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iFEST 2020: New Features for an Engaging, Interactive Conference Experience

August 12, 2020
iFEST Online Conference graphic
Figure 1. iFEST Online Conference graphic.

Face-to-face meetings are hard to replace, but this year’s iFEST online conference includes some special features to make it congenial, interactive, and productive. While you can’t tap someone on the shoulder for an in-person talk, you’ll have even greater access to iFEST attendees using the Attendee Lounge and Matchmaking Board. With these features, you can pinpoint the experts you want to approach, participate in discussions, and share announcements.

This year’s event features some leading voices in eLearning and the DoD education and training enterprise, including DoD Chief Management Officer Hon. Lisa Hershman, TRADOC commander General Paul Funk, former DoD Assistant Secretary for Acquisition Katrina McFarland, NATO Brigadier General Ilmars Lejins, and Defense Acquisition University Vice President Frank Kelly.

GEN Funk and HON McFarland
Figure 2. "War on the Rocks" guests: GEN Funk (left) and HON McFarland (right).

On Monday afternoon join us for a virtual happy hour, featuring live recording of a War on the Rocks podcast with host Ryan Evans discussing education and training modernization with GEN Funk and HON McFarland.

You can also join Chat Rooms, which go live on 19 August from 1100 to 1430 EDT. These will be moderated by subject-matter experts and focused on topics like competency and credentialing, data-supported learning, learning ecosystem transformation, and virtual and extended reality.

This year’s iFEST also has a virtual Exhibit Hall for displaying products and services, and a Book Club where you can share suggestions about newly published resources relevant to distributed learning. In the iFEST Poster Gallery you’ll find 10 technical posters describing the latest research in distributed learning science and technology. You’re also encouraged to talk with the poster presenters and vote before noon on August 19 for the People’s Choice Awards for “Best Design” and “Best Narrative.” The winners will be announced that afternoon.

Of course, there’s a stellar group of presenters and panelists including leaders from the Army’s Combined Arms Center, the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Defense Acquisition University, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Army University, Harvard, MIT, and the Wharton School.

Unlike in-person conferences, you’ll have on-demand access to multiple sessions with rich content. Real-time sessions are augmented by recorded presentations that are only a click away in the Presentation Library. You can also engage with the presenters by commenting or asking questions about the presentations on the associated discussion threads.

Home Page of
Figure 3. Home Page of

To learn more about the presenters, check out the Speaker Gallery. It lists every presenter, with bios, contact information, and links to their papers, presentations, and posters.

Finally, as an added bonus, everyone participating in iFEST is eligible for Continuous Learning Points, or CLPs, which are issued from the Defense Acquisition University. This is a career boosting benefit for people who need to earn annual CLPs to remain current with their occupational accreditations. To earn CLPs, you’ll need to participate in a meaningful portion of the live and asynchronous sessions. Participation will be monitored using xAPI, and in addition to earning CLPs, you can earn badges and recognition for your active involvement.

iFEST was originally scheduled as a traditional face-to-face event, but to meet social-distancing guidelines, the conference committee rapidly transformed it into an entirely online event. The transition was a major undertaking, made possible through the tireless efforts of NTSA and ADL Initiative organizers, and the generous contributions of partners like the Jefferson Institute, which volunteered to develop the event website.

We look forward to interacting with you at iFEST!

iFEST 2020
While the live portion is over, you can register and view the live recordings and pre-recorded presentations until 31 December 2020