, as always, can be found on David Kelly’s excellent site.