Tuesday, June 15, 2010

#IeL2010 Through the Eyes of a Newcomer

Michael is brand new to eLearning. He’s a web developer by background and took the job as a way to apply his web skills. I was curious to get his take on the conference, since he doesn’t have the baggage many of us do when attending these things. His writeup is below:

As a newbie to the eLearning field and someone who comes from a web design/web development background, I enjoyed the 6th annual symposium overall. On Day 1, I attended the all day Game Design Workshop where I thoroughly enjoyed Brenda Brathwait as the speaker. Although I'm sure my team's game submission for the game jam came in last place, it did give me a glimpse into the difficulty of creating a good game design.

Day 2 & 3 were filled with key note and session speakers, some who referenced names of authors and researchers which I would scribble in my notes because I'd never hear of them before. Others focused on distilling down complex topics or key insights on current trends in eLearning which were provided in an engaging presentation with real world examples(I found these the most valuable sessions).

On a personal level and as a avid gamer in the early 90s, I really enjoyed John Romero's key note.

Like a new kid at a new school, I sat and observed a bit more than those who have been in the field for years. I look forward to next year's 7th annual symposium and hope to engage more people, especially those speakers whose presentations resonated with me.

A few further observations since I cornered him in the office and asked a whole bunch of questions

- The sessions generally assumed a certain level of Instructional Design knowledge and background. He tried to steer clear of sessions that seemed “advanced”.

- His favorite session: Brent Schlenker’s Content is Queen / Context is King.
+ He loved his presentation and approach. Michael also admitted he is a sucker for multimedia in presentations, especially Brent’s use of music.
+ Lots of philosophical food for thought – since he has always heard Content is king.
+ Michael also found Brent’s message very simple, elegant and effective.

- Michael also got a lot out of Mark Oehlert’s Social Media Bootcamp. These sessions connected to his prior experience as a web developer in ways that the other sessions didn’t. Especially the discussion of Kongregate and user interfaces.
+ The next week, we dug around Kongregate and found Toss the Turtle. If your favorite part of Circus Atari was when the little stick figures fell off the seesaw, this game is for you.

- In comparison to Mark and Brent’s sessions, a few of the sessions he attended seemed unfocussed. Interestingly, to Michael, the more unfocused sessions correlated with the amount of text on the slides. Hmmmm…..

- During John Romano’s keynote, someone asked “How does your talk link to education?” John mentioned a Learning Project and asked back “Why aren’t there more cool educational games?” Michael wondered the same thing. With the last 3 game developer keynotes, I am hearing “the education space is really exciting right now”. I am personally curious to see how this plays out over the next few years.

Michael tells me he got a lot out of the conference. From his obvious excitement talking about it, I know he’s not blowing smoke when he says that. Thanks to my eLearning network for making him feel so welcome. Now let’s not scare him off ;)

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