DevLearn 2016: Must see sessions to spark your creativity

There's a month to go until DevLearn, the Elearning Guild’s annual learning extravaganza in Las Vegas, so we’re highlighting our must see sessions at the show.

This year the tagline for the show is Sparking Creativity, and the keynote sessions back that up with a variety of speakers who will inspire and excite.

Keynote sessions

The Magic of Storytelling and Learning

Penn Jillette - 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM Wednesday, November 16

Best known as part of the magician duo Penn and Teller, Penn Jillette's stage show is about explaining the magical performance whilst still amazing audiences.

If you want inspiration for your elearning scenarios this is going to be a useful and entertaining session.

Listen: Elearning Guilds podcast, Penn Jillette on Creativity and Magic

Why New Realities Require New Narratives

Maxwell Planck - 4:15 PM - 5:15 PM Wednesday, November 16

With ten years’ experience at Pixar under his belt and an important role in the burgeoning medium of virtual reality content, Maxwell Planck should provide the perfect primer for VR.

As Technical Founder of Oculus Story Studio he's helped shape the initial wave of immersive content for the first generation of consumer VR headsets. Knowing how to tell stories effectively in this new medium will be critical for learning professionals in the near future.

Watch: Making Compelling and Immersive Story at 90 FPS from VRDC 2016

Experience: Oculus Story Studio: Henry

Creativity and Problem-solving at Pixar

Tony DeRose - 8:30 AM - 10:00 AM Thursday, November 17

Tony DeRose leads the research group at Pixar Animation Studios. It’s easy to overlook Pixar’s technical achievements when you're caught up with watching their films, but they've been at the forefront of animated storytelling for over 20 years.

Tony has also helped introduce learning programmes like Pixar in a Box and his TedEd talk on how maths is used in animated movies has been seen over 300,000 times.

Watch: Pixar: The math behind the movies – Tony DeRose TedEd

Learn: Pixar in a Box on

Adaptive Content, Context, and Controversy

Karen McGrane - 11:15 AM - 12:30 PM Friday, November 18

Coming from a responsive web design background puts Karen McGrane at an advantage when discussing the potential of adaptive content for learning.

Adaptive learning and personalisation are hot topics and this talk promises to offer a practical look at the pros and cons of an adaptive approach.

Karen co-hosts the responsive web design podcast with Ethan Marcote, a pioneer of the concept. Each episode is a case study where Karen and Ethan explore the challenges in implementing responsive design and the reasons it’s becoming so popular.

Listen: Responsive web design podcast

Pre-event workshops

Before the main event starts there are a series of pre-conference workshops. Giving you a chance to learn new techniques before getting the inspiration you need to put those skills into action.

There are two days of workshops, Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th November, the Devlearn site has all the information on the full schedule and how to register for them in advance.

Design for behaviour change

Julie Dirksen - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM Tuesday, November 15

Creating learning that drives real change in your learners is something all learning designers aspire to do. Julie Dirksen will offer practical tips and research-based methods to achieve more effective learning.

A must for learning designers and anyone who wants to understand the way people learn on a deeper level.

Listen: Julie Dirksen on the Sponge Elearning Podcast

Attend: Talk to the Elephant: Design for Behavior Change - 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM Friday, November 18

BYOL: Know the Mind, Know the Learner: Applying Brain Science to Improve Training

Art Kohn - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM Tuesday, November 15

Bring Your Own Laptop or BYOL sessions will allow participants to work through the examples and software featured in the session themselves.

For anyone interested in brain science who wants to get a good understanding of the most important principles, this session is a must.

It will also be useful for anyone who’s seeking a broad overview of the different areas of cognitive science.

Read: Art Kohn's articles on Learning Solutions Magazine


Thursday, November 17, 4:00PM to 6:00PM

The setup for Demofest is simple, each designer or developer has a space to show off a real example of a learning solution that they've created. You can experience the learning yourself and quiz the people behind it to get real insights into how it was created and what results it has driven.

The focus is on hands on demos and there will be a variety of different learning technology on display. It's a great change of pace from the main exhibition and an opportunity to dive deeper into innovative solutions.


Presentations: 3:30 PM - 6:30 PM Tuesday, November 15

Showcase: 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Wednesday, November 16

Short pitches for learning solutions are given to a panel of judges in the annual Hyperdrive cometition.

It’s too late to enter the competition for this year, but you can still watch the presentations of the 12 hopefuls and take in the Hyperdrive Winners Showcase.

David Kelly hosts the showcase and highlights some of the creative learning solutions and offer an insight into some of the most cutting edge real world projects that are being produced right now.

Concurrent sessions

With over 125 sessions, 10 tracks and 5 special focus areas there's a lot of choice for attendees. We've picked out a few of the interesting looking sessions but be sure to check out the whole list on the DevLearn site.

360-degree Interactive Video for Learning: From Concept to Case Study

Kate Nicholls -  10:45 AM - 11:45 AM Wednesday, November 16

Get the lowdown on interactive 360 video from Sponge’s Head of Learning Innovation Kate Nicholls. With a demonstration of interactive 360 video and discussion of the design, development and deployment process.

Dreaming of Electric Sheep: The Future of Learning

Julian Stodd -  1:15 PM - 2:15 PM Thursday, November 17

The social learning expert and author Julian Stodd is presenting this interesting look at a variety of emerging technologies and how they fit into the modern, and future organisation.

Zombie Sales Apocalypse: Using a Learning Game to Reinforce Sales Competencies

Karl Kapp & Deborah Denure - 1:15 PM - 2:15 PM Thursday, November 17

An in depth case study of an innovative learning game, this session should provide plenty of practical advice on creating a game as well as the results of game based learning in the real world.

Go Viral! Activating Everyday Knowledge-sharing Behaviors—at Work

JD Dillon - 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM Friday, November 18

Social learning and knowledge sharing are popular topics this year. JD Dillon runs this session that will help L&D professionals shape the social learning strategy of their organisations.

Communities of Practice: A Cornerstone of Social Learning

Jane Bozarth - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Wednesday, November 16

Learn all about communities of practice and how to encourage them within your organisation from expert in the field Jane Bozarth.

Watch the trailer for this session here.

From Content Creation to Content Curation: An Emerging Critical Role

Marc Rosenberg - 1:15 PM - 2:15 PM Wednesday, November 16

Curating learning content is becoming more important, this session promises to give novice to advanced L&D team members an insight into this more and more important skill.

We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas in November.

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