I had the distinct pleasure of attending the Tagoras’ Learning • Technology • Design™ (LTD) a little more than a week ago, and I am still processing the plethora of information delivered via virtual conference.
Designed specifically for professionals in the business of education and professional development, the three-day event promised to “help attendees find new and better ways to engage learners and create lasting impact through the effective use of technology.”
Through educational sessions that featured an expertly curated selection of presenters and subject matter experts, the event kept its promise. From business models for selling elearning, to designing and facilitating social learning, to the ins and outs of technology integration, the conference was a one-stop shop for elearning strategy and implementation.
That being said, while it’s tough to break down the highlights (there were many), one of my favorite sessions was on using video to attract and convert prospective learners. Presented by Paul Gannon, of Thoughtcast Media, Gannon provided a practical approach to creating and promoting video content with a focus on mirroring the customer’s journey through the funnel – awareness, consideration, conversion – as well as other tips. For example, thought leader videos should not push the company or product, but instead address a problem while answering questions and proposing generic solutions. Testimonial videos? Great to have running in your conference booth.
Another worthwhile session was a case study in virtual conferencing. Maurine Kwende and Steve Gardner, of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), discussed the challenges and lessons in executing a successful virtual conference from their first in 2012 to present day. Struggling with a declining attendance and increasing costs, they decided to do something innovative and fun. So, following a member needs assessment and their own success delivering webinars and webcasts, they ventured into the virtual conference arena.
Benefits of this approach include the ability to expand reach beyond geographical borders, while accommodating individuals who may be unable to travel. This method can also be less financially risky and more agile. After developing a strategy that included best practices for their organization, such as 15-minute sponsor demos (also a feature at LTD), shorter and more focused events (three days or less), and testing the technology beforehand, for NHPCO, it was the right fit.