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ADL Initiative's Top 4 highlights from I/ITSEC 2016

December 16, 2016


The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) 2016 is the world's largest modeling, simulation, and training event held in Orlando, Florida. Those interested in the fields of modeling and simulation (M&S), training, education, analysis, and related disciplines attend this annual meeting to learn, experience and connect themselves or their businesses to the industry. This year, Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative was proud to participate and showcase research and development on emerging learning science and technologies. In the show, we played an important role in promoting methods of interoperability and best practices for using distributed learning. Our objective was to share our vision for the future of Learning Science and Technology. Also, our goal was to encourage collaboration and information exchange across Defense, Federal government, international partners, industry, and academia regarding distributed learning.


So, what did ADL Initiative do during the week of the I/ITSEC conference to meet these goals? How did we participate? Before we start to look forward to next year's conference, here is our wrap-up from I/ITSEC 2016. Below are the top four (4) highlights from the conference.

1. ADL Initiative released the Experience API (xAPI) Learning Record Store (LRS) Test Suite.

ADL Initiative announced the candidate release of the xAPI LRS Test Suite during the week of the I/ITSEC conference. The LRS is part of the xAPI specification; it's the data warehouse that receives, stores, and provides access to xAPI statements. The LRS Test Suite provides a way to verify whether a software system conforms with xAPI requirements. This test suite evaluates whether an LRS correctly implements all of the mandatory server-side requirements in the xAPI specification, and it serves as a central registry for conformant LRS products.

Note: If you haven't already, sign up and begin testing your LRS. We will incorporate your feedback in the final release.

2. ADL Initiative conducted paper presentations and tutorials.

With technology becoming ever more central to teaching and training, we had much to share about ADL emerging perspectives and technologies, Department of Defense (DoD) education requirements and next generation learning. Many of the ADL Initiative team members, external performers, and our Global Partnership Network (GPN) directors were speakers at the conference. Below are the topics that they discussed during the week of I/ITSEC. Click on the links for more information.

Presenter/Speaker Topic

In the show, Dr. Elaine Raybourn received an award for being nominated for Best Tutorial. Raybourn's tutorial, "Transmedia Learning in the Wild: Supporting Military Training Through Story-driven Engagement," focused on transmedia learning design specifically for informal learning. Transmedia learning is story-driven, unfolds across multiple media, and is designed to promote self-directed engagement. The tutorial offered open source software strategies to unobtrusively track learner progress.

3. ADL Initiative discussed the ‘Future of Learning Ecosystem.’

During the conference, Dr. Sae Schatz lead an academic and commercial professional community round table discussion. The panel had conversations about the future of learning ecosystems and the challenges of 'learning human experience design.' These ecosystems provide a combination of technologies and support assets to assist individual learning. Our vision for the future of learning was shared in the Show daily. Feedback from leading experts in the academic community included (1) concentrating on a system that places the individual learner in control of their own learning and (2) developing standardized methods of implementation for increasing motivation and improving learner performance tracking.

4. ADL Initiative connected with technology partners, application developers, industry leaders, and real-world users.

ADL Initiative welcomed a variety of visitors, including Congressional leaders and representatives, current and prospective customers, and media. Congressman Bobby Scott and Mayor Teresa Jacobs were some of the many individuals that offered insights and feedback for perusing system-wide approaches to modernize and optimize learning. During the conference, we also met with the directors of our Global Partnership Network (GPN) to exchange information on requirements, projects, emerging science and technologies, and relevant opportunities. National and international government agencies, military research labs, and academic institutions from around the world discussed working towards a shared strategy for global distributed learning techniques, technologies, and best practices.

Some key takeaways from I/ITSEC booth discussions were the following:

  • Virtual Reality. The promise of story-driven Virtual Reality (VR) is the future. Authoring tools and more that help create virtual environments are in demand.
  • Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs). The ITSs are being developed to incorporate instructional design elements such as customized instruction or feedback.
  • xAPI Specification. xAPI is gaining support and momentum. The specification allows you to break down data silos across systems and share learner data.

We look forward to continuing collaboration efforts and information sharing to improve implementation guidance and technical specifications for DoD distributed learning. Please share some of your thoughts about current trends and future implications for distributed learning. What have you discovered?


Isaksen, G., Railer, B., Schatz, S. (2016). Advanced Distributed Learning: A global perspective [Paper presentation]. In Volume 2016 (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2016 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC). Arlington, VA: National Training and Simulation Association.

Gallagher, P. (2016). Assessing performance in an innovative cybersecurity pilot course [Paper presentation]. In Volume 2016 (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2016 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (I/ITSEC). Arlington, VA: National Training and Simulation Association.