DevLearn 2021: Your Guide to xAPI & Learning Analytics Sessions

DevLearn is one of the biggest conferences on the L&D calendar, and after a digital-only conference last year, we’re excited to be attending DevLearn 2021 in person! Sadly, due to COVID-related travel restrictions, I can’t be there in person, but our booth (609) is right next to the main entrance. Bill, Craig, Stephen and Izzy will be there, and we’d love it if you popped by to say hello! We’re also excited to confirm we’ll be presenting two sessions—more on this below!

Alongside the Expo, there are loads of excellent sessions for you to attend. Here are our picks of sessions that cover learning analytics, xAPI, measurement and data.

Wednesday, Oct. 20


Using xAPI with SCORM to Create Adaptive Learning with Rebecca Davenport

If you work with authoring tools like Storyline and want to experiment with xAPI, this will be a really helpful session, even if you’re not a developer. And if you’re experienced with xAPI, Rebecca’s session is a great case study that highlights using xAPI to not only enhance the learner’s experience and save learners' time, but also generate valuable reporting data.


There aren’t sessions directly relating to xAPI data and learning analytics during this time slot, but a few look like they at least touch on data and may be worth a look.

  • When It’s Time to Say Goodbye: Migrating to a New LMS with Vicky Hale and Julia Shawver

    This session promises to include some content on data migration. (If you’re interested in LMS data, be sure to check out our LMS Data Requirements blog post.)
  • Designing and Assessing Learning in VR Using an Evidence-Centered Approach with Kristin Torrence

    If you’re interested in VR, this session will help you design and measure effective virtual training programs.

Thursday, Oct. 21

7:30 am

Data Strategy in L&D with Koreen Pagano

You don’t want to miss this early morning networking discussion! I really appreciate Koreen’s posts on the Degreed blog, and I’m sure that she, along with the other discussion participants, will have plenty of interesting insights to share. So whether you contribute your own tips and experience or just listen to the discussion, I’m expecting this to be a very beneficial session.

10:45 am

A New Architecture for Learning Design: A T-Mobile Case Study with Joe Pulichino

This session describes T-Mobile’s experience designing and implementing a new enterprise-wide learning architecture—including details of their data collection, reporting, and analytics. These kinds of sessions are often extremely helpful to inspire your learning architecture/ecosystem design and illustrate the value of data and analytics.

12:15 pm

5 Ways Learning Analytics Can Transform your Businesswith Watershed's own Bill Conran

Learning analytics has a reputation for being complex and challenging. But what if you ignore the technicalities and look at the stories that data can tell? In this talk, we look at five ways global enterprises used their learning analytics platform to improve, adapt and transform areas of their business in very different circumstances.


Personal Narratives: An Experiential Approach to Effective Data Collection with Danying Chen and Roberto Rojas Alfaro

We’re big fans of quantitative data at Watershed, but qualitative data is equally valuable in explaining and illustrating insights highlighted in the quantitative data. This session promises to explain qualitative data collection approaches, such as shadowing and conversations.

READ MORE: Brinkerhoff’s Success Case Method uses qualitative analysis of cases identified using quantitative data.


If you’ve planned your visit to Madame Tussauds Wax Museum on Thursday afternoon, then reschedule now because there are no fewer than four xAPI and analytics-related sessions in this time slot. Of course, you’ll want to attend at least one, so clear your schedule. The waxwork models can wait–they’re not going anywhere.

The following sessions will benefit the techies amongst you—whether you’re interested in upgrading legacy SCORM content to xAPI and cmi5, or tracking Unity-based games.

  • Mind the Gap: Bridging the SCORM and xAPI Divide With cmi5 with Chris Tompkins and George Vilches
  • Using xAPI to Track Learning Experiences in Unity Games with Art Werkenthin

And if strategy is more of interest than code, these sessions sound really interesting.

  • Create a Data Strategy That Will Highlight Your Impact on Business Outcomes with Vanessa Bragg and Maribeth Pearson, and
  • Why Skills Are the New Currency for L&D with Koreen Pagano

Friday, Oct. 22


Friday morning offers two sessions that might appeal to different audiences.

  • BYOD: xAPI Made Easier with Quick Code Snippets with Jeff Batt

    For the techies, this is a practical workshop that covers incorporating xAPI tracking into authoring tool courses.
  • Impact Matters: Developing a Comprehensive Impact Assessment System with Jen Kruper and Pam Lee

    From a strategy angle, this session covers a process for consistent impact measurement of learning programs in your organization.

5 Steps for Good xAPI Governance with Watershed's own Izzy Lara

As you implement xAPI tracking in your organization, having simple, basic data governance processes can help avoid headaches down the line. This session is based on years of real-world experience working with early adopters of enterprise-wide xAPI implementations and crammed with hot tips and sound advice. This is the top xAPI session you and your team will want to attend! (Check out our xAPI Governance blog series ahead of time.)

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