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iFEST 2018 - The Future Learning Ecosystem

May 24, 2018

Event Passed

iFEST 2018 and the accompanying Hackathon happened August 26 – August 29, 2018. Stay tuned for the iFEST 2019 save the date. In the meantime, check out the presentations, photos, and other materials from the event below.


Visit the Official iFEST 2018 Website


8/26/2018 - 8/29/2018


Hilton Alexandria Mark Center 5000 Seminary Road Alexandria, Virginia 22311 Tel: 703-845-1010


The ADL Initiative collaborated with the National Training and Simulation Association (NTSA) for iFEST, an innovation-, instruction-, and implementation- themed Federal eLearning Science and Technology (FEST) symposium. iFEST was open to military, government, industry, and academia professionals involved with distributed learning. This year’s theme focused on the Future Learning Ecosystem.

General iFEST topics included:

  • The Total Learning Architecture (TLA)
  • Experience Application Program Interface (xAPI)
  • Learner profiles, technology, security, and privacy
  • Learning analytics and visualizations
  • Competencies and credentialing
  • Learning science for future learning ecosystems
  • DoD/Federal distributed learning policy

The format of the symposium involved:

  • Keynote speakers from DoD/Gov’t, industry and academia
  • Facilitated discussions on Defense-relevant topics
  • Ignite! (5-minute) Talks
  • Poster sessions for selected abstracts
  • Panel discussions
  • Tutorials
  • Presentation sessions for selected abstracts
  • TLA “Hackathon” (hands-on workshop)

TLA Hackathon

The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative hosted a Total Learning Architecture (TLA) Hackathon as part of the 2018 iFEST symposium, at the ADL Initiative office (walking distance from the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center) 26 - 27 August.

The goal of this 24-hour event was to create an opportunity for a broad community of experts to explore the TLA. Hackathon participants conducted hands-on exercises to investigate the potential of learning analytics, identify new ways to visualize collected data, and expose gaps in the practical use of xAPI across different types of media.

Participants had the opportunity to network with experienced developers, educators, and data scientists, to learn best practices for implementing, structuring, storing, and processing xAPI data and other data generated by TLA components at scale. Participants also gained valuable insight into different components of the TLA, its data structures, its roadmap, and the relevant technologies that are available for implementation today, and they had the opportunity to provide feedback to the ADL Initiative on the TLA’s ongoing development.

The ADL Initiative provided a large set of TLA data that participants aggregated, analyzed, and visualized. All participants were required to use their own personal computers and software tools that they felt were best suited to work with this data.

The Hackathon started at 1300 on Sunday, 26 August and concluded the next afternoon at 1300.

Keynote Speakers

A picture of Keynote Speaker Dr. Bror Saxberg, Vice President,
Learning Science, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the iFEST

Keynote Speaker Bror Saxberg, M.D., Ph.D. Vice President, Learning Science, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI)

As Vice President, Learning Science, Dr. Bror Saxberg is responsible for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative’s thinking about how to expand and apply learning science results and good learning measurement practice at scale to real-world learning situations across the full span of learning – pre-K, K-16, and beyond.

Dr. Saxberg most recently served as Chief Learning Officer at Kaplan, Inc. where he was responsible for the research and application of innovative evidence-based learning strategies, technologies, and products across Kaplan’s full range of educational services, maintaining consistent learning standard’s for Kaplan’s products and services. Dr. Saxberg also served as senior vice president and chief learning officer at K12, Inc., where he was responsible for designing both online and offline learning environments and developing new student products and services. Dr. Saxberg has also held positions at Knowledge Universe, Dorling Kindersley, and McKinsey. Dr. Saxberg received an Honors B.Aa. in Mathematics and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington, an M.A. in mathematics from Oxford University, a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School.

A picture of Keynote Speaker Mr. Charles (Fred) Drummond, Deputy
Assistant Secretary of Defense, Force Education and Training, Office of
the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness, and the iFEST

Keynote Speaker Mr. Charles (Fred) Drummond Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Force Education and Training

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness Mr. Charles (Fred) Drummond serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Education and Training in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Readiness. In this role, he oversees the development of policies and plans for military training and education. His responsibilities include Service and joint training policy, cyber training policy, joint professional military education, training capability modernization, and enabling access to the land, air, and sea live training domains. Mr. Drummond leads several voluntary education programs to include Troops to Teachers and the Tuition Assistance program. He is responsible for policy and oversight of financial readiness and to educate the force on the new Blended Retirement System. He also leads the Defense Language and National Security Education Office in their efforts to recruit, train, sustain, and enhance language and culture capabilities to ensure national security and readiness. Mr. Drummond oversees the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative to encourage collaboration among federal agencies, facilitate interoperability, and promote best practices for using distributed learning to provide the highest-quality, cost effective education and training programs. He also oversees DoD’s Licensing and Credentialing policies to assist Service members in effectively translating their military skills and experience into the civilian workforce.

Prior to joining OSD, Mr. Drummond was responsible for Navy’s strategy, policy, resource allocation and execution oversight for all officer, graduate, and voluntary education programs on behalf of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education) (N1).

A career Naval Officer, Mr. Drummond served in a variety of operational and staff billets. As a Naval Flight Officer flying in the EA-6B and in the USAF EF-111A, Mr. Drummond deployed across the globe conducting combat and peacetime operations. Non-operational tours included assignments in education, training and manpower. Mr. Drummond’s military awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Air Medal (1 individual and 7 Strike/Flight). He is a graduate of Virginia Tech and received a Master’s of Political Science from Auburn University of Montgomery.