Can you believe it’s October already? While the warm sun and beach trips of summer are now just a memory—at least in the United States—we still have pumpkin spice, apple picking, and DevLearn 2022 to look forward to! (We’ll be at Booth 800, so come by and say hello!)
And for this year’s DevLearn session guide, we’ve switched things up by asking not one but two of our data engineers—Peter Guenther and Ismael “Izzy” Lara—to share their thoughts about which xAPI and learning analytics sessions to attend.
DevLearn 2022 will be held in Las Vegas from Oct. 26–28.
Our Top xAPI and Learning Analytics Picks
With a wide selection of helpful, interesting sessions, knowing which ones to attend might seem overwhelming. So we’ve compiled a list of DevLearn sessions that caught our eye.
Must-Have Skills & Roles in a Learning Analytics Team
Bill Conran • Wednesday, Oct. 26 • 1:15 pm
Izzy: Too often, the task of collecting and analyzing learning data falls on instructional designers. I remember working in some organizations where we collected learning data in large, colorful, yet unmanageable spreadsheets to track compliance training completion.
But are instructional designers the only ones who should be involved in this process? Find out this answer and more when Watershed’s own Bill Conran discusses what roles and skills are critical for a successful learning analytics team.
Building Better VR Solutions with Learning Engineering Practices
Kristin Torrence • Thursday, Oct. 27 • 10:45 am
Peter: Kristin has participated in the xAPI Cohort and its conference, the xAPI Party, multiple times now. When I went to her session at the xAPI Party several years ago, I was really impressed with the theoretical underpinning she brought to game- and simulation-based learning and assessment, so I’m eager to hear her speak again.
The kind of work she’s doing lends itself really well to xAPI and analytics because she looks at how to derive proof of learning from solid statistical examination of actions in games and VR simulations.
The Intersection Between Learning, Performance & Optimization
Nichole Vasser • Wednesday, Oct. 26 • 1:15 pm
Peter: Learning within the enterprise seeks to solve real business problems, but how do you identify these challenges and show that you’re meeting the need? This session presents a framework that can help with this process, using data to measure and assess performance for excellent training and other solutions.
Getting Buy-In for xAPI and Learning Analytics
Take a broader look at learning analytics and understand how to make a business case for xAPI with these sessions.
Creating a Plan for your Next Generation Learning Ecosystem
Chad Udell • Wednesday, Oct. 26 • 3:00 pm
Izzy: Most DevLearn sessions tend to be tightly focused on a specific technology or platform. And as much as I enjoy getting into the nitty-gritty details, it’s also nice to take a step back and reflect on training and learning analytics as a whole. This session along with the next one promise to do just that.
Rolling out an entire learning ecosystem takes a lot of effort and buy-in from many different stakeholders. So, how do you plan for it? What components make the most sense to include? This session promises to discuss what a learning ecosystem offers, what key elements need to be in place, and how to, ultimately, plan for a learning ecosystem rollout at your organization.
Learning Analytics: From Inception to Maturity
Ben Betts • Wednesday, Oct. 26 • 1:15 pm
Izzy: Many organizations struggle with either not collecting enough data about learning, not organizing that data, or not using the data strategically to inform business decisions. So, where are you in this learning analytics journey? In this session, Ben Betts will help you understand where you currently are in your learning analytics journey and how to get to the next level.
Build a Business Case for xAPI
Duncan Welder (hosted by Megan Torrance) • Thursday, Oct. 27 • 10:45 am
Peter: Want to implement xAPI, but not sure how to get the stakeholder buy-in you need to make it happen? Join Megan Torrence and Duncan Welder as they discuss how you can bring xAPI into your organization through a structured business initiative.
Learning Guild Research Trends 2022
Megan Torrence, Jane Bozarth & Hadiya Nuriddin • Thursday, Oct. 27 • 3:00 pm
Peter: Talking about xAPI and its current role in L&D in general, this session will provide a number of insights. Megan Torrence recently wrote a new version of The Learning Guild’s “State of xAPI Adoption” report—and, in this session, she’ll walk us through her findings.
Jane Bozarth will also discuss the results of the Guild’s recent LMS survey; both presentations will give attendees a lot to compare and share with their organizations on learning and analytics. And as a bonus, the session also includes Hadiya Nuriddin discussing her recent research on storytelling and narrative within learning and development.
Learning vs. Skill Development: The Evolution of L&D
Koreen Pagano • Wednesday, Oct. 26 • 10:45 am
Peter: While the session doesn’t specifically mention xAPI, it will delve into data and measurement and help attendees look at their data strategy for skill-building. Koreen contributed some great posts on the Degreed blog during her time there, so I’m excited to hear what she has to offer about data and measurement here.
xAPI Sessions for All Skill Levels
Regardless of someone’s xAPI skill level, DevLearn offers sessions to accommodate everyone’s experience.
Implementing xAPI: A Case Study for Beginners
Sarah Mercier • Thursday, Oct. 27 • 1:15 pm
Izzy: For those new to xAPI, it can seem like you need a lot of technical know-how to understand it—let alone implement it within your organization. Not so fast, says Sarah Mercier! In this session, she walks through a beginner’s case study with a global organization with limited in-house technical experience that successfully implemented xAPI.
No Code xAPI Implementation
Jeff Batt • Thursday, Oct. 27 • 3:00 pm
Izzy: Did you know you could implement xAPI without writing a single line of code? Yep, it’s entirely possible. In this session with Jeff Batt, you will explore ways to send xAPI without writing a single line of code. Starting with basic tracking through Articulate Storyline and Adobe Captivate and then moving to other data sources, you’ll see how easy it can be to start using xAPI.
Storing and Retrieving xAPI Data across SCORM Content
Stephen Kalnoske • Wednesday, Oct. 26 • 10:45 am
Izzy: Most people new to xAPI consider it a success if they can send data to a Learning Record Store (LRS). But what if you could also query and retrieve data from the LRS? In this more advanced session, Stephen will demonstrate how to store learner preference—such as language, learning style, or selected role to an LRS—and then retrieve it later for various purposes, such as branching content or displaying an in-course leaderboard.
Other Recommendations: Data, Design & Development
With so many great sessions to choose from, sticking to ones focused on xAPI and learning analytics was tough. So we’ve included a few options that we think you’d enjoy as much as we would.
How to Use Small Data to Make Big Changes
Renee Boydo • Friday, Oct. 28 • 8:30 am
Izzy: Once you finally get all your L&D data into a single place, what do you do with it? Without knowing where to begin, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of data and eventually get discouraged.
Renee suggests that the key may be starting small with specific key performance indicators (KPIs). You will dive deep into a case study with First Student, who started small in their journey with Big Data and shifted the entire culture of their organization in the process.
Agile in the World of ADDIE: A PM’s Guide to Development
Maci Devaney • Thursday, Oct. 27 • 1:15 pm
Izzy: This session is a bit different from my prior recommendations. Still, if there’s anything we have learned from the pandemic and hybrid work, it’s that anyone managing a project (even if you’re not a project manager) needs to remain flexible. For instance, you may get sick or need to take a personal day. As a result, timelines are constantly in flux.
This is where Agile methodologies can help. During this session, you’ll learn how taking an agile approach, even when using a more structured project management strategy such as the ADDIE model, can help you manage your project successfully. You’ll also learn about various open-source and accessible tools to help you in this process.
Content Knowledge or Deduction Skills: Creating Measurable Assessments
Cara North • Wednesday, Oct. 26 • 1:15 pm
Peter: When it comes to crafting assessments, Cara North really knows her stuff and has been sharing it for several years now. And since your xAPI data is only valuable if it’s coming from sound learning activities, this is a great session for learning to build good assessments connected to learning objectives. You’ll also discover what the learner truly needs through task analysis.
Battleground xAPI: Winners’ Showcase
Mark Britz • Friday, Oct. 28 • 8:30 am
Peter: This year, The Learning Guild is hosting a new xAPI User Conference on Tuesday, Oct. 25 before the main conference starts. (Shameless plug: I’ll be speaking there on What Is xAPI? during the 9:20 am time slot.)
As part of this event, six teams will present their recent xAPI projects to a panel of judges, who will select three groups to share their projects during the Winners’ Showcase on Friday morning. This will be an excellent opportunity to see some real-world xAPI implementations!
Morning Buzz Sessions
Peter & Izzy: For the early risers, the Guild invites conference speakers to host Morning Buzz discussion sessions starting at 7:30 am. These aren’t conference presentations but casual discussions where you can meet with peers on shared interests. Here are the talks that caught our eyes:
|Thursday 10/27||7:30 am||Elevating xAPI||Sara Mercier|
|Thursday 10/27||7:30 am||How AI will and won’t impact learning||Jeremy Roberts|
|Friday 10/28||7:30 am||Measurement and Evaluation Techniques||Tim Slade|
Don’t Forget to Say Hello!
Let us know how you like our recommendations. Swing by to see the Watershed team at Booth 800 and take a selfie with Bill and the team. We’ll have our favorite free resources collated online to help you get started with learning analytics and be on hand to answer all your questions and demo the latest Watershed features.
About the authors
Ismael (a.k.a. “Izzy”) Lara, a Data Engineer at Watershed, has experience not only as an instructor, but also an instructional designer working with faculty to design courses that best enhance the student learning experience. Previously, he has supported the implementation of a learning ecosystem to support K-12 teachers’ professional development and currently advocates for xAPI amongst the L&D community.
Peter Guenther is a Data Engineer at Watershed and has a broad background in software development and education. He’s passionate about learning data and analytics, leveraging technologies to make learning more efficient and effective, crafting immersive and inspiring experiences (including games), and helping others learn to code.
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