DevLearn Day 2

This is actually Day 1 of the conference proper and my themes of the day were engagement and mobility.

The opening keynote speaker Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist and futurologist. His vision is of computer power so cheap and ubiquitous it will be as invisible and taken for granted as electricity.

Within a few years, we will all wear intelligent contact lenses that automatically recognise faces (no more “Have we met before”) while enabling us to browse the web in full 3D while our car drives itself home where our toilet will warn us about upcoming illnesses in time to get them fixed by uor virtual doctor available 24-7 on our interactive wallpaper who will prescribe an intelligent pill or a molecule sized cancer cell zapper. You get the picture!

The main messages for the eLearning community were that learning will be mobile, always on, and that it had better be engaging to grab the attention of the coming generation of learners.

If that session was blue sky, the second Keynote later in the day was distinctly Cloudy. Tom Koulopoulos took us through the evolution of the cloud and what it really means for the future of how we work and how we learn. Here he is on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rytjeppBDKw&feature=related

My first breakout session was led by Rick Raymer, a games designer of 20 years experience, now applying his experience to eLearning. I’m a great believer that we have a lot to learn from gaming, and this session didn’t disappoint. rraymer@nsbionetwork.org

What games do well is Engagement. According to Rick , engagement occurs when the brain is rewarded. The reward itself must evoke emotion – wanting and liking. In a learning context, even something as simple as leaderboards on the LMS can create a sense of reward.

Rick discussed two models of game design, the Linear model, only too familiar to the elearning world and the Hub model. The hub model gives the user much more freedom of choice, while the designer can turn on and off individual spokes, or make then unidirectional or conditional, in order to control the flow through the game / course.  Tremble in fear, Unicorn ID team, the Hub is coming!

There were some interesting insights on optimal flow – at what points do you introduce the Boss battles (better known to us as Tests) and what do you do immediately before and after? 

Lots of practical advice too including a 35 question Concept Evaluation form.

The key words to summarise the session were  –  user choice, measure progress, provide feedback – visually, reward effort – frequently, include risk and chance, surprise and delight.

You can get a lot more of Rick’s ideas  here http://elearnmag.acm.org/featured.cfm?aid=2031772

It was a pretty full day. We also saw the launch of new Articulate StoryLine and a sat in on a thought provoking session by Vito Amato of Cisco on planning for next generation elearning in large organsiations.

Highlight though, as always was the vendor expo. I’ll do a separate blog on that. 

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