Why I’m Looking Forward to #mLearnCon: David Kelly


The mLearnCon Conference & Expo takes place June 10 – 12 in Austin, Texas. There are a number of reasons why people look forward to mLearnCon each year. The “Why I’m Looking Forward to mLearnCon” series invites members of the Guild Community to share what it is that makes mLearnCon special and what they’re looking forward to exploring at this year’s event.

To kick off this series, I’ve decided to share my own thoughts. Here are some of the reasons I’m really looking forward to mLearnCon this year.

The Changing Definition of mLearning

The term mLearning emerged as we started using mobile devices for learning. Most people define mlearning as “elearning programs on a mobile device”. For year that limited definition applied, but things are starting to shift in exciting ways.

Te foundation of mLearning isn’t really built on learning; it’s built on mobility. More and more organizations are starting to realize this, and embracing how the mobility of the individual changes what it means to support learning and performance. The overlapping space between mobile learning and performance support continues to grow (as evidenced by the recent co-location of mLearnCon with the Performance Support Symposium) and we’re seeing more examples of mobile devices being used to help workers learn and solve problems in the moment, in ways that have been previously out of our reach.

mLearnCon is the place where the possibilities of mobile technologies for learning and performance support are explored and showcased, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how this year’s conversations continue to expand the definition of mlearning, and shape the future of how mobile devices are used in our industry.

The Growing Stable of Mobile Devices

Mobile continues to be one of the fastest growing and evolving technologies on the planet. mLearnCon is a great place to see how the latest advancements in mobile technology are being applied to learning and performance problems.

watch-dmThis is is particularly interesting, as the very definition of “mlearning technology” is about to expand once again. Many analysts see the Apple Watch release as the device that will herald the disruption of wearable technology. These technologies will change the way we interact with the world. Exploring the possibilities these devices provide for learning and performance, and where they fit into the mobile learning paradigm is sure to be a big discussion point at mLearnCon this year.

More Focus on Affordances

In the earliest days of mlearning, the focus was on access to content. It’s what brought us to today’s responsive design, and the ability for content to display appropriately for the different devices that may be used to access it. In many ways though, responsive design on it’s own is still elearning on a mobile device.

Today’s mobile learning and performance support projects need to go beyond just being responsive. mobile technologies have a number of unique and powerful affordances that can power experiences that we’ve never been able to create before. I’m excited to see innovative applications of mlearning that leverage geolocation, accelermotors, cameras, and more being shared at mLearnCon.

mLearning DemoFest

DemoFest is always a highlight of an eLearning Guild conference. Having people bring their projects to the conference to share so that others can learn from them in many ways represents everything the Guild is about. I’m especially excited for this year’s mLearning DemoFest for two specific reasons.

  • Mobile technologies are evolving at breakneck speeds. At mLearning DemoFest you get to see real-world applications of cutting edge technology in action. It’s a great snapshot into the current state of mobile technology and learning.
  • At this year’s mLearning DemoFest we’re also introducing an expanded focus on Performance Support applications that showcase how technology is being used to support performance in the workflow, incorporating both mobile and non-mobile technologies into the mix. It’s the first time we’ve placed a specific focus on inviting performance support projects at DemoFest, and I’m really looking forward to seeing what people bring to share.


Last, but certainly not least, is the new location for mLearnCon – The Live Music Capital of the World, Austin Texas. Austin is one of the hottest cities in the country right now, packed with a number of great things to do and explore. It’s also a hotbed of the technology industry, making it the perfect host city for the industry’s leading conference exploring how mobile technology is shaping the future of learning and performance. I’m looking forward to spending some time exploring the city while I’m in town for the conference.

It’s About Community

Of course, there are plenty of other reasons I’m looking forward to the conference. Without question though, the biggest reason I’m excited for the conference is that it’s another opportunity to connect with others in the eLearning Guild Community. It’s the community that makes the Guild and the events we host so meaningful and powerful, and I’m looking forward to connecting with others and participating in the conversations that help move our industry forward.

See you in Austin everyone!

The mLearnCon Conference and Expo takes place June 10-12 in Austin Texas. The Why I’m Looking Forward to #mLearnCon series will continue in the weeks ahead as a forum for people top connect and share what they’re planning to get out of the conference. 

If you’re interested in contributing to this series, please reach out to David Kelly, VP of Program Development at the eLearning Guild.

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