Version 1.0 Announcement

Today is the day! Thanks for your interest.

Here’s the transcript of the world debut of the first Digital Learning Asset Framework this morning at TLDC18.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Sam Rogers, President of Snap Synapse. Though I’ve been doing Learning & Development work for nearly 20 years now, it’s only relatively recently that I became part of our learning & development community. Since then, I’ve been inspired by daily livestreaming conversations, challenged by new connections and fellow speakers at Learning & Development conferences, and egged on by intellectual sparring in many online interactions. Through it all, I’ve been struggling to resolve some of the inconsistencies I see in what we do.

For example, while we enjoy saying things like “telling ain’t training”, how do we know when something actually IS training instead of telling? How do we differentiate the subset of instruction from larger set of information? Basically, by what measures do we define the very things we make and manage?

While we seek to use these to provide value to the organizations we serve, how do we know that a given learning solution will accomplish this? Or that ANY learning solution ever could? How can we talk to “the business” about how we’ve measured the outputs of learning without first qualifying the inputs of learning? Shouldn’t this be “our business”?

Hitting even closer to home, we prefer to think of ourselves in the Learning & Development field as being good at learning and at developing, but are we? How does our community learn from its mistakes? How do we as a field develop? When do we stop having the same conversations over and over, and move on to a new level of discourse?

Well, several months ago I assembled a braintrust of 30 of the best & brightest minds in L&D that I could find from a diverse array of industries, geographies, and interests. From video to VR, from standards to usability to gamification to microlearning, from cognitive development to artificial intelligence. We came together to forge a new framework for creating and administering Digital Learning Assets. And today, I’m proud to finally share the results of this initiative.

The Digital Learning Asset Framework provides a new foundation on which we can all stand together. It is an open source project, shared with the world freely under creative commons license. It is extensible, that is, designed to be adapted and changed and expanded as it is applied. And it is also just the beginning of a larger rethinking of what it is that we make, why, for whom, and how we know when it’s working.

The Digital Learning Asset Framework speaks to the smallest indivisible units of media that comprise modern learning experiences, and defines a higher standard. A standard that can evolve and grow as our understanding does, one that can inspire and even guide our technology, one that is designed to address not only our historically common learning problems, but that can sustain us through future modes of learning and systems of managing and tracking training that don’t yet exist.

To be clear, this framework does not speak to ALL media used in all training everywhere, but rather all media that can be validated to be training. Just as we know that not every training evaluation in the world follows, for example, the Kirkpatrick model, and that Kirkpatrick Level 3 means something very specific and fundamentally different from level 2 or level 1, so it is with the Digital Learning Asset Framework.

Is the problem you’re developing assets to address actually a learning problem? That is, if our target audience knew something that they don’t know now, would it make a measurable difference as expressed in their performance? If the answer is no, then this framework isn’t for you.

There are plenty of business-critical training projects that routinely land in our laps which are inappropriate places to apply this particular framework. Yet for the times when it IS applicable, when we are using learning solutions to address what are truly learning problems, let us have a more appropriately elevated level of discussion and rigor about what we are doing.

Let us make the things that matter. Let us measure the things that count. Let us take this new Digital Learning Asset Framework and run with it towards a brighter future for Learning & Development, and more importantly for the organizations — and the people –that we serve.

The single-page reference for Version 1.0 is now available at In the coming weeks, more information will be made available on the website. Sign up to receive notifications.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who worked on the Digital Learning Asset Framework, especially to the initial signatories (some of whom are in this very room today): Josh Cavalier, Lisa Minogue-White, Nag Chandrashekar, Marco Faccini, An Coppens, Zsolt Olah, Marc Zao-Sanders, Lisa Millar, Matthew Smith, Lee Rodriguez, and Craig Weiss. Thank you as well to everyone else who provided critical input thus far, and most of all thank you in advance to all who hear this message and feel called to contribute now. This framework depends on your creative applications and iterations. It is my sincere hope that the collective effort will help us to learn and to develop collectively as a Training, Learning, and Development community. Thanks!

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