eLearning Conference – Converge 2012 – Friday 23 November 2012

To Infinity and Beyond [Michelle Lomman, Ian Rorke from Chisholm Institute]

This presentation was about an initiative set up to create a community aimed to take the fear out of eLearning.

The problem: There was a body of educators reluctant to engage in the online environment.

The first thoughts were:

“The first thing we had to do was to find a way to engage them – and we had to make sure that it was going to be stimulating. (That is, not add it to their workload and expect it to happen). It also had to be inclusive because they set up things before and people thought that they had to have some prior experience or knowledge. It also had to be achievable in little bits – not to hit them with too much, they simply won’t remember it! Also, they all work at different times and different locations so the solution had to be accessible to many people as possible. And it had to be fun.”


To support eLearning practitioners of any skill level by providing a community that encourages exploration of eLearning approaches.

How Did We Do This?

1. Set up a Stimulating Environment but it was not the SAME location as their classroom, or staff room or near their office – so chose cafe style environments; cafes, restaurants in the local area

2. Timing: all educators had different timings therefore decided a meetings that were rolling; eg Mon; Tues; Wed so that every one had an opportunity to attend. All events usually ran from 1700-1900 but they also did some lunch time events. So inclusivity was important.

3. We were aware of the language we used, “Events NOT Meetings”; “Members NOT Participants”

4. Delivery: short, sharp with a running sheet. Coffee, food, networking first; then introduce session and next into a guest speaker. Strict timings of guest speaker so that there was plenty of Q&A; tips and tricks. Invited teachers and educators to share one little thing about what they learned – and it had to be something digital. What they found that people didn’t think that they were doing e-learning but they did. It dispelled myths and wrong expectations about what they were not doing.

The secret to the events (they ran 19 so far) was the speed that they moved; and it was tightly scheduled and intensive so that it kept peoples engagement; and tips and tricks were small bites of information that they could immediately use back in the workplace. Then there was some ‘challenge’ presented so that they can work on something and engage them so they didn’t just sit there and listen – it was active for everyone. There was also a relaxed environment with open discussion. Simple rewards were also used such as chocolates for contributing to the conversation.

5. It’s not about the eLearning Organisers – it’s about the group. Never made the events about the organisers – it was about the members.

6. Presenters shared things like Adobe; Evernote Apps; they also encourage free stuff so it was achievable; visual design and not focus on technology but engagement.

7. The Lapel Pin. It recognises other member and you have a talking point. You can only become a member by attending an event. Ron, mentioned that he wore his pin and at a site visit one day, a client saw the pin and struck up a conversation and managed to score a contract for an elearning design job. Therefore, this pin then works as a marketing tool.

8. The Name. ERA – a period of time marked by a specific character – eLearning Resource Association.

How did eRA launch their event?

a. Invite the CEO to the event

b. Ensure CEO gets the first pin!

c. Invite current eLearning users to share their story

d. Ensure you have engagement with technology tools [short video of promotion; QR codes; that sells the benefits of eLearning]

e. Give them food and coffee (key ingredient)

f. Provide door prizes

g. Get the word out….

Marketing and Promotion

Got the word out using The Rocket. 50’s style sci-fi comic rocket as the logo but wouldn’t use electronic message to the invitation – they used posters instead because people get flooded with emails. It was sent to everyone in their normal ‘snail mail’ letter box and they got a full house at the launch!

So they deliberately used “old fashioned” communication media for something different, novel and innovative and managed to get a full house on the launch!

Main communication material:

1. Printed material (not digital – because it was unexpected and of out the corporate branding – it was different and stood out!)

2. Got sponsorship for some competitions

3. Competitions with prizes to come to Converge12 (or other PD opportunities)

The Invitations to the Event:

  • No boring text in invite
  • They used a creative King Arthur storyline about the invitation to the eRA event. Or used Tom Thumb or Lost in Space Danger Wil Robinson; Pirate Swashbuckling Adventure – and got them immediately interested and engaged!
  • Quirky invitations
  • Invitations were personalised – member names were mentioned in them.

Post Event

  • After the event, a short poll to ensure improvement in future (they used Poll Daddy)

Key Messages for this Presentation for Me:

  • Approach things in a completely different way to get people engaged immediately.
  • Surprise them!
  • Seek sponsorship


eLearning Resource Association


eRA Base


Poll Daddy



Video – Creating it, Accessing It and Using it On a Trainer’s Budget [Robyn Archer from Training Snippets]

Robyn’s prior experience in Connex (Melbourne Trains) was to shift from classroom to online and wanted to use video so people were comfortable with this but the more they got into it, they saw that there were so few videos available that suited their purpose. Most were too long; or had a story around it which was unsuitable to their needs; or not suited to their work environment and too expensive. So training budget was spent on one or two training videos – not sustainable and highly frustrating for her.

She wanted to solve the issue of how to use video in a way that we as trainers can afford it and how companies can afford it.

Robyn chatted to eWorks and considered YouTube as a solution but there were massive issues such as companies will not allow access to it. YouTube has a lot of ‘what not to do’ but Robyn wanted videos on ‘how to do…’

What about iPhone video? But the quality is really poor. But now starting to say that it is okay to have iPhone video especially when teaching someone. If you’re going to do vision with iPhone and iPad – do it well – quality is important; and how to work with your clients about accessing it within corporate restrictions.

Top Tips for Videoing with your iPhone, iPad and Tablet…more on website (see Links below)

1. Use a tripod to prevent shakes, “handheld is NO!”(as it annoys viewer; disengages)

2. If you are hand holding a camera always stay zoomed wide. If you need to get a closer shot, don’t zoom in. Stop recording, walk closer to your subject, start the filming. (This will take time in filming but a better quality and less shaking occurs).

3. If you’re shooting someone to camera remember the microphone is on the camera, so don’t set up too far away from the subject. Too far away, the audio will sound like you’re in a huge hall. Do sound checks.

4. Before you start to film, look around the room for the best position to film. Pay attention to where the person is going to be standing or sitting. Don’t put someone in front of a bright window, they’ll end up being silhouetted as the camera will expose for the window. It is best to put the window behind you this way the window helps the light the subject.

5. When framing your subject in a shot don’t have too much room in the frame above a person’s head. It makes them look small and the frame feels uncomfortable for the audience.

What are We Trying to Create?

What is the message in what we are trying to do because everyone is used to a video saying a story. However, point of video is not the story – it’s the key message related to your topic.

Think carefully on what you want people to focus on. You don’t need a story just because it’s video. Video what you want to instruct – don’t waste your time building up a story.

Why? Because in a facilitator led session, the facilitator usually sets the scene anyway then shows the film to that point. We are not story telling.

Training Snippets is a company just using video snippets like iStock – but just video. Companies are putting videos more often. Their snippets also lock in and blend into their current training and through PDAs; or pieces to camera with managers to send out messages to staff to their PDAs. But in order to do this, you need a platform to do it on.

What are some suggestions for a Platform to use it on?

  • An app was released yesterday called Divi-Me which sends a piece of video to someone else who also has that app but you choose how long it stays on; and who views it. It is a person to person app.
  • Vidcorp – a platform
  • iSystemise – LMS that holds video and PDF documents



Scale and VET, Massive Delivery in the Age of MOOCs and the NBN [Howard Errey, Michael Coghlan, eWorks and TAFE SA]

Open discussion of MOOCs into VET

Discussed that there are two types of MOOCs:

(1) Highly structured courses in LMS about delivering to many people as possible….xMOOC

(2) Connectivism related course – “we wont teach you everything; but you will learn from each other” – create an environment to enhance and enable the learning…knowledge in the networks.

(eg Continuing Future of Higher Education through Desire2Learn)….cMooc

But you need to have an internal motivation to do a MOOC.

Important to distinguish between the two – cMOOC vs xMOOC

VET – has a wide range of different learners – could it happen? should it happen? would you be happy to do it in your organisation? do you want to give away your content?

Discussion centred around the above questions. Ultimately, “It will not go away but what we do is up to us!”


Migrating Offline Pedagogy into the Online Environment – Julian Ridden

Why Online Education is Failing and How We Should be Taking What We Learned from Face to Face Teaching and Putting it Online.

Or in short….Migrating offline pedagogy into the online classroom

What works in F2F?

  • The room you’re in matters
  • Schools in the 60s-70s were built with the ‘prison’ model A Block, B Block with high fences around them – if learners were intimated and oppressed, they’d be easier to teach!?
  • The Modern Classroom now is completely different – lots of open space, wheeled tables, electronic whiteboards, organisations spending lots of $$$ rebuilding their classrooms but why does this happen anyway?

Online Spaces:

Example of business branded Moodles showed they look like INTRANET! No, this is NOT exciting at all. Most eLearning looks like this! This is not designed for education – why are we designing eLearning that looks like an intranet?

Reconnecting Users:

Online learning fails because users are usually disconnected. Humans by their nature are social creatures. We create onlline spaces to isolate the user because they may talk to each other! – Social learning is a key criteria in the teaching practice.

Your course is full of people, not numbers, not assessment or analytics

Why do our courses fail? It’s because we, as educators, strip all of that out. Why not create a system where it encourages social learning and communicate together, share ideas and build knowledge?

“Contribute – Connect – Collaborate”

Why is academic relevance any more important than social relevance?

The Wisdom Is In the Group

Let them help each other so that students help each other.

The pedagogy of online and offline education is exactly the same – only the tools have changed. Just find a tool that matches the face-to-face practice to get the same result.

The Importance of Design

Design is important. We respond to design. Much of what we do is based on look and feel. So this is important in education design. But eLearning authors put engagement a distant second to academic rigour.

“The key to using any technology effectively is underpinning it with the right technology” – @vnarayan

Choose the right tool – NOT just because it’s FREE!

Use existing methodologies for online course delivery
For most of us our LMS and eLearning courses look like a PDF repository – PDF, document, document, quiz, PDF, PDF etc – is this a course?! Why do we do this? Why not consider….
  1. Problem Based Learning
  2. Narrative Based Learning
  3. Game Based Learning
  4. Reflective Practice

Example of how to make learning engaging through Narrative Based Learning – Zombie Based Learning

Used zombies to engage students with geography. He used Kickstarter to get funding to develop the tools.

Just because we have standards doesn’t mean we have to teach it in a standard way.

Not about creating a game narrative but rewarding mechanisms for what they are doing. Combination of problems based learning and narrative learning to create something that students want to walk through.

Julian used a demonstration of the above using Moodle but much can be done in other LMS – it’s about being creative about tweaking the conditions.

LMSs are teacher centred but Potfolios are student centred because the student decides on layout, target content, feedback by student and teacher and student decides when to share. (Mentioned Mahari for portfolio)

  • LMS: Evaluation
  • VLE: Transmission
  • PLE: Meditation
  • PLN: Acquisition

All these ideas highlight the importance of ENGAGEMENT. Create courseware the same way you do in the classroom – educational engagement to have students to query, trigger, enquire, test, create etc…Running eLearning takes as much time to create as F2F.



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Food Report

What can I say? Stocked up on some lovely Thai Beef salad and chips and then sat under a nice tree enjoying the peace and quiet. Then returned to go get some dessert as I couldn’t turn down the mini eclairs…

About Helen Blunden

My unique super power is that I see learning experiences in everything I do. #alwayslearning
This entry was posted in Development, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to eLearning Conference – Converge 2012 – Friday 23 November 2012

  1. Pingback: conVerge Notes | eWorks Blog

  2. gyanfinder says:

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