DevLearn 2014 Wrap Up

At the end of October, the team of instructional designers from Designed:2:Learn traveled to Las Vegas to attend DevLearn 2014. The goal? To identify trends in the world of eLearning and collaborate with designers from around the country.

Here are some quick take-aways from each of our Designed:2:Learn contributors.

Steve Montague

At DevLearn 2014 I focused on Immersive learning and mobile technologies. I was in the pre-conference session entitled “Getting Started with Immersive Learning” taught by Koreen Olbrish Pagano. In this session she helped us take a project we currently are working on and showed us how we could implement immersive learning principles to make it more effective. These processes are outlined in her book Immersive Learning.

On the mobile front, I noticed that others have seen this trend in learning but its implementation is still a point of angst. The consensus I felt coming out of the conference is that mobile, like any other delivery method, should only be used when it makes sense. So, don’t force it as a delivery method.

Kegan Remington

I noticed a clear trend as I interacted with fellow instructional designers at DevLearn 2014: the YouTube age is in full swing. The industry seems to be shifting its focus to video-based instruction to meet the new demands of users. The ubiquity of Internet-connected devices has reached a boiling point, giving almost everyone (regardless of age and socioeconomic status) access to streaming media. These users are also streaming content to their mobile devices and computers at staggering rates. According to YouTube, over 6 billion hours of content is watched globally every month, and over 100 hours of video are uploaded every minute. This is our new digital landscape.

So what does this mean for the learning and training industries? It means incorporating video- based multimedia into learning opportunities is going to gain importance. Learners may even expect this level of multi-modal interaction. We may also see the popularity of Interactive Video take off, as video becomes the backbone of instruction rather than a supplementary tool. If you haven’t already, it’s time to dust of that video editing software! And while you’re at it, take some time to get comfortable with HTML5 for video delivery. HTML5 is here to stay.

Alex Hatcher

A common theme I noticed at DevLearn 2014 was we need to think differently about how we educate and assess learning. We don’t just need learning that tells our learners what we want them to know, we need learning that makes sense for the specific context of our learners. In other words, we should be developing content that doesn’t just meet the needs of our clients or SMEs, we need learning that fits our learners’ needs. The ability to understand our audience and the problems our learnings are intended to solve is crucial.

Our learners do not want to spend a lot of time on training, especially if they’re going to forget most of it in a month. They want their training quick, easy, and available when they need it, not just during a training exercise. Learning is not a one-shot deal. For training and learning, this means we need to provide easy to access “bite-sized” learning opportunities that our learners can return to and use to reinforce their knowledge and apply in relevant scenarios. This can take the form of short videos, infographics, easy reference guides, or references that are easily accessible on the go, such as on a mobile phone or tablet. However, this does not entirely negate the necessity for larger and more in-depth learning. In these cases, we should strive to create immersive learning experiences, in which we challenge the learner to critically apply and engage with the learning material. By doing so our learners can experience and relate their knowledge, rather than being told what they should know, and they can do this in a safe environment.

Audrey Nagel

DevLearn 2014 was my first time attending the conference. I was thrilled to be amongst top instructional designers all coming together with the same purpose: to learn more to succeed in our field. Since this was my first year at the conference, my interest was wide-spread as I wanted to delve into a little bit of everything to get a full feel and understanding for DevLearn and what it was all about.

One of sessions that stood out to me was by Karl Kapp titled “Matching the Right Learning Content with the Right Learning Strategy”. In this session, Karl spoke about four types of content: declarative, conceptual, procedural and problem solving. We went over the different types of strategies to use with each type of content. Below is a table each participant was asked to write down on their own to layout the information.

Type of Content Definition Appropriate Strategy Tell-tale Verbs
Declarative Information that can only be learned through memorization Mnemonics



Elaboration (story-telling)




Conceptual The grouping of ideas or objects having common attributes Metaphor


Concept Map





Procedural Step by step instructions for performing a task Part to whole

Destruct procedure (teach it and have learner put it back together)

Kobayashi Maru (teach the why)




Problem Solving Previously encountered situation that requires previous learned content Multiple, realistic scenarios (case studies)

Problem based learning experiences

Third person thinkers




As a novice instructional designer, this session was incredibly beneficial with information to help me tackle new projects with a better idea of what direction to go depending on the content to be delivered.

This is just a quick look at some of the things I learned while attending DevLearn 2014. While I took a lot of new information away from this conference, the one thing I gained the most is motivation. I feel adequate enough to stand side by side with the other instructional designers at the conference, but knowing where I could be in even a year from now is a great feeling and one I couldn’t have obtained without this experience.

Savannah Barr

One major trend that I noticed at DevLearn 2014 is the simple implementation of motion graphics in trainings. When I use that term, I am referring to very small, simple moving elements of a training that capture a user’s attention, but don’t distract them from the content. This trend was something that I was drawn to as an attendee in several sessions, and knew immediately that it was captivating and could be easily implemented into some of our trainings.

By using small movements (imagine a title that comes in from the left before it stops in the middle of the page) paired with thorough content, the user has a new, different, and exciting experience with the training or eLearning. One very important thing that I learned from watching these trainings and presentations is that a little bit of interactivity and movement goes a long way. It’s important that, as an eLearning developer, you find the fine line between piquing the interest of your user and overwhelming them.

Since returning to the office, I have implemented these simple movements and interactions in a few trainings using tried and true design principles. Be on the lookout for a fun, interactive post on the topic in the near future!

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