Tony Karrer's eLearning Blog on e-Learning Trends eLearning 2.0 Personal Learning Informal Learning eLearning Design Authoring Tools Rapid e-Learning Tools Blended e-Learning e-Learning Tools Learning Management Systems (LMS) e-Learning ROI and Metrics

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Online Conference Formats

We've just seen an interesting experience with Jay Cross having pulled together a 24 hour, worldwide discussion on the future of learning at Learn Trends. You can find some of the recordings here.

There's a discussion thread with feedback, and you can read some of Jay's thoughts on doing this. It had very good attendance and the quality of people was very high.

We encouraged people to drop by whenever they were free. They could join in for half an hour, then bail out. Participants did not need to register to attend.

This revolving door of attendance makes measurement tough, but I’ll guess that 250-300 people were involved at least part of the time. On Tuesday morning, we had 125 listening in. On Wednesday morning, we had 50-60. In between, some sessions had 30-40 people, others dwindled to one.

We are deciding what we will do going forward. We plan to hold sessions in May and June. Topics are TBD. And likely the topic will partly decide what format we use.

But I very much would like your help in brainstorming what else we might consider doing with the format?

Please help with ideas or pointers to examples.

Also, if you are interested in future conferences, please go sign up on the Learn Trends Ning Group. We will make sure we notify you of dates and topics.


Paul Angileri said...

I was not able to attend, but would definitely put the next event on my calendar. I think this is a great format for allowing individuals to attend conferences without having to fly somewhere and pay for hotels, etc. The added benefit of being able to join in whenever you wish/can is a big one for me.

Now the conference replacement idea is farther down the line, but I would certainly make more use of it if applied that way, and I think it fits in with many professionals' very busy lives. I also think this format could be useful for training groups at a company in the sense that they can have a weekly/monthly department meeting where everyone gets in and gets their hands dirty on elearning industry topics, and gets to see the points of view that are out there.

Mark Sylvester said...

As a participant and a presenter, I must say that I continue to love this online/micro/virtual format a lot. Several things that fascinate me and challenge me also help me hone my skills at multitasking. Following the twitterstream, the chat, the live audio and the whiteboard is a challenge - but a good one. It has me 150% engaged, so I turn off mail and the browsers so I can focus - but I have to say it was hard doing this for the three hours I dedicated to it. For the rest of the day I went into audio mode and it was like listening to live radio, which was interesting, but I must say, unless focused, it was hard to follow. Occasionally I would look at the chat window - but after a while I found that I needed to focus on other tasks and even the audio had to go.

My suggestion: Keep it to three hours. Keep presos to 10 min with 5 min for robust QA. Really play to the visual aspect with audience interaction - that was really engaging. Ask more questions of the audience, we learn a lot that way

Can't wait for the next one.

Tony Karrer said...

Paul and Mark - thanks for the input and suggestions! I'm certainly leaning towards your ideas Mark.