By Cait Etherington March 17, 2017
Staying on top of new developments in the eLearning field is a constant challenge. Every month, the sector shifts as new technologies create new opportunities to learn and conceptualize what learning and training look like now and will look like in the future. In this article, eLearningInside News offers overviews of just six of the many upcoming conferences exploring best practices in the eLearning field. While some focus exclusively on training and others are geared to educators working in the K-12 or higher education fields, most of these conferences offer a mix that will be of interest to educators, trainers and instructional designers alike. From the latest developments on gaming and augmented reality to scholarly assessments of eLearning’s impact on pedagogy, these upcoming events offer something for everyone connected to the eLearning sector.
Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education is a primarily academic conference that brings together researchers exploring best practices in immersive virtual environments. The open conference includes panels on rich learning systems in virtual worlds and games. Best of all, the conference is hosted online and is free. This year’s conference will take place from March 29 to April 1. Proceedings of earlier conferences, include the 2016 meeting which brought together over 2000 participants from 50 nations, can be accessed online.
Serious Play, now in its seventh year, brings together experts on educational gaming from around the world. This year’s conference, which will take place on campus at George Mason University from July 18-20, will bring include workshops, panels and keynotes. As stated in their mandate, “Our goal is to provide a forum for visionary educators, chief learning officers and heads of training programs in health care, government/military or other fields that want to learn how to improve the effectiveness of their program, and use the data collected to do even better.”
Focus on Learning, which will take place in San Diego from June 20-22, is an industry driven conference and expo that brings together people from across the education, training and technology sectors. Always a great place to find out what is trending in eLearning and gamification, it is worth noting that Focus on Learning’s 2017 themes are mobile, video and games, which the conference organizers describe as the “three of the most powerful movements in our industry” in recent years.
Realities360, a new conference this year, is designed to bring together anyone interested in exploring the potential for virtual reality and augmented reality to be used in training and educational contexts. Specifically, Realities360, offers attendees “hands-on opportunities to encounter these technologies and engage in discussions that put those experiences into the context of learning and performance.” The inaugural conference will be held from July 26 – 28, 2017 in San Jose, California.
A longstanding annual conference in the field of eLearning, this year’s International Conference on eLearning and Innovative Pedagogies will take place in Toronto, Canada on May 27. The conference primarily brings together scholars to share research on topics related to eLearning and pedagogy but also taps into innovative thinking outside the higher education context. A major strength of the conference is its global focus (as this year’s program reveals, presentations will take up the topic of eLearning across cultural lines from Canada to Spain to the West Indies to Africa).
The final conference on our list is DevLearn, which is scheduled to take place in Las Vegas from October 25-27. If the International Conference on eLearning and Innovative Pedagogies is a primarily academic conference, DevLearn is first and foremost an expo designed to showcase new technologies and their application in the eLearning field. For this reason, DevLearn is especially recommended for anyone in the training sector. As DevLearn’s conference organizers explain, the conference offers an “unparalleled opportunity to develop and hone your skills and knowledge as a learning professional” and provides “hundreds of learning opportunities covering the most cutting-edge and critical topics in our industry.”