Without going into the layout of the University of Utah campus, I will just say that I chose not to stay on campus as many of the comments about the dorms, were, shall we say - typical dorms.
While there were many paths available, I wanted to focus on two main areas, integrating databases into e-learning courses and simulation design. With that, the following is a summary of the breakout sessions I attended today:
- Intro to Database Driven Design, Part 1 (Eric Replinger) The intro to database session for me, was very basic as it primarily focused on deciding when to use a database and the basics of creating a database. Still, this was a good introduction to lead into Part 2 (later in the day.) My main wish was (as with many of these conferences, they were in a lab or had more time/space to set up our own computers and work with the instructor.)
- From Frontlines of Simulation Design (Nathan Kraklauer) I was looking forward to a session on developing simulations that had some best practice concepts or at least a few hints. Instead, Nathan mostly used this session to 'showcase' his own development. The lack of meat may have had something to do with the questions that were asked in balance to the short amount of time given for each session.
- eLearning Project Management is not an Oxymoron! (Debby Kalk) Debbie has to be the most passionate speaker in relation to project management I've heard, and I was disappointed that there was only an hour for this session. Still, for an hour, this was a highly productive session.
- Intro to Database Driven Design, Part 2 (Eric Replinger) The second part of integrating databases into a website was very productive as it used Dreamweaver components to make the process easy. In the past this was something I have hard coded or used XML bindings. Eric goes to show that sometimes the most complex way is not the best. I will be using what I have taken away from this session as soon as I get back as I can see how we can use this to streamline many things we do.
- Captivate, Down and Dirty (Sandy Adams)- Although I am a very advanced user with Captivate, I attended this beginning Captivate session with the thought of seeing a 'better way' to use Captivate from the perspective of a beginner. This session was highly disappointing as the trainer simply and quicky jumped right into creating a quick simulation without any explanation of what was happening (to show non Captivate users how 'easy' it was.) Still, as a non-sales presentation, a small amount of actual instruction would not take away from Captivate's ease of use. I am very tempted to sign up for a conference speaker for a future session as I feel Captivate could be better sold.
- Keynote Presentation, Evidence based Training. (Kevin Kruse)- The eLearning Guru is at it again, challenging us to be 'Rock Stars' , this time by using EBT to get better results from our training. Once (if) Kevin posts his presentations I will write more on this as, not only was this highly informative, but this is most likely my 'take away session' to present to my team.