eLN Glasgow – Show your work

A couple of weeks ago we attended the eLearning Network Glasgow event ‘Show Your Work’. As my first eLN event and first event with Nice Media, the pressure was on (a slight exaggeration, but it’s always nice to make a good first impression). With Tom focused on his talk for the day, I was keen to meet some new people and get a feel for the latest L&D thinking especially with my new video production hat on.

The bigger L&D conferences like Learning Tech are great, but it’s always refreshing to mix it up with smaller events where the vibe is generally more collaborative and open, and it’s easier to engage with people. It’s always nice to feel like some of your ideas can be helpful to others in the learning community too. That said, I wanted to share some of the interesting tips I took away from the event.

“video is coming but not everyone is there yet”

  • My first thought of the day wasn’t eLearning related but I guess directly impacts how we learn through the day generally – starting the morning with a hotel breakfast is always a winner.

“Digging deep and challenging client assumptions is critical”

  • The first talk I went to focused on managing eLearning projects, from eCom Scotland. A great start to the day, it shared very practical, grounded tips on how to effectively manage projects. My highlight was the reminder to everyone that project management doesn’t have to be complex. In my previous role I managed eLearning product implementations and the core thing I always found that could veer your project seriously off track was not taking time to understand requirements from the beginning. Digging deep and challenging client assumptions is critical.
  • Networking doesn’t come naturally to all of us (including me) so when feeling awkward venture over to the hot drinks – as I’m pouring a coffee someone usually appears to chat to. Just be careful not to overdo it on the coffee and sit through the day in a caffeine-induced state.

“video can add much more value than just talking heads”

  • Talk 2 and Tom was up. I attended his first of the day (talks were rotated so speakers ran them 2 or 3 times) and it was great to see a full room of attendees eager to hear about video drama for learning. Some of the takeaways I gleaned from hearing everyone’s responses to video were:
    • eLearning agencies often have clients who want video but don’t have the budget for it so are put off – video is coming but not everyone is there yet
    • The perception of video is that you can do it yourself, and so organisations often shoot talking heads or basic interview pieces. There’s a place for these videos but I think we need to branch out and realise video can add much more value
    • Crafting video narratives and dramatic structures is a fantastic foundation for learning design and useful for all eLearning creators

“Do L&D understand the difference between jobs and careers?”

After lunch, the afternoon promised a mystery ‘unconference’ I was intrigued to discover before having to run off and catch a flight. Here’s what I learnt:

  • An ‘unconference’, which I Googled on the day, can be defined as ‘a loosely structured conference emphasizing the informal exchange of information and ideas between participants, rather than following a conventionally structured programme of events’. Now I’ve attended one I can safely say it’s a great activity for encouraging active participation and delegate-led discussion. It also challenges our very polite British attitudes by making us get up mid-chat and move onto another one if we’re bored.
  • During the unconference open space discussion, we talked about whether L&D understand the difference between jobs and careers. Chris Rock did a stand-up piece where he talks about it, and it was a very interesting topic to explore. I’m not sure we came to a conclusion other than agreeing that L&D should understand the difference, but it was a great chat.

There are so many industry events to attend throughout the year. Fiona McBride even curates them into a calendar. What I loved about this event was the willingness to share and a general unspoken sense that we can all learn a lot from each other, and it isn’t about stealing ideas or selling them. It’s about learning.

The eLN are hosting another event in November in London – hope to see you there!

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