Before I get too removed from the aura of DevLearn, I want to take a minute to describe my experience as a participant in DemoFest. Awe-some. There, I’m done. But seriously, I had the privilege of demoing a sample of my work at the DevLearn conference, an event organized by the E-learning Guild every October in sunny Las Vegas. First off, if you ever get the chance, GO to the DevLearn conference. And second, when you go, submit an entry for DemoFest. You won’t regret it. So what is DemoFest you ask? Opportunity. Here is a breakdown of how it works.
First, you submit a sample of your work that you completed in the past year. DemoFest is scheduled for a three hour block of time during the DevLearn conference. During that block you sit at a table and demo your entry for any of the DevLearn attendees that stop by your table. Attendees then vote on the best entry in each category and on the last day votes are tallied and the winners are presented awards.
First off, congratulations to Dr. Pooja Jaisingh who won the award for Best Soft Skills course (category I was entered in). That winning thing is pretty cool, and of course it would have been an honor if I had won. But, here’s the thing. The best part is not about winning the contest. It’s about having three hours of exposure to talk about your work to many different people in our field. You get a chance to explain your thought process, talk about development tools, and discuss the effectiveness of your work. Did it change behaviors? How did people respond to the module? This was an extremely exciting and exhausting three hours. Although, when it was over I can honestly say it did not feel like three hours had lapsed.
I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t nervous. I was nervous, like the “wringing your hands-dry mouth-what have I got myself into” nervous. But, two things helped me overcome that nervousness. First, I spoke with Brent Schlenker prior to DemoFest and expressed a bit of my nervousness. Brent really helped put it in perspective and helped me focus on the goal of DemoFest. It’s about sharing your work, receiving feedback, and really, just having conversations with other people who do the same thing you do. Thank you Brent. The other thing that helped was diving into my demo with the first person that sat down at my table. Once I got past that first person and calmed down, I thought about my work and what I wanted to share. And then I had conversations with people.
Now if you are wondering whether you should submit something next year, don’t wonder, just do it. Keep in mind this was my first time at DevLearn and therefore my first time at DemoFest. I just had a feeling this would be an awesome experience and something I would regret later if I hadn’t participated. I can’t say enough positive things about the experience. I received some great feedback and constructive criticism. I answered questions. I discussed the development tool I used. I compared success stories. I shared.
Thank you to the E-Learning Guild and to all of the DevLearn attendees that stopped by my table. I wholeheartedly encourage everyone to participate in DemoFest.
Below is my DemoFest entry.
Title: Hypoglycemia 101
(not iPad optimized)
Category: Soft Skills
Brief Synopsis: My ten-year-old son has hypoglycemia. This module was created to educate his teachers on what hypoglycemia is and what they can do to help him manage it through the school year.