You may have heard that it is good to become a “T-shaped” professional. That’s someone who has expert knowledge that is both broad and deep, not a mile-wide trickle that’s three inches deep, but a tsunami of expertise. DevLearn is an event where you can start adding to what you know, can do, and aspire to master. Meet T-shaped professionals as you increase your own capabilities!
The challenge at DevLearn is the pace of the conference and the number of choices. Learning Guild conference events are programmed by designers who like to create a package of content that should keep you so busy that at the end of the day you will have no trouble sleeping, except for the excitement of what you experienced and the anticipation of the next day.
As the professions within learning and development become more complex between now and 2027, organizations will increasingly value people with agile collaboration skills. Those people are the T-shaped professionals. One of the best ways to develop those skills is to hang out and interact with others who can help you expand the breadth and depth of your own skill set, and to share your own skills and knowledge with others. That would be a great description of what goes on at DevLearn.
Here is a collection of DevLearn participation maximization ideas curated by a Guild Master (me) who began attending live and virtual Learning Guild Conferences in 2002. Study the DevLearn program guide online. Make a plan to attend activities and events that address the areas of practice of most interest to you. Start making that plan now to see and experience the breadth and depth of DevLearn. Look for activities that will increase your knowledge of instructional resources and the software used to create effective, modern online learning activities. By engaging in these activities during concurrent sessions at the conference and the breaks between sessions, you can maximize your learning experience and stay current in the ever-evolving field of instructional design.
- Participate in Morning Buzz sessions: Morning Buzz sessions are small, informal discussions on a variety of professional and technical topics. These sessions provide a more interactive and focused environment for learning and sharing knowledge. Each session is facilitated by an expert who not only has deep personal knowledge on the topic but also a lot of enthusiasm about it and a strong drive to share the knowledge. Start each day of the conference with a Morning Buzz!
- Attend vendor demos: Take advantage of the downtime between sessions to visit vendor booths and to attend software demos and mini-workshops related to instructional design tools and eLearning platforms. This will give you insights into the latest features and innovations in the industry. Each day during the Expo there are interesting and valuable presentations by vendors in the Expo Hall. Don't hesitate to ask vendors specific questions about their products and how they can address your instructional design needs. This can help you assess whether their solutions align with your goals.
- Network with peers: DevLearn is a prime opportunity to connect with fellow instructional designers and managers. Use this time to exchange ideas, best practices, and experiences with others in your field. You can gain valuable insights and build professional relationships. Prepare ahead of the conference by thinking of developer challenges that keep you awake at night, or ones that you have at work but don’t know how to resolve.
- Explore the Expo Hall: Wander through the Expo Hall to discover new tools, resources, and technologies that can enhance your instructional design projects. Many vendors offer hands-on experiences and opportunities to ask questions. Collect product information (or links to it online). Gather brochures, flyers, and product documentation from vendors that catch your interest. This material will serve as a valuable resource when you're evaluating software options after the conference.
- Review session materials: Take some time to review the materials and your notes from the sessions you've attended. This can help you consolidate your learning and identify key takeaways that you can apply to your work.
- Reflect and plan: Use downtime to reflect on the insights and ideas you've gained during the conference. Consider how you can implement new strategies, technologies, or design principles in your instructional design projects. Create a plan for post-conference implementation.
- Find and join online communities: Explore online instructional design communities and discussion forums. Join relevant groups on social media platforms or visit instructional design blogs and websites to stay updated on the latest trends, tools, and resources in the field.
- Network with other designers: Strike up conversations with fellow instructional designers. Share your experiences and ask about the tools and software they find most effective for their projects. This informal networking can lead to valuable insights.
- Explore emerging technologies: Keep an eye out for vendors showcasing emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), or artificial intelligence (AI) in instructional design. Understanding these cutting-edge tools can help you stay ahead in your field.
By actively engaging in these activities during DevLearn, you can expand your knowledge of instructional design software and stay informed about the latest trends and technologies in our field.