DevLearn or is there a better industry conference?

I know...this post isn't about building a course. But, I need some advice from my fellow learning developers about the best learning industry conference.  I have approval to spend the money to go to DevLearn 2015 in Las Vegas.  Before I pay today to get the early discount, I want to know if this is the best of the best and is it truly worth the almost $2500 to attend.

10 Replies
Chris Perez

DevLearn is the best, but I've always found it a bit lacking in practical, hands-on discussion. For me, it's always been more focused on theory and concepts (the sessions). In fact, they told me as much when I (and a co-worker) submitted session ideas about some actual practical use writing creatively for your course and creating storyboards, as well as creating graphics and performing various types of animations.

The keynote speeches have always been pretty fantastic, but the lack of practical how-to content keeps me from getting too excited about going every year unless there is a fantastic keynote speaker. Sometimes that alone is worth the price of admission and I've learned more from those than all other sessions combined.

Marty King

Thanks Chris.  That's why I asked this question.  There are many of these events and I can't attend them all. Since I've never attended any such event I'm not sure what my expectations are.  However, hands on stuff just might be important. Now that I'm a manager, I'm also looking for where the industry is going in terms of technology and design.  I'm also looking for a new LMS/LCMS or learning about newer technology that may supersede this technology. I see that DevLearn has extended their early enrollment discount to August 14th allowing me more time to decide.

David Kelly

Hi Marty-

Up front disclosure: I'm the guy that programs DevLearn and other eLearning Guild events. :-)

While I'd love to just say "Yep. DevLearn is the conference you want to go to", the truth is it's not that simple.  I love to hear people say DevLearn is the best, and tend to agree with that myself, but what makes something "the best" is very personal; what's best for me does not necessarily equate to what's best for someone else.

So I'll add some comments to help as best I can.

Part of the context that matters is what you're hoping to gain. Your presence here in the Articulate community leads me to assume you're a designer/developer of elearning content, and a separate comment I see from you also spoke to management responsibilities. 

While many conferences explore the world of elearning, most do so as a subset of a much larger umbrella. If you're looking to spend your money solely immersing yourself in the world of elearning, there are a few events to watch. I can tell you about ours in detail, but I'd be remiss if I didn't acknowledge there being a few others that might match your goals.

Side suggestion: A separate thread asking a simple question like "Which conferences do you attend and why?" might put some other conferences - including smaller, local, events - on your radar.

So on to my suggestions. DevLearn does seem like the event for you. I'm basing this on the limited context of your comments in this thread. Your expressed needs are mostly future-based. Many events talk about how to use today's technologies to enhance learning. Few are hosting conversations to explore, and help shape, what's next. That's what our mission is for DevLearn: Shaping what's next. The program explores innovative uses of today's technologies while showcasing and forming discussions around the technologies and opportunities for tomorrow.

Contrast that with something like our Learning Solutions Conference and Expo, held in Orlando next March. That conference focuses on practical tech-based solutions that are proven to work. It's a conference where attendees learn and develop skills that can be used right away to enhance their current practices.

Both conferences are great, but what makes then *right* for an individual depends on context. That's why it's good to find out as much as you can about an event before making your registration decision.

So to recap, it does sound like DevLearn may be right for you. I'm sorry I didn't see this thread until after the Super-Early Discount expired this past Friday, but if you're still interested in taking advantage of it, feel free to reach out to me. I know a guy. :-)

If you'd like to have a conversation to talk about events in deeper context, let me know. I'm always happy to talk about events to help people make the right decision for their unique needs.

Take care - David


Marty King

Thanks David. I appreciate the clarification you made.  Yes, I'm a designer as well as a manager. I currently do both. So, I am interested in skill development opportunities for myself and my team as well as the "future" of learning and the industry.  I'm interested in the "I know a guy" offer. How do I contact you directly?

Ashley Schwartau

We're starting to look at sending 1 or 2 team members to an elearning conference in 2016, and we're leaning towards either DevLearn or Learning Solutions Conference and Expo. All of our clients are corporate/government/financial, i.e. we develop training for organizations and not for academic or students. Which conference do you think would suit us better? Personally, I think the one in Orlando seems more our speed and offers a lot of practical take away skills. These conferences are expensive and I know our boss will want to know about the ROI. Any of you who have attended feel like you really came away with a lot of new ideas and know-how? Any other thoughts? Thanks, guys! :)