Megan’s update from the ATD ICE 2016 Conference

It’s the week after the ATD International Conference and Exposition, and the week before the next xAPI Camp and the eLearning Guild’s FocusOn conference. There are just 3 weeks away until Learning DevCamp. That means there’s lots of industry news to catch up on, and lots of conference backchannel watching for those who weren’t able to attend.

One post-conference debrief mentioned “deep confusion and a pause in implementation of xAPI. It seems the effort has to get a higher level of corporate support and shift from a “techie” view to methods of leveraging experience tracking into learning excellence.” In my conference experience, we’re about to step right into that higher level of corporate support. This is where xAPI starts to get exciting. I spent my entire time in Denver talking about practical implementation of xAPI with instructional designers, corporate learning & development teams and at least 4 different LMSes looking to add or integrate learning record stores (LRS) to support xAPI for their clients.

ATD kicked off the conference with a Technology Community session hosted by Justin Brusino and featuring Sharon Boller on gaming, Dan Steer on social learning in formal settings, Glenn Bull on adaptive learning and I covered xAPI. The TED-style talks were followed by a lively Q&A that really spoke to the audience’s readiness to implement far more engaging learning experiences than ever before. (All that was missing was Carla Torgerson on microlearning, but since she drew 400 people to her session, that message clearly got through!) It was a great start to the week.

On Tuesday, we packed a lot into an hour with a concurrent session called “Adventures in xAPI.” The standing-room-only crowd was in for a very quick “what is xAPI?” and then a deeper dive into a “what would you measure that you can’t do with SCORM?” discussion. This piece is really key as the industry moved from a course-based, event-driven learning model to one that takes a more holistic look at how people learn and work. And then … the Adventures! We looked at two case-studies-in-progress, why xAPI is the right solution, and what we’re learning along the way. The Adventures are big projects. They are critical to the clients’ organizational strategies. They cost real money. They can’t break. In most cases, learning & development teams will want to start smaller and cheaper where they can learn. To meet this need, I shared four “Day Hikes,” quick small projects to get your feet wet, including code to get you started. Here are the slides from that session.

In the spirit of community-building, we generated 2 flip charts of useful references and ways to learn more about xAPI. Here they are: