Earlier this month I headed over to the US to attend my first DevLearn conference before spending some time in San Francisco and Silicon Valley meeting with a number of learning technology businesses. I was curious to see what the US was doing around a number of emerging digital learning trends, in particular Experience API (xAPI), which saw me spend my first day of DevLearn at an xAPI boot camp. While xAPI is still very much on the fringe in Australia, it has been embraced in the US as the key to harnessing data to drive the connection between improvements in learning design and performance outcomes. Although the approach to the collection of data using xAPI is advancing, the practical implication and the case studies are still at a fairly embryonic stage (see tryxapi.com for some examples). It did, however, give me confidence to continue with an R&D project at DeakinPrime – developing an innovative smart (personalised for the learner) cloud learning app that automates the provision of appropriate learning and that is designed and driven by data analytics (using the Experience API). Watch this space…
Another significant focus was around ‘learning ecosystems’ – recognising that learning exists in a whole range of places, both inside and outside organisations, and figuring out how to elegantly bring those systems and sources together to support individuals in finding the learning resource they need, when they need it. Again, xAPI has a role to play here, in providing insight into understanding how people are engaging or sourcing their learning and how we can better support and share that with others in the organisation.
I was also pleased to see and hear examples from leading learning businesses that use design thinking and agile development as the preferred methodologies for the design and management of blended learning programs. This is a path DeakinPrime has been on during 2015 and we are seeing the benefits through improvements in program design outcomes. One of the highlights of my trip was spending an afternoon at Stanford’s d.school and experiencing where the design thinking magic happens.
I finished my trip with a tour of Lynda.com’s production facility at their head office in Santa Barbara. This was another highlight – the commitment and investment in excellence was inspiring and resonated in my discussions with people working at Lynda.com and their passion for what they do. A big thanks to my guide Andrew.
It was a great experience and I am happy to discuss and share (including photos!) with anyone who is interested in hearing more.