aLearning Blog

Online Learning for Trade Associations

Posts Tagged ‘conferences’

Just Wait Till Next Year

Posted by Ellen on June 27, 2011

Looking for the latest aLearning post? Sorry… you’ll have to wait a year. Maybe two. There’s a waiting list and you’re now at the bottom of it.

What?!?!? Of course I’m kidding. You’re obviously reading the latest post…

… so here’s another one:

Let’s say you’ve discovered a new organization that’s a great fit for you. You get your credit card ready and click the option that says Become A Member, but when the screen comes up it says, “Sorry. We’re booked up. We now have a waiting list and it will take at least a year before we have room to include you. Please fill out this form to add your name to that list.”

What?!?!? They don’t want your money?!? They don’t want you to join?!? You don’t need them in a year, you need them now! You want those benefits! You NEED those benefits of membership!

You’d never do that to your members, would you? You’d never make them wait to join — you’d never make them wait to become active participants in your learning programs, would you?

Of course you would. You already do! You do it any time you have a waiting list for a program. Anytime you have limited seating for a much-desired educational program means you’re telling your members they aren’t as important as your way of doing things is.

Don’t pretend that’s not what’s going on. You might THINK you’re not guilty of this, but you are.

Let’s say you’ve run out of milk and when you get to the grocery store, their dairy racks aren’t only empty, they’re strung with signs that say, “You’ll be able to get the milk you need in a year. We appreciate your patience.”

Patience my butt!

So what do you do? You go to the next grocery and get your milk there, right?

Of course you do. Anybody would.

Our members are the same way. They want what they want when they want it. They need what they need when they need it.

They’re on THEIR schedule.

Yet our learning offerings are on OUR schedule, not theirs.

Why are you making your members wait? Why are you insisting they follow your schedule, rather than provide training and education on theirs?

Too many options, you say? Posh and potato mashers, I say!

That’s what 24/7/365 online learning is all about. Providing training so your organization’s members can access it on their time. Not yours.

Don’t make them wait. Look at every program you have with a waiting list. Every concurrent educational session at your national conference that’s had standing room only crowds.

Now start figuring out how to offer those online so more members can experience them — soon.

Next year could be too late.

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Posted in aLearning Strategies, aLearning Trends, Learning in General | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Surfboarding, Yes. Skateboarding, Yes. But Whiteboarding?!?

Posted by Ellen on October 21, 2010

If you’ve listened to or read the transcript of the conversation I had with Jeff Cobb, you heard us discussing whiteboards and my comment that I’ve been surprised not to see more associations using these, especially with the recent emphasis on making face-to-face events more interactive. (You can download a free transcript here, thank to Tagoras!)

Here’s some of the information aLearning discovered as we looked a little closer at their use and at some of the products available.

According to the Wainhouse Research Segment Report, “The Distance Education an e-Learning Landscape, Vol. 3: Interactive Whiteboards, Web Conferencing, and Synchronous Web Tools” (Executive Summary, December 2009):

  • Web conferencing will continue to grow at about 11.5% (compound annual growth rate), from a $678.1 million industry in 2009 to $1.16 billion in 2014. Web conferencing dominates corporate training, though its use in virtual schools and universities is also widespread.
  • Primary whiteboard use is within classroom teaching, with corporate staff development and training the second application in the US. Interactive whiteboards have been adopted to a larger degree in the UK; other countries are also using interactive whiteboarding at a higher rate than in the US in general. Wainhouse expects the interactive whiteboard market to grow overall from $886.5 million in 2009 to $1.98 billion in 2014, at a compound annual growth rate of 17.5%.

With so many current K-12 students actively participating in interactive whiteboard learning, isn’t it time we started investigating what it could add as another tool in our toolbox?

More hardware technology than software for the Web, these products allow “chalkboard” writing with the added advantage of capturing the content of the whiteboard digitally, so (with some systems) you can send it or post it via the Web.

As with so many products like this, pricing is hard to come by online, and it seems as though you have to start with certain pieces and add to them if you’re starting from scratch.

From what we could tell, the “eraser-size” piece that seems to be the key to making it all work is around $1000; other parts/pieces might also need to be added at additional cost. Pieces that seem to be universally required include:

  • LCD projector
  • Whiteboard screen (or surface that allows for annotation)
  • Whiteboard-enabling device, which could be an “eraser-sized” device for mounting to the side of an existing whiteboard or surface
  • Electronic markers or computer pad for making annotations

Some systems also include “clickers” for student responses to onscreen content such as quizzes, puzzles, games, and other interactions.

Here are some interactive whiteboard options to check out (the full Wainhouse report includes profiles and information on whiteboard and Web conferencing companies; reports are available via http://www.wainhouse.com for $1495):

  • Promethean: start here for a good overview of what an interactive whiteboard can do

Take a look around — and if you’re using one, please let us know! We’d love to hear about your experiences using this technology!

Note to vendors — When you revise your Web content, ask people who don’t know about your product to take a look… you are not as clear about what your products are and what they do as you think. “Your classroom can be more interactive and collaborative with this product” doesn’t tell us a thing. I came to the topic of “interactive whiteboards” with the image of how whiteboards work in Web conferencing systems… and thought that your companies produced something similar — i.e., SW application rather than HW. Your descriptions didn’t help.

Clearly your Web site marketing info is directed to those who are repeat customers or those who are otherwise familiar with your products. If you want to reach into other markets — trade and professional associations, for example — then including a “what this does and how it works and where to start” section on your sites would be very helpful.

Posted in Conferences, Learning in General | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »