DevLearn Keynotes


The conference opened with Dr Michio Kaku(a professor of theoretical physics) asking a very interesting and quite pertinent question “Why is education going up in price when the price of technology is coming down, and as per Moore’s law the speed of performance of technology is going up?”

His premise is that chips will be $1 each will make a huge change to how we live and of course learn. Connectivity will become a utility similar to electricity, with Cloud based metering, the internet will be truly everywhere.

With a stream of innovations including internet enabled spectacles, augmented reality and more, with even internet enabled “scrap paper” the true value will be found not in hardware or devices, but in software applications in The Cloud.

The conclusion for learning (before the presentation moved to explore the profound changes to medical care) was that how learning is delivered and consumed will change fundamentally, along with our whole way of life.

I am not sure he answered the question posed though! Maybe that could be a session for DevLearn 2012, though several vendors are really turning their attention to doing this as we go beyond rapid authoring to rapid re-use, but the killer app to do this does not appear on the scene yet!

Living and learning in the Cloud – Tom Koulopoulos

From very big (blue sky) picture to slightly less big picture, but non the less an all encompassing picture came a view addressing the impact of The Cloud and the new networked world we will all live in.

Koulopoulos likened the internet we are all using today to “Primordial Soup” in comparison to the future that is “The Cloud” – providing us with the shared intelligence of networked connections! Wow…this man has vision.

The argument around the velocity of uncertainty and of change in business at present is certainly compelling, and the ability of network based cloud mediated resources in real time is very exciting to.

The innovation journey in The Cloud was perhaps the most exciting, with Koulopoulos outlining his 5 levels of innovation, from invention to experience and the network, as innovation is no longer a solo flight.

He argues that The Cloud will never forget, and indeed we can all “forget about forgetting” as we all share and collaborate. Koulopoulos went on to make a very interesting and important point about the impact of the Cloud on learning, it will not be some vanilla environment, but it will emerge for individuals as a very personalised space, reflecting our own view of the world and especially for young people it is not about technology, but how we live, work, learn and play, and how we play will influence how we learn and work!

This was evangelical stuff and Koulopoulos certainly makes a compelling case, but I just can’t help feeling, and history tells me that things never quite evolve as expected or predicted. There is no doubt that the Cloud will make a huge difference, but quite how the money swirls around and where it rains down remains to be seen. I still intend to read the book, and look for the money raining down, or is it the rainbow!

Curation – Steve Rosenbaum

Curation – the third key note from Steve Rosenbaum, author of the Curation Nation was a call to action to the industry.

Steve saw the e-learning industry as central to the vortex of change being delivered by The Cloud (that Cloud again). Perhaps we were down in altitude to those nice big fluffy Cumulus clouds, after our time up high in Alto and Cirrus clouds.

The call for action as individuals to be Curators felt welcome to this audience and became a theme in several sessions I attended, after all Cumulus clouds are often called fair weather clouds (I seem to recall).

Rosenbaum argued convincingly that given the vast amount of material now available on the internet we need to find ways of organising this stuff. From the dawn of time till 2003 5 exabytes (1018)of content existed. From 2003 onward 5 exabytes of content are created every 2 days! Clearly the growth in content available means the simple search function is becoming out of date. But what will replace it?

Content is king, and now we are all kings as we now all produce masses of it! The solution lies with both man and machine to make sense and make the content useful, and the discipline is one of Curation argues Rosenabaum.

A self- organised network telling each other where to look is key to making sense of the vast amount of content, as brands become publishers and the new cycle of create- aggregate-curate emerges. Humans are ideally suited to this task and we will all increasingly act as the filters replacing the algorithms! Maybe this is why the conference took this theme on so readily!


Was the final session, and not a single key note as such, but a series of 6 short presentations that are “new ideas for learning”. I am not completely sure what the guidelines are but these were very diverse indeed. Our favourite came from the ever enthusiastic Neil Lasher with his street university concept – this really was a call to action for learning professionals to engage and make a difference.