If DevLearn 2011 at the Aria in Las Vegas did anything, it confirmed one certainty about elearning: elearning is exhilarating. eLearning is esoteric, cutting edge, tumultuous, and sexy. And elearning is an industry. Yes, elearning is a thrilling industry that combines esoteric theory like gamification, cutting edge tools like Cloud technologies, tumultuous teetering between HTML5 and Flash, and the inspiringly sexy and sleek iPad — the world’s most seductive learning tool.
The eLearning Guild hosted quite a conference. Featured speakers spoke with vigor, sessions delivered an array of ideas and practice, DemoFest showcased elearning eye candy, and the expo bristled with the promise of the next best thing. Vegas was sunny. And Vegasy. The Aria Hotel and Casino is a great place for a convention. Or three (it’s actually three levels of luxurious conference space). I overhead one participant wondering why the bathrooms were so far away; they were a bit of a walk, but everything in Vegas seems to require a good stroll.
And a good stroll can clear the mind. A stroll can give a conference attendee time to think. A much needed moment in the eye of the DevLearn11 storm.
If DevLearn11 at the Aria did anything, it made me want to go again next year. The eLearning Guild has already announced it: same place, same week. I recommend a pilgrimage. I hope to present again next year, and I’m sure B.J., Shonit, and Kevin will be there, presenting or learning. Plan on it. I can’t guarantee that you’ll love it. But you’re going to love it.
If DevLearn11 did anything, it confirmed that one tool has had the greatest impact on elearning — by far. PowerPoint has had more influence on elearning than any other tool, person, idea, or book of ideas. [pullquote_right]PowerPoint has had more influence on elearning than any other tool, person, idea, or book of ideas.[/pullquote_right]If someone at DevLearn11 had kept track of all the buzz words, from HMTL5 to to curation to iPad to mlearning to the cloud, the word most used, both positively and pejoratively, was PowerPoint. The rapid authoring tools embed in PowerPoint or import from PowerPoint. The early, crude elearning was death by PowerPoint. And the new pedagogy preaches a new era of PowerPoint panache, well past the boorish bullet points.
If DevLearn11 did anything, it gathered together a world-wide community of learning professionals who love elearning and believe in both technology and transfer. I got to meet many people I had otherwise known only online or through words. Here’s what I learned: If you walk up to only one person to say hi, make sure it’s Jay Cross. I meet him earlier in the year at another conference, and DevLearn confirmed his overall super-duper-ness. Here are a few more elearning A-list people that I recommend meeting: Clive Shepherd, Jane Hart, Tom Kuhlman, Andrew Scivally, Nemo Chu, Ethan Edwards, Dave Anderson and Harold Jarche. (Less easy to find, but just as awesome: Sheila, Patrick, Kevin, Mark, Stacy, Juli, and Video Jesus.) DevLearn11 also featured participants who looked just like Ed Asner and Steve Martin. No Elvis impersonators. But Koreen Olbrish did a showgirl shout-out during her Ignite! presentation.
Should I do the if DevLearn11 thing again? Or just say it: I’ll meet you at DevLearn 2012 in Vegas. Don’t be late, and don’t leave early!
Eric is the Managing Editor of eLW Mag. He works as an elearning specialist focused on iPad apps and media strategy. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and their five children.