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Adobe Learning Summit & Dev Learn 2013 – What's the Buzz?

300x250px_static banner_opt-5One of the best things about going to conferences is that we get to hear from colleagues around the world and see what they’ve been up to. Last week in Las Vegas, eLearning Developers, educators and trainers from around the world gathered to share industry trends, the latest techniques and teaching / training methods and to learn from one another at the Adobe Learning Summit (Monday) and at DevLearn, the annual eLearning Guild event during the remaining week.

teamAtALSThe Adobe eLearning Team was out in full force to host the Adobe Learning Summit on Monday. We kicked off the day with a keynote from Author and Life-Hacker Josh Klein. Josh shared stories of his research and life-hacking traditions and encouraged us all to explore the potential to hack our worlds. The crux of his message? Hacking is all about exploration and discovery – and that it can be a very positive force for good.

After the kickoff attendees headed off to the breakouts – with more options to choose from than ever before. The one day conference this year was expanded to 5 concurrent session tracks – increasing the number of available sessions by 4. It was a well timed expansion as this year’s conference was host to the biggest ever audience. The breakdown suggested five tracks for attendees, though I found plenty of people jumping tracks to pick their favorite speakers and sessions. I started my day watching Kari Arfstrom’s ‘To Flip or Not to Flip.’ Kari is the head of the non-profit Flipped Learning Network – an organization that facilitates the expansion and adoption of ‘flipped learning’ (which is the practice of inverting the instruction and activity portions of learning so that learners do more activities together and with their teacher or trainer, and encounter more direct instruction outside the classroom. The session gave some good insights into the approach and provided some good direction for further review.

(Later in the week, Jon Bergman – co-author of ‘Flip Your Classroom.’ Picking the first session was a huge challenge as the first hour featured, Anita Horsley, Joe Ganci, Lieve Weymeis,

The rest of the day was a bit of a blur for me as I co-hosted a session with the always amazing Renaldo Lawrence, followed soon after by my own session on producing your first video. I heard stories throughout the remaining day that sessions were extremely good and that there were a few particularly interesting highlights.

One that caught my ear was word that the session on the new Learner Collaboration and Intervention with Brian Friedlander and Jon Doroblo was especially exceptional. Jon focused on the new collaboration tools that allow students and teachers to discuss and correspond right inside Adobe Presenter 9 courses, and Brian talked about the new Learner intervention reporting technology also included in Presenter 9.

knowHowWe closed the day with a sneak preview of new technologies (experiments under active development) and a demo of the amazing new Adobe Know How – After the demos we had a great question and answer session where eLearning product managers answered questions from conference attendees. These annual gatherings have become a wonderful opportunity to learn whether presenting or just listening to the work and thoughts of others.

The Adobe Learning Summit kicks off the week and DevLearn puts things into full steam. This year’s DevLearn featured keynotes on Innovation, Gamification, Personalization and Deviation. From Google Glass to 3D Printing and Robotics, the featured sessions at this year’s DevLearn were full of innovation and excitement. I passed Karl Kapp in the hallway and learned that he’s got a new book coming out soon – the same news from Jon Bergman.

Of course much of my time was spent meeting with people at the Adobe Booth on the Expo floor. Adobe went big with the Expo this year, featuring a huge display that included the now famous ‘&’ symbol. Visitors were encouraged to pose for photos with Adobe & You – and hundreds did so. You can check out the library of photos on the Adobe Captivate Facebook page. Biggest surprise for me? You can crawl all over that thing – and we did so. 😉

During the week I was most thrilled to meet with hundreds of happy, excited customers. It’s genuinely humbling to hear people offer thanks because they have found our training materials, videos, and seminars useful. It’s equally wonderful to hear stories of how much difference Adobe eLearning software is making in the work-days of eLearning professionals. “I’m the rock star of my department” was one of my favorite customer quotes. She was describing how simple it was for her to produce content that made her look like a rock star multimedia programmer – even though inserting smart learning interactions is as easy as editing a PowerPoint.

So the number one benefit of ALS & DevLearn for me is that hearing about new approaches and technologies, and getting feedback from the eLearning community recharges my batteries and leaves me hungry for the year ahead. How about you? Do you have a favorite conference or eLearning event that you would like others to know about? Did you attend one of these events and have stories to share? As always – I love to hear your comments and questions in the section below.

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