#DevLearn Reflections: A Student Perspective

Today we welcome Karl Kapp and students from Bloomsburg University as they share thoughts about this year’s DevLearn Conference and Expo.

At DevLearn 2014, Bloomsburg University became a College Partner of the eLearning Guild and was able to bring six students to the conference at a reduced student rate.

The students from Bloomsburg had an opportunity to help Dr. Karl Kapp and Sharon Boller facilitate a pre-conference workshop called “Play to Learn.” Here is a brief video of the workshop.

Additionally, there were special “student only” events such as two lunches one featuring Bloomsburg alum David Cerreta providing insights into the field. The other was with several with leaders in the elearning field including Julie Dirksen, Jane Bozarth and Trina Rimmer.

We asked the students to provide brief remarks related to their experiences.

Students and Dr. Kapp on the way to DevLearn 2014

Students and Dr. Kapp on the way to DevLearn 2014

Ramesh Muthukumarana writes:

DevLearn was my first ever conference experience and I want to say it was an amazing experience. When I look back at DevLearn I realize how much I learned from the industry professionals. There were all kinds of sessions related our field. We were fortunate enough to witness the keynote of Dr.Neil deGrasse Tyson on the opening day of the conference. It was an amazing speech and everybody was thrilled to be there.

Dr.Kapp and Sharon Boller conducted a workshop on Gamification and we, as students helped to facilitate, the workshop. It was exciting to work with the professionals in the field and help them in the process. I was surprised to see how much they valued our help at the workshop.

Getting ready for DemoFest

Getting ready for DemoFest

On the last day there was this event called DemoFest, where all professionals representing different companies exhibit their learning solutions.  We, as students, also got an opportunity to show our class projects and I was amazed to see how many people appreciated our work. So many people exchanged business cards with me and wanted to contact me. I never expected such compliments for our class projects.

I just want to tell future students, if you ever get a chance to attend one of these conferences, please don’t miss the opportunity.


Terrance Jones writes:

When I finally landed back home in Philadelphia is when it hit me of how much of a great experience I just encountered. From the first day when I received my name tag and conference information I was filled with nothing but excitement. I felt such a positive vibe from all the members of the conference (of which I met) who welcomed me and the rest of my fellow classmates with open arms. Dr. Kapp told me that I was in for a treat but I didn’t know what he meant until later in the conference.

I loved helping the professionals in the field with their game that they had to develop. They all were so happy to hear my input and thrilled to have my help. It shocked me on how much they really valued my opinion. I guess it’s more because I’m still a student and I assumed they would want to hear anything I had to say, which wasn’t the case at all.

When I was given the opportunity to show my own work I was really nervous. I didn’t know if anyone would want to see my project. Once the first person walked over to my table I took that as my green light to shine. So wave after wave of people came over to my table to see what I was presenting and to hear what had to say about it. It was such a great feeling to get feedback of what people thought of my project. At that moment nothing could make me happier. Well that was until people showed interest in me and wanted to stay in touch.

When I look back At Dev Learn I believe it was a great opportunity all around for me. From seeing different tools to helping professionals build a game to showing my own personal creation. If there are more opportunities like this in the future for other students and they are considering not going, I just want to tell you that you are missing the time of your life. You will never meet another group of individuals with more energy, enthusiasm to grow and all over happiness for success in your life and I stand strong by that statement. Thank you to everyone who made this possible for me. You have no idea how this has made a positive impact in my life.

Debby McNichols writes:

I attended DevLearn 2013 and DevLearn 2014. Both years I was enrolled in the Masters of Instructional Technology program at Bloomsburg University. However, there was a vast difference in my enjoyment and experience between the two years.  What was so dramatically different between the two years? In 2013, I attended as a student exploring the conference on my own. I picked the workshops that sounded interesting and beneficial and navigated the Expo and Demo Fest solo. In 2014, I was invited to attend DevLearn, still a student but this time as a participant in the academic docent program that was facilitated by Dr. Karl Kapp, instructor of Instructional Technology at Bloomsburg University. Dr. Kapp is one of my professors but he is also a leading expert in the field of instructional technology. Dr. Kapp generously devotes his time and shares his knowledge to help guide and direct students while on their educational journey and beyond.

The guided academic docent program included Morning Buzz sessions to discuss the current day’s events and suggested sessions, introductions to speakers and thought leaders, two student-exclusive lunch sessions with industry experts, a guided tour of the Expo and the opportunity to present student projects at DemoFest.

I strongly encourage anyone that is a student to consider participating in the academic docent program at DevLearn 2015. The guided experience will give you opportunities to better process the experience, connect with the giants in the industry, and have fun with your peers.

Amanda Davis writes:

I must start off by saying that the DevLearn conference exceeded my expectations. I wasn’t completely sure about what to expect, but I knew that it would be an awesome experience. My classmates and I started off our DevLearn experience at the Pre-conference workshop, Play to learn: Designing Effective Learning Games, held by our professor Dr. Kapp along with Sharon Boller. There, we facilitated the workshop and had the opportunity to work closely with professionals in the field. Networking throughout the entire conference was extremely beneficial, especially to us students who are about to enter the workforce. I enjoyed going to different sessions, gaining more knowledge about eLearning, and networking with people from all over the world.

A highlight of the conference for me was having the opportunity to hear the incredible Neil DeGrasse Tyson talk about learning/learners. He gave a lot of insight about how learning is and how it should be. He also talked highly about problem solvers, which in my opinion, is an important trait for people in this field. Neil DeGrasse Tyson had the conference and the DevLearn App in a frenzy. Speaking of which, I thought that the DevLearn App was another cool conference feature. It was a great way to keep up with what was happening around us, as well as earning some cool prizes.

CaptureOne of the most rewarding experiences at the conference was DemoFest. My classmates and I were able to show off some training solutions that we’ve worked throughout our graduate studies. I was amazed to see the big crowds of people that we had around our tables, interested in our work. I was also excited about the feedback that I got back from professionals in the field. I am truly grateful to have gotten the opportunity to be in attendance at this conference. I definitely plan on coming back for it next year!

Jonathan Blount writes:

Dev Learn was an awesome opportunity to network nationwide. I held conversations with people in the field from companies all around including Canada, North Carolina, Detroit, Boston, and different parts of California. I am actually in between emails with a company in San Diego CA about a possible internship and job opportunity.

Demo Fest was not only a great way to network and hand out business cards, but for me it was a great confidence boost to see peoples’ reaction to my training and getting feedback.

For me it was great to see where we stand at in the industry among current professionals. A lot of professional stumble upon this industry and do not have the all-around hands on training that we get here at Bloomsburg. So we come into the field with a step ahead.

Also the keynote speaker gave me a different outlook on approaching new challenges. Not to be discouraged if you don’t know the answer to a problem or question right away. But to embrace the opportunity to work on a challenge and to come out with a solution. I think Bloomsburg does a great job on helping student learn how to learn, whether it be new software or design models.

On a personal note, I would like to thank Karl Kapp for helping us launch the Student Docent Program at DevLearn, and for the students that participated in the program for being pioneers in this new program. We plan to incorporate the Student Docent Program into many of our events. If you’d like to learn more, please feel free to reach out to me.


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