TJ, our CEO, and I attended iFest a few weeks ago to learn more about the strategic plans of our federal customers. For those of you who don’t know, iFest (FEST stands for Federal eLearning Science and Technology) is a conference that blends the ADL Initiative (government program that supports training and also the “keepers” of SCORM and xAPI) with the National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA). In addition to being chock full of acronyms the conference was also full of the industry’s leaders in distance learning.

This year, we were an event sponsor and had a booth (last year we had a poster session and TJ spoke about trust and security in xAPI-based systems). We really enjoyed having a booth and found that it lead to some interesting conversations with folks about the future of eLearning as it pertains to the standards. Because so many of the attendees are focused on academics or government, we were able to step in with insight about how the private sector is using the standards. We fill an unusual in the gap with our high standards-focus; we work with education, government and commercial businesses. This niche allows us to compare and contrast how different industries are using xAPI and provide recommendations for how tools can truly be interoperable.

The speakers and panel sessions were engaging, focused primarily on competency models and the future use cases of xAPI. TJ contributed to a panel discussion facilitated by IEEE ICICLE outlining the ways that the emerging research will be implemented and accepted by private companies.

TJ also lead his own presentation about adding xAPI to your RFP in the post-DoDI world. TJ’s presentation advised listeners to think about the eLearning standards as tools. xAPI, cmi5 or SCORM each have their own advantages so when you’re working to decide which standard you need for your software implementation, you’ll want to select the right tool for the job. He provided examples for when to use xAPI, cmi5 and SCORM and also shared insight into each standard’s limitations. You can check out his slides here.

What was most inspiring for me was hearing great stories from military and federal employees across job functions about how xAPI and SCORM are altering their day-to-day tasks and providing true impact. I’m looking forward to hearing more of these stories at our next federal conference, I/ITSEC in Orlando, FL. We’ll see you there!

We knew that Chris was going to fit in here when he told us stories from a prior job in which he visited various Walmarts, teaching the disinterested staff about how to sell satellite radios. When your job will revolve around explaining eLearning standards and educating people about them, patience and teaching become pretty important. That's why Chris is our director of sales.