As we returned from London, we reflected on the conference, the people we met, and the lessons we learned. There were many talented speakers who showed up to share their industry knowledge and professionals in the space voicing their thoughts on pertinent industry topics.
We left with many takeaways, but the 3 we want to highlight deal with:
- The response to the Department of Defense Instruction
- xAPI being everything and nothing
- The importance of a Design Thinking strategy
The Department of Defense Instruction on xAPI is Real, and Resonating
We were fortunate enough to have a completely packed, and overflowing audience for our floor session on Learning Analytics - The Crawl, Walk, Run Methodology. David Keezel did a great job presenting (even amongst some comical technical difficulties).
At the start of this presentation we included a brief overview of the Department of Defense instruction that was announced last year (2017). This DoDI was incredibly important for a variety of reasons. It recommends the use of xAPI within the Department of Defense in all training initiatives moving forward. This further validates the value of the xAPI specification as an interoperable experience for performance tracking, learning analytics, or data integration with multiple applications or systems.
The release of this DoDI is also a hallmark moment in the history and the future of learning analytics and measurement within L&D. What do we mean by this? In the early 2000’s, a similar DoDI was released recommending the use of SCORM for all future training initiatives within the DoD. Within a few years of this release, we not only saw SCORM widely adopted within the military, but also within the commercial realm. History is repeating itself with the release of this new instruction for xAPI.
Some of you visited our booth after the session to discuss the DoDI presentation. Whenever we speak about this announcement, it clearly resonates - and not just with the government. The commercial space also keeps an eye on xAPI, and the movement within the commercial and enterprise L&D space is growing.
It’s Not About xAPI and Never Will Be
xAPI isn’t fairy dust! Our message at LTUK was clear. Don’t just sprinkle it onto your learning and expect data to magically fulfil your every need. Gaining meaningful learning analytics has everything and nothing to do with xAPI. If you have a clear goal within your L&D strategy and know what “success” might look like if you implement learning analytics, then we believe xAPI is the best way to get there. If you don’t know what you’re trying to do, or learning analytics isn’t a part of your L&D function, then xAPI will probably mean nothing to you.
If you’re in the camp of wanting to gain learning metrics within your organization, there are several options available to you. As you search for the appropriate solution, you will find that many of these other ways are proprietary and can’t offer the same benefits that xAPI does. xAPI is the means to an end, and we’ve proven this over and over again. The key message clients tell us is this: solving L&D measurement problems has never been about xAPI. It’s about having the ability to implement this specification with a trusted technology partner and never have to worry about siloed systems or data “playing nice” ever again. We deal with the technical details and getting data you need, while you get to enjoy having a future-proofed way of getting data and learning analytics from anything digital.
Design Thinking is Critical to Create Measurable Outcomes
Many of you who visited us, confided that in your organizations L&D problems simply get a band-aid before implementing the correct solution. Often the root of a problem is never understood, let alone addressed. This isn’t exclusive to LTUK attendees - you’ve told us the same at other conferences. Planning for the future, and for measurable success, is key to getting from your current state, to your ideal state. Many L&D functions struggle with this due to lack of data and understanding what is and isn’t working.
We exhibited at LTUK with Ivan Kennes from DIGIRAMIS Solutions - a UK-based coaching and consulting practice. Ivan provides strategic advice and implementation to organizations that need to see their talent & learning management strategy deliver measurable outcomes.
Ivan is a Design Thinking practitioner in talent development and assessment solutions who uses xAPI technology and People Analytics to measure the outcomes of his strategic business advice and implementation services to organizations.
Ivan worked for 12 years in the CBT (computer-based testing) & e-Assessment industry. He’s matched up hundreds of international organizations, college readiness programs and workforce development initiatives to the standardized testing solutions and certification delivery programs that met their needs, such as providing them with a competitive edge in tenders, increase the value of their products and create recognized accreditation programs.
Ivan implements and teaches a Design Thinking methodology throughout his work to secure successful outcomes for his customers.
Simply put, here’s how the Design Thinking process works:
- Understand the problems that your business is trying to solve.
- Gain the information that you need to make better decisions.
- Craft and tailor solutions for the outcomes you need.
This Design Thinking approach applies to not just thinking about the design and execution of assessments and training, it also works if you’re trying to implement xAPI and learning analytics. Using this methodological approach helps to ensure success and simplicity throughout the process.
All in all, the conference was a hit and we hope everyone else had success as well whether you were exhibiting or attending! We’d love to hear your favorite part of the conference in the comments below.