Recommended Online Learning & EduTech Conferences

I’m very excited to attend and present at DevLearn next week in Las Vegas, but there are lots of very good online learning/edtech conferences to attend across the country!

I got these recommendations from my own experience and the WCET Discussions listserv (my POW is a member of WCET, which is an education nonprofit).


WhatDevLearn (of course!) is put on by The eLearning Guild. It’s pricey (I’m starting to suspect this is common for edtech conferences) but there is a discount for nonprofit/academic.

What is The eLearning Guild? “A member-driven organization [that] produces conferences, online events, online and blended training courses, eBooks, white papers, research reports, and Learning Solutions Magazine—all devoted to the idea that the people who know the most about making eLearning successful are the people who produce eLearning every day in corporate, government, and academic settings.” (From About page). As far as I can tell, it is NOT a nonprofit.

Why: DevLearn is more corporate than education – it brings together hundreds (thousands?) of instructional designers, program directors, etc. These are my people, and I love this conference! I’ve been twice now. It’s a great conference to talk about specific technologies and latest trends in educational technology.

When and Where: Every year in fall in Las Vegas!

EDUCAUSE Annual Conference

What: EDUCAUSE Annual Conference

What is EDUCAUSE? “EDUCAUSE® is a higher education technology association and the largest community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education.” (From About page).

Why: This conference has a focus on higher education IT, which includes edutech. They have a HUGE expo with hundreds of technology providers. There are programs for those in leadership positions, and several conference “program tracks” for attendees to follow.

When and Where: Fall, location changes

OLC Innovate

What: OLC Innovate. OLC is the Online Learning Consortium, and they’re putting this conference on in conjunction with MERLOT, which is the Cal State system’s learning object referratory. Looks like a “big picture” conference that looks at educational innovation as a whole.

What is OLC? “The Online Learning Consortium is the leading professional organization devoted to advancing quality online learning providing professional development, instruction, best practice publications and guidance to educators, online learning professionals and organizations around the world.” (From their home page).

Why: Call for proposals is open until November 1, 2017! Okay, I realize that’s not really a why, but I’m a compulsive presenter since I’m tenure-track. Anyhoo, OLC puts on a lot of conferences, nationally and regionally, focused on higher education. You can check out 2017’s program for an idea of what proposals are accepted – looks like a really nice variety of “how-to,” and “how we did its.” This is one I’m seriously considering attending. “Topics may include: Teaching and Learning Innovation; Leadership and Change Management; the Education-Workforce Continuum; Processes, Problems, and Practices; Effective Tools, Toys and Technologies or Research Highlights and Innovations.” So, more big-picture stuff.

This conference focuses on educational innovation (vague, but interesting!) and seems to emphasize hands-on workshops for attendees.

When and Where: Spring, location changes

OLC Accelerate

What: OLC Accelerate.

Why: This one focuses on eLearning! “Topics this year will likely include Gamification, Women in EdTech, OLC Quality Scorecard, Policy Development, Open Educational Resources, and much more.” (From About page).

When and Where: Fall, Orlando (EPCOT!)

(Here’s more info on OLC’s various conferences!)


What: ISTE conference

What is ISTE? International Society for Technology in Education. “The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is a membership association serving educators committed to leveraging technology to solve tough problems and advance learning. ISTE serves more than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world.” (From About ISTE).


“The ISTE Conference & Expo is recognized globally as the most comprehensive educational technology conference in the world. For more than three decades, educators and education leaders have gathered at the ISTE conference to engage in hands-on learning, exchange ideas and network with like-minded thinkers seeking to transform learning and teaching.

The annual event attracts over 16,000 [emphasis mine, holy cow that’s a lot of] attendees and industry representatives, including teachers, technology coordinators, administrators, library media specialists, teacher educators and policymakers. Attendees also enjoy world-class keynotes, hundreds of sessions in a variety of formats and a massive expo hall.” (From About ISTE).

I kind of want to attend this one, but it sounds a little too big for me!

When and Where: Early summer, international location changes

Distance Learning & Teaching Conference

What: Distance Teaching & Learning conference. Small conference organized by UW-Madison’s Continuing Studies’ Distance Education Professional Development team. Higher-ed focused.

Why: “The conference program emphasizes evidence-based practice, educational innovation, practical application, and peer to peer networking and collaboration. The goal is to provide a transformative professional development experience at an affordable price.” (From About page). See more on Goals & Info page. Sounds like it will probably mostly draw attendees from the regional area, but Madison is a great city to visit (except it is very white, FYI) and if you are local-ish or don’t mind the travel, “affordable” and being able to learn from elearning professionals sounds like a great reason to attend!

When and Where: Summer, Madison, WI


Of course, there are many more! Check out this infographic from EdSurge that features dozens of interesting conferences.