Next up on our Learning Rebel tour of DevLearn 2014 – Laura Payette.
Laura currently is a Learning Rebel who’s day job is with Nielsen GTO. You can find Laura on twitter, where she is a great supporter of new ideas and innovations, always on hand to offer up great thoughts and ideas. Look her up @ljwp
Look up. Stop multi-tasking for a minute (which we know isn’t really multi-tasking anyway) and take a moment to notice what’s going on around you.
We don’t do this enough. I don’t do this enough. It’s too easy to get sucked into the details of projects, the whims of stakeholders, and the frenetic dash toward deadlines. But every once in a while it’s necessary to stick our heads up and really pay attention to what’s going on around us.
That’s exactly what DevLearn offers. A chance to step outside of daily rhythms and really connect with others who appreciate and are passionate about what’s happening on the tech side of learning and development. And, let’s be real, how often can you really talk shop with the people in your daily life? “Hey, have you seen the new features in Storyline 2? They’re wicked!” “You think that’s cool – check out this awesome application of the xAPI.” Yeah, not exactly dinnertime conversation. DevLearn is your opportunity to geek out on everything related to L&D, wax philosophical about high-level strategy and, most of all, let your hair down with others in the field.
That’s exactly what I did at this year’s conference. (Did I mention I was kid free? Bonus!) In all honestly, this was probably my least favorite of the three DevLearns I’ve been to from a pure conference perspective. The venue was more drab compared to the Aria, the sessions weren’t quite as cutting edge, and the food, well, it was almost non-existent. (Fortunately, I pack my own snacks.) BUT! The face-to-face camaraderie, from Morning Buzz sessions all the way through to informal dinners was more than worth it.
And the keynotes were pretty phenomenal. If you want to check out more notes on the Neil Tyson Degrasse keynote – check it out here! http://cammybean.kineo.com/2014/10/devlearn-keynote-with-neil-degrasse.html
The key is to know what you want out of the conference before you go – as much possible, of course. If you intend to solve all of your organization’s or clients’ problems, well, you may be disappointed. There are so many concurrent sessions, and you can only go to a few each day. It’s really tempting to constantly wonder, even as you’re sitting in a session, “Am I missing something else really good right now?” Yes, you probably are. That’s the way it goes. Understand that you can’t do it all. Choose to focus on one thing at a time or you’ll miss the value where you are and start to feel like a spinning top.
Also? Leverage your network.
If you know other people at the conference, plan to swap notes with them. If you don’t yet know other people, make new friends! Strike up conversations in the hallway and exchange Twitter handles and maybe even business cards. DevLearn is all about those in-person connections, and L&D folks are really friendly. Four years ago at my first DevLearn I knew no one. But I went out on a limb and started talking to people. They introduced me to other people and those people have become my people (other Learning Rebels!)– the people I now chat with online every week about projects and problems and what’s happening in L&D.
That’s the real value of DevLearn: Connecting with people who help you “look up,” not only at the conference but also once you’re back in the trenches. Invest your time in building these relationships, or even just in planting the seeds, and you can’t go wrong, even when you go to a concurrent session that isn’t quite all you were hoping it would be.