Taking conferences online: The Virtual Learning Show
Online conferences are a good way to combine workload with self-development, Jo Cook says
Online events of all types are increasing - meetings through Skype, Google Circles and other in-house technology, as well as the plethora of free and paid-for webinars available for professional development and marketing. At the same time individuals and organisations can often not afford the ticket, accommodation prices and time away from work for some of the larger L&D conferences, or in some cases even the free exhibitions.
One alternative is the Virtual Learning Show, a two day global online conference, summer and winter, hosted independently by Colin Steed, author of the Facilitating Online Learning book and the chief executive of the Learning and Performance Institute.
The background and connections of Steed bring a wide variety of international learning experts to deliver topics focused on best practise and sharing experiences of designing and developing interactive and collaborative live online learning events.
For the winter 2013 event there were a number of L&D experts, including Clive Shepherd, Kassy LaBorie, Julie Dirksen, Mike Collins, David Smith and Karen Hyder - all delivering different aspects about online learning and the use of the online classroom. Subjects ranged from developing a community, through to using more than just PowerPoint and focusing on the tools available in the software for online classes and evaluation.
Best practice was followed to create a participative online conference. This is something people who aren't used to online learning often question - about how to attend a 'virtual' conference. There are chat windows, microphones opened for questions and discussion, excellent visuals to explain concepts as well as interesting, experienced delivery.
The sessions were an hour each with a half hour break in between, allowing time to refresh yourself as well as follow up on Twitter, make your notes or online bookmarks and get ready for the next session. Or not! One of the strengths of the online conference is you can dip out of a session if the write-up doesn't interest you and it's a good way to combine workload with self-development. You are also able, for just £10, to view all of the recordings later. It's a different way to attend a conference, network and get involved in a specific topic and one that's going to be more important as online learning increases.
Read more and sign-up free for the summer 2014 event when dates are announced: http://virtuallearningshow.com/
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