Friday, November 9, 2007

What did I get out of DevLearn?

Going into DevLearn I was a little unsure of what to expect considering it was my first conference like this. I was hoping to get lucky and find some miracle idea or resource that will make it easy for me to implement eLearning at a minimal cost. Well, I didn’t come back with any miracle ideas or resources but I did come back with a lot of gems that if I follow through on will easily earn %100 ROI on the $1000 investment.

The biggest benefit of the conference was talking to other attendees. The conversations at the breakfast table and with neighbors in workshops were invaluable. Everyone was extremely open to share their experiences and ideas. One of the presenters is going as far as emailing us flash files she used in a course so that we can re use them. Hindsight being 20/20 I wish that I had looked into the “Breakfast Bytes” so that I would have had more of an opportunity to share ideas and experiences with people. Through conversations with a variety of people I realized how big of an opportunity we are not taking advantage of. I was already sold on eLearning but talking with people made me feel stupid for not making more of an effort to getting this implemented years ago. I am now even more determined and committed to implementing eLearning in stages over the next couple of years.

I wish I could have gotten more value out of the workshops. eLearning 2.0, and Opportunities for Performance Support which I wrote about in previous posts were awesome. These workshops got me fired up to get back to work and start working on all of my ideas. However, the other workshops I attended were not as effective and a couple of them proved to be excruciating. It was easy to see that many of the speakers had a lot of experience behind the curtain but not in front of an audience. I think that I could have gotten more out of the workshops if I had made better selections. It appeared as if the workshop descriptions were written long before the workshops were designed. In a couple of workshops I was completely surprised about the content after selecting it based on the description. The most effective workshops were those that facilitated discussion among the group and I wish there was more of that. I got my best ideas from other people in the audience but the speaker was too busy lecturing to provide the opportunity for us to share ideas.

Overall I would say I got my money’s worth because of the ideas and experiences that other attendees shared with me in addition to the better workshops. eLearning 2.0, and opportunities for performance support were great and I hope that other presenters can use them as a model for future events. I can’t say for sure that I will attend this conference again but I am glad I went and think it was worth the money.

2 comments:

Brent Schlenker said...

Hi Joe! Welcome to the blogosphere. You've touched on the key reason why face-2-face conferences are still valuable in this digital age. The real action is happening in the hallway conversations, and at lunch, and dinner, etc.
Now that you're connected to the community you can use your new global colleagues to help continue your discussions. The next time you attend a Guild event, any of us would be happy to help you go through the program and guy you to the best sessions that suit your needs.
One big happy family! Good luck with your Masters program and continuing your education online in the blogosphere.
Cheers!
Brent Schlenker

Joe Deegan said...

Thanks Brent. I appreciate the offer for help.