DevLearn 2019: xAPI & Learning Analytics Sessions [Guide]

The DevLearn Conference and Expo is one of the biggest events for the L&D industry. And with so much to experience in just a few days, knowing where to start may seem daunting. That’s why I've compiled a list of recommendations for must-attend sessions focused on xAPI, learning analytics, and more.

Wednesday, Oct. 23


Top Pick: Intro to xAPI: What Do Instructional Designers Need to Know
with Megan Torrance

If I had to pick one person in the world to introduce instructional designers to xAPI, that person is Megan Torrance. Megan and her company, TorranceLearning, have been working with xAPI before it was even called xAPI.

They also run a free, annual course called “xAPI cohort” that does an excellent job of introducing xAPI to instructional designers.

In other words, she’s had a lot of practice and she knows what she’s doing. So, if you haven’t had a chance to hear Megan’s introduction to xAPI, be sure to make this session a priority.

Other Noteworthy Options

  • Prototype to Evaluation: Building Organizational Buy-in for xAPI
    with Andrew McGuire and Ryan Hicks
  • In Search of the Right Learning Record Store
    with Mathias Vermeulen
  • Meaningful Measurement: Getting Greater Value from Learning Analytics
    with Kate Pasterfield


Top Pick: Are They Learning? Using xAPI to Correlate Training Performance
with Anthony Altieri

As the author of the xAPI Foundations course on LinkedIn Learning, Anthony knows his eggs when it comes to xAPI.

This is especially true when it comes to tinkering, experimenting, and building solutions on a limited budget. If that catches your fancy, this session is well worth a look.

That said, knowing Anthony, I imagine this session will lean toward the more technical side. So, if getting into the code is not your bag, one of the other sessions below might be a better fit.

Other Noteworthy Options:

  • The Competency-Based Workplace
    with Judy Katz and Robby Robson
  • BYOD: Building an xAPI-enabled Alexa Skill
    with Dominic Calderon and Myra Roldan

Thursday, Oct. 24


Top Picks: I found myself torn on this time slot because there are two great sessions from two pairs of great people.

If you’re attending DevLearn as part of a group, consider splitting up between these sessions and then meet up later so everyone can share what they’ve learned. If you’re on your own, you’ll just have to pick (or flip a coin).

Design for Outcome: Developing an xAPI Data Strategy
with Art Werkenthin and Duncan Welder

Like the other presenters I’ve highlighted, Art and Duncan are also xAPI veterans who really know what they’re talking about from years of practical experience. And developing a data strategy is an important topic you’ll need to consider as you begin to implement xAPI in your organization.

Taking xAPI Profiles Further: Technical Implementation of the Profile Spec
with Rose Benedicks and TJ Seabrooks

Rustici Software CEO TJ Seabrooks has years of experience with xAPI and other learning technologies interoperability specifications. Rose Benedicks, the Strategic Consulting Lead at LEO Learning, regularly consultants on learning measurement strategies.

With their powers combined, they’ll discuss xAPI profiles—which are most likely the next big development in making data interoperability easier. So, if you want to understand what’s coming up next in the world of interoperability, be sure to attend this session.

Another Noteworthy Option:

  • BYOD: Gamify Your Content with xAPI and Unity
    with Aric Mazick and Jose Torres


Top Pick: Improving Employee Retention with xAPI
with Aaron Silvers

I first encountered the unstoppable force that is Aaron Silvers when he was shepherding the development of the xAPI specification prior to its formal release. Aaron has a deep knowledge of xAPI, the problems it was born out of to solve, and learning analytics in general.

This session, which explores a particular case study around nursing, looks really practical and interesting whatever your industry. I expect this session to be well worth your time and attendance.

Another Noteworthy Option:

  • Measure ROI by Collecting, Connecting & Visualizing Data
    with Adam Avramescu and Dave Derington

Friday, Oct. 25


Top Pick: Using xAPI With SCORM in Instructional Design
with Frank Pietrantoni

I always say that it’s not vendors and consultants like me who give the best sessions. It’s the people working on the ground in organizations who are actually “doing the stuff.”

They have the best and most practical insights into what it’s really like working with xAPI and learning analytics.

That’s why I’m so excited that Frank Pietrantoni, Director of the Office of Health Professions Education at Nebraska Medicine, has an opportunity to share his story.

You’ll hear how his team leveraged the combination of SCORM with xAPI to deliver adaptive learning solutions that are fully tracked both to their LMS and their Learning Analytics Platform. If you have any doubt about staying until Friday, I hope this must-attend session makes up your mind!

Other Noteworthy Options:

  • Mission Control: Launching Learning Engineering at Mars, Inc.
    with Rachel Horwitz and Trish Uhl
  • BYOD: Use Power BI to Track, Analyze, and Visualize Training Data for Free
    with Dan Belhassen

Tell us what you think!

What are your suggestions for must-see DevLearn sessions or workshops? Let us know in the comments. And if you're attending DevLearn, be sure to swing by Booth 313 and say hello to some of the Watershed folks. They'd love to chat!

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