The Future of Training at DevLearn 2017

The Future of Training at DevLearn 2017

November 1, 2017
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DevLearn 2017 has left the building. After three days in Las Vegas full of learning, networking and discovering what the future holds for the training world, it’s time to say goodbye to new friends and get ready to apply everything we’ve learned back home. DevLearn is the eLearning Guild’s largest conference, with over 3000 attendees and hundreds of sessions to choose from. While I can’t begin to fit everything I’ve learned into one blog post, two major themes held true throughout my time at DevLearn.

Read on to learn more.

What Training Can Learn From Others

Generally speaking, most people can benefit from applying lessons learned in other fields. Training in particular tends to stretch organization-wide and requires project management and development, creative assets, design, and learner acquisition. Additionally, training professionals tend to emerge and transition from all different areas of the business, bringing their processes, ideas and methodologies with them.

DevLearn was full of sessions and conversations that demonstrated this. One of my favorites was “Learner Personas: A Necessary Design Tool for Your Online Courses?” The session was led by Jonathan Peters and Monica Cornetti, who use a persona-based approach for their gamification company. They pulled from this well-known marketing approach of identifying buyer personas to better understand their learners and create successful training content. While understanding your audience is a key part of any curriculum development process, I hadn’t ever considered created discrete persona profiles for each segment of my learning population. The presenters walked us through building motivation profiles, and I enjoyed applying the approach to our very own customer training use cases.

Another great example of training professionals learning from other disciplines is borrowed from software development. For years, agile software development methodologies have been making their way into training development, and many instructional designers have embraced the change. I was excited to see this conversation continue at DevLearn, with one session focused on transitioning to Agile development and many others incorporating it in other ways.

The Future is Here

The theme for this year’s conference was “The Future is Here,” and this stood out especially in the keynote sessions. Two of the keynotes featured storytellers that were enormous parts of my childhood. Glen Keane, creator of Disney characters like Ariel and the Beast, and LeVar Burton, actor, director, producer and of course, host of Reading Rainbow. Both of their presentations highlighted the technological changes they’ve seen throughout their careers that have enriched creativity and storytelling.

When applied to training, it’s interesting to continue thinking about how advances in virtual reality, software and connectivity slowly change the way we approach our own design. The technology that we only dreamed about years ago has arrived. While it’s not perfect yet, and doesn’t replace everything we’ve traditionally done, it’s time to embrace it and learn how we can use new technologies to improve the probability of achieving learning outcomes.


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