Nine years ago on Wednesday, I received a phone call that changed my life. I was laid off two months after my eLearning startup folded in 2003, mostly because our clients went to SCORM LMSs and we couldn’t figure out how to adopt. On the Fourth of July, 2003, I got a call asking if I’d be interested in working on SCORM for the US Department of Defense. I went for it, and that put me on the path I’m on today.
It’s nine years later, and after an action-packed 2012 thus far, I feel REALLY good. Welcome to the catch-up post.
It’s been a really excellent six months. Since last summer, I’ve been on a path to something important. I have many guides helping me as I find my way. A lot of really special things have made it into the world that both encapsulate my journey to some point in time and propel me into whatever comes next.
In January, my small accounting of my time at Grainger, where I helped to build out a strategy for knowledge exchange, made it to the cover of T+D Magazine, which was pretty cool. I can’t recall ever being published in an actual print magazine before, so that was a really nice way to start the year.
In February, over 30 friends, old and new, kicked off Up to All of Us. It was an incredible, soul-fulfilling experience for me. I learned a lot. As designers and facilitators, Megan Bowe and I got a lot of things right. I got a few things wrong and the experience of designing, organizing and facilitating it really honed me into a better collaborator, a more teamful player and it scratched my itch for entrepreneurship, only to inform me that I want to really be more entrepreneurial.
In March, I keynoted a Blackboard User Group at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, VA. It was notable because it was the first event in which I talked about Tin Can API, Blackboard announced they were adopting Tin Can API and three weeks later we kicked off the spec effort. Many of you reading this may have no idea what is Tin Can API. The clearest answer is that it’s a language for systems that expresses what people do with tools and technologies they use. The personal answer is that it’s the first of a series of technologies I’ve devoted most of my waking thoughts to designing, developing and bringing into the world since late 2008 — the first of many technologies that will succeed SCORM, the de-facto method for eLearning content to communicate with enterprise systems around the world.
With the spec effort kicking off in April 5, a community lit up quickly with real code to play with thanks to the huge kick-start from ADL and Rustici Software (working through a BAA program from ADL). Lots of makers have since adopted the API and are rolling it out in their tools. Lots of incredibly talented people, like Ingo Dahn, Anthony Altierri, Andrew Downes among many others, have contributed their considerable know-how on making the spec better, providing edge use cases and prototyped experiments with the tech.
In early June, Megan and I teamed up for another unconference/retreat called Overlap. It was mind-blowing to be surrounded with so much positive energy, intellect and talent. Many of the people came to Overlap as strangers and all of us left as close friends and companions. For Overlap (and for mLearnCon), I designed a web app built by my brethren at Problem Solutions, designed for Up to All of Us by my good friends Alicia Sanchez (@gamesczar) and Kris Rockwell (@krisrockwell), called Gold Stars.
The next week was mLearnCon, where we collectively launched Tin Can API to the greater community. 800+ people in attendance got a good first look at developments in which so many people have worked and invested so much. There are many moments that stick out in my mind, the look on people’s faces in the audience at the launch, as people looked at Twitter’s #mLearnCon hashtag and looked at Tappestry on their phones… and then saw how the data was collecting into one common place from multiple applications… that violet hour when people instantly got it… I’ll never forget that.
A lot of love went into creating that moment and to feel it reverberate throughout the conference over the following two days… it was a great start to something really big. It’s a nice cap on six months in which a lot of things “shipped”. Things got done. I get made fun of a lot for talking way too much, and I’ve talked the talk of doing. I feel good because with so much help from so many people, we’re walking the walk.
The best part of why I’m feeling good isn’t because of what got done… it’s because of what’s coming next: all new stuff 🙂
Happy Fourth of July, world. Now that we’re all caught up, and a bunch of activities started last year now “done” instead of “doing” it’s time to get back to blogging here about what’s coming next.