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Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2013: Expanding Your Horizons

by Bill Brandon

February 11, 2013


by Bill Brandon

February 11, 2013

“You may be looking for opportunities to network and for ideas to inspire you. You may need answers to critical questions about tools and services. Perhaps you are looking for a way to quickly increase your skills and knowledge across the board. You are going to find all of these in one place this spring: Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2013.”

Does anyone in the business of creating outstanding technology-supported content for training, education, and performance support ever feel that they themselves have all of the technical skills and know-how they will ever need? Or all the professional connections they can use? Or all the good ideas they can think of for improving their content, product, or service?

For the last 12 years, The eLearning Guild’s conferences have helped thousands of professionals fill in deficits in skills and knowledge, keep up with the frantic pace of change in this business, make vital connections, and capture great ideas they can use. Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2013 continues this record, and even enlarges on it.

David Holcombe, president and CEO of The eLearning Guild, said, “Many organizations don’t operate on the bleeding edge of new technologies. Rather, they focus on identifying and implementing proven solutions for their training and development programs. That’s what Learning Solutions 2013 is all about … providing a showcase of tried-and-true learning-technology-based solutions that you can put to work immediately and with confidence of success. If you are looking for proven solutions … you don’t want to miss this event!”

This one’s for you!

The Learning Solutions Conference & Expo has always had a broad appeal, and there is a reason for that. Year after year, Learning Solutions Conference & Expo consistently offers:

  • Skills and knowledge critical to your success
  • Expert answers to your questions
  • Ideas you can use
  • Networking that builds your professional resources

The audience

So who comes to the Learning Solutions Conference (Figure 1)? The easy answer is “everybody,” but let’s break that down a little, to see where this conference lines up with your particular situation.

Figure 1: Part of the audience waiting for the start of the 2012 opening general session—diverse and ready to learn!

To date, thousands of professionals and practitioners have come to the Learning Solutions Conference. They come from all over the world, from private enterprise, non-profits, government, military services, and education. Some of the vertical industries include big pharma, healthcare, legal, banking and financial services, and defense, but there are just as many attendees from companies that don’t fall easily into traditional verticals. In their work, they lead and participate in the design, development, and management of technology-supported learning, performance support, and related disciplines such as talent management.

  • Experience: Most attendees have experience in training and education. Some have no experience in technology-supported learning and performance, while others have been in the field for decades. Others have expertise in technology but not in instructional design.
  • Work settings: There are professionals and practitioners among the attendees who are part of teams large and small, in settings that include corporate enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, academic institutions, small businesses, and independent contracting.
  • Supporting roles: Some are vendors who provide the tools and systems that support design, development, and management of technology-supported learning, performance support, and related disciplines, and some are researchers building the base of knowledge that all in this field rely on.
  • Reasons for attending: Some are exploring this technology for the first time, looking for a way forward; some are well versed in the technology, looking for the latest information, tools, and ideas.
  • Employment focus: Some attendees are employers looking for new talent, and others are the talent, looking for a new venue.

There is even more evidence of the influential nature of the conference and those attending: Another international standards organization is joining us this year—AICC (Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee) is participating in Tin Can Alley with ADL.

Here’s how the offerings in those four areas of appeal—skills and knowledge, expert answers, ideas, and networking—shape up at this year’s conference.

Skills and knowledge

The Learning Solutions Conference program has as its primary goal providing you with expert presentations that will build your skills in all areas of your practice and maximize your performance with learning technologies.

The heart of the conference offering consists of certificate programs and concurrent sessions (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Sessions at Learning Solutions are focused and intense, and many are "hands-on" skill builders

Certificate programs

These optional one-day certificate programs take place on Monday and Tuesday, March 11 and 12, and require separate registration to attend. They address skills and knowledge, including general instructional design, game development, visual design, brain research, video production, performance support, project management, and specific tools such as Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline.

Concurrent sessions

Learning Solutions Conference & Expo offers you an unparalleled opportunity to develop and hone your skills and knowledge as an eLearning professional. This year’s program features more than 100 concurrent sessions covering fundamentals, how-tos, case studies, and emerging trends in the use of learning technologies to maximize performance. Concurrent sessions are organized into three primary focus areas (management, design, and development) designed to support your entire learning team.

Answers to your questions

The Expo, Expo+, Learning Stages, and Tin Can Alley offer an open experience for participants who seek informal presentations, networking, and opportunity for free-flowing discussion.

Expo and Expo+

The Expo at Learning Solutions offers an outstanding opportunity to explore a highly focused collection of key suppliers who offer leading learning technologies, tools, products, and services (Figure 3). The Expo will be open throughout the day on Wednesday and Thursday to maximize your opportunity to visit, to talk, and to try out what the vendors have to offer.

Figure 3: The Expo stays busy much of the day, and the reception on Wednesday afternoon is always a popular event

If you just want to explore what you can do with eLearning, get the Expo+ registration (Figure 4). The Expo+ registration admits you to the Expo, the Expo Welcome Reception, the presentations and panels on three Learning Stages, SolutionFest, and Tin Can Alley.

Figure 4: An Expo+ pass is the right ticket for those who want to take advantage of numerous learning and networking opportunities in the exposition venue, SolutionFest, and Tin Can Alley without a full registration

Learning Stages

Three educational Learning Stages offer a wide range of 45-minute presentations, discussions, and demonstrations on the best practices, hottest topics, and newest ideas in learning, plus networking opportunities (Figure 5).

Figure 5: The Learning Stages provide an open environment for informal presentations, discussions, and networking.

Innovation Showcase 

At this stage, you’ll learn about the newest and most cutting-edge topics in learning and meet the thought leaders who are pushing our industry forward. Hosted by Stevie Rocco, Penn State University.

Technology Solutions 

This stage offers a wide range of proven learning tools and technologies. Discuss how you can incorporate these solutions into your learning initiatives. Hosted by Joseph Ganci, Learning Solutions Magazine’s technology reviewer.

Mobile Learning 

At this stage, meet mLearning gurus and industry colleagues who have successfully implemented mobile learning initiatives and who are eager to share their knowledge and expertise. Hosted by Clark Quinn, leading industry analyst and consultant.

Tin Can Alley

Tin Can Alley is where you can learn about the Experience API (Project Tin Can), the next-generation SCORM specification from Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL). You can also find out more about how the AICC is adopting the API as the foundation for its CMI 5 specification. The AICC and the ADL Initiative are working together to improve and solidify the Experience API, and we are proud to have both of these top standards organizations at Learning Solutions Conference & Expo.


The Learning Solutions Conference is a gathering swimming in ideas from the keynotes, SolutionFest, and the LINGOs Last Mile Learning Paths. MAP Deck (explained below) provides a unique, personalized way to capture those ideas and take them home.


Four keynotes will inspire you with their perspectives on maximizing performance (Figure 6).

Figure 6: Inspiring keynotes are a hallmark of the Learning Solutions Conference

Opening keynote: Robert Ballard, scientist and deep-sea explorer 

World-famous for his discovery of the Titanic and the Bismarck, Robert Ballard leads audiences on an exploration of history’s greatest mysteries. The skills that led to his accomplishments are the same skills that now lead people around the world toward the realization of their dreams. Dr. Ballard presents his most recent work in deep-water archaeology and the technology of tele-presence. He discusses motivating people to think outside the box, extending abilities with technology, learning how to deal with failure along the way to success, and how to live your dream.

Wednesday afternoon keynote: Aaron Dignan, CEO, Undercurrent 

Despite generating billions of dollars in revenue and absorbing billions of hours per week, many still regard games as frivolous. The truth is that human beings are built to play—our brains are wired for the kind of experience that games provide—and play is just another word for learning. This also means that we can play games with the systems that govern our real-life activities, and that when we do, we’re more engaged and likely to succeed. In this presentation, Aaron Dignan shares how games can help enhance performance. Mr. Dignan is the CEO of digital consulting firm Undercurrent, and the author of Game Frame. His book deals with the ways in which games produce peak learning conditions and accelerated achievement, and the crucial connection between the games we love to play and achievement of our work, goals, and dreams.

Thursday morning keynote: Daniel Coyle, author 

Daniel Coyle has visited the world’s greatest talent hotbeds in sports, art, business, and music—places that produce huge numbers of extraordinary performers. Here he explains how you can use a few leadership principles to maximize high performance in your organization. The secret is the specific, targeted methods of training and motivation these hotbeds use to build the high-speed neural circuitry that underlies all greatness, from art to sports. He shows how these principles help leaders improve performance and maximize potential in their organizations and beyond.

Closing keynote: Yvonne Camus, adventurer

Yvonne Camus competed in the Eco-Challenge, the world’s premier expedition racing championship; hers was the first rookie team to complete the grueling competition. Despite daunting challenges, it is possible to achieve high-performance living. Ms. Camus will use her experiences to show how to rise to any challenge. In the process, she helps you to realize the potential for greatness in yourself, in your co-workers, and in your entire organization. Ms. Camus delivers a talk that will make you rethink workplace pressures, stress, and what it means to lead a high-performance life.


SolutionFest is new. Similar to the wildly popular DemoFest at DevLearn, it’s an amazing opportunity to see technology-supported learning and performance-support solutions in action. Share your work, gain recognition, and help the community learn from your efforts, or come see dozens of projects, network with colleagues, and get some great ideas.

LINGOs and Last Mile Learning

LINGOs is a not-for-profit consortium of over 75 international humanitarian relief, development, conservation, and social-justice organizations that share learning resources and experiences. By providing the latest learning technologies and courses from private sector partners, LINGOs helps its member agencies strengthen their greatest resource, their global staff.

At this year’s conference, LINGOs will demonstrate elements of its latest initiative, Last Mile Learning. Eric Berg, executive director of LINGOs, says, “Together, the courses will comprise a learning library entitled 'Last Mile Learning.' Learners, individuals working in development from remote locations around the world, to capital cities in the developing world, to sophisticated cities, will have the option to complete a single course, or a series of courses that allow them to receive a certificate in people management. Content can be delivered as self-paced eLearning, synchronous or asynchronous virtual learning, or in a face-to-face classroom. Learning Solutions attendees will see how learning technologies are being applied by Guild members, corporate partners, and LINGOs to improve the skills of local NGOs (non-governmental organizations) working around the world.”

MAP Deck

MAP Deck is a unique app that makes it possible for you to aggregate slides from any number of presentations, including ones you were not able to attend, into a “trip report” slide deck. Use the slide deck to share what you learned at the conference with your colleagues and decision makers when you get home. The aggregated slide deck is yours to keep.


Meeting your colleagues and the thought leaders in our field is always one of the best reasons for attending Learning Solutions, which presents one-of-a-kind opportunities to exchange ideas. In addition to networking that takes place in concurrent sessions and at the Learning Stages, as a key part of the SolutionFest, in the Expo area, and during the lunches and breaks, The eLearning Guild builds in additional networking events. These include the Expo Reception on Wednesday evening, Morning Buzz sessions Wednesday through Friday, dinner meet-ups, and an extraordinary Back Channel that loops in the rest of the world.

The best reason for coming to Orlando

You may be looking for opportunities to network, and for ideas to inspire you. You may need answers to critical questions about tools and services. Perhaps you are looking for a way to quickly increase your skills and knowledge across the board. You are going to find all of these in one place this spring: Learning Solutions Conference & Expo 2013.

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