What I Love About #DevLearn: Ajay Pangarkar & Teresa Kirkwood

To help celebrate the 10th Annual DevLearn Conference and Expo, we’ve invited members of the Guild community to share what they love about DevLearn, and why they return to the conference year after year.

ajay-and-teresa-350widtToday we welcome Ajay Pangarkar and Teresa Kirkwood of CentralKnowledge and LearningSource, as they shares their thoughts about the DevLearn.

In a recent post, Slaying the Elephant in the Training Room, we wanted to address what many learning conference participants think but don’t dare to say aloud and that is: “learning seems to rarely happen at learning conferences”. But DevLearn is different and we’ll share why with you shortly.

The challenge for learning conferences is twofold. First, participants seem to be seeking a “quick fix” rather than a sustainable solution. Second, and more worrisome, is the lack of innovative thinking from many learning “thought-leaders” (I use this term liberally). We don’t want to lump in very forward thinking speakers delivering interesting learning solutions but regretfully, they are a minority.

And here is why we love DevLearn. It strives to solve both of these “hidden” concerns.

Participants attend Devlearn not seeking a “quick fix” but recognize that they will leave with sustainable ideas and solutions. Our appreciation for DevLearn is that this is an event that facilitates discovering the elusive “ah-ha” moments.

For us (and it should be for you as well), DevLearn is about stimulating discussion and critical thinking from peers leading to discovery and new learning experiences. If you didn’t notice it’s clearly stated in the conference name, “Dev” and “Learn”!

This is a lot to lay on the shoulders of DevLearn organizers but it is a testament to its longevity and what its organizers do so well: promoting learning experiences. Ultimately, as a participant the responsibility is on you to be open to learning opportunities that will lead to lasting learning solutions.

Now, to address a more sensitive point…the so-called “though-leaders” that regurgitate the same old, “don’t worry they won’t notice” ideas. Again, the blame doesn’t rest solely on conference organizers. Every conference speaker and thought leader (including myself) is responsible to challenge the status quo. This is why participants (you) attend conferences to learn something new!

It’s really ok if some of our peers challenge our perception. There are times we’re guilty of doing the same (stating this for the record before some accuse us of bias). But it is even better that DevLearn challenges this perception. DevLearn organizers have little patience toward speaker complacency and “douchbaggery” (a new word accepted by the Oxford Dictionary we wanted to try out) making every effort to moving the learning profession forward.

Here’s what we discover every time we attend DevLearn.

  • Actively involved participants in the learning discussions
  • A high level of energy and “buzz” among all participants
  • Awesome Learning experts challenging the status quo and to be challenged themselves

DevLearn, for us, is what learning is about. It is an event that seeks to “play in the unknown”, validate knowledge and ideas, and demonstrates how to apply this new knowledge to effect lasting results.

This is why we love DevLearn! Here’s a final thought. We share with you our one philosophy; “If you’re not living life on the edge then you’re taking up too much space.” So promise us one thing. Step off the edge and into the unknown…this is where your learning begins. Your first step begins at DevLearn…join us, will you?

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