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The eLearning Guild Celebrates 100 Online Forums!

by Jennifer Neibert

November 14, 2012


by Jennifer Neibert

November 14, 2012

This December, The eLearning Guild celebrates its 100th Online Forum. More than 600 speakers have contributed to almost 800 individual sessions. Register now for Online Forum #100—mLearning: Making Learning Mobile—and you could win one of three eLearning Guild memberships!

On December 6 and 7, 2012, The eLearning Guild will present its 100th Online Forum. This incredible milestone marks the delivery of nearly 800 individual sessions by more than 600 expert presenters, covering the newest tools, strategies, and trends in eLearning.

What is an Online Forum?

Online Forums presented by The eLearning Guild are two-day, 10-session online conferences focused on current industry topics. Each session lasts 75 minutes and emphasizes practical and relevant information that participants can put to work immediately. Registration in an Online Forum allows participants to attend synchronous sessions in a live virtual classroom or access an on-demand recording of the event as their schedules allow. Participants also have access to an Event Resource Page, including session recordings, handouts, and other supporting materials for one year after the event.

Topical agendas for each forum are built around community experts sharing eLearning knowledge, expertise, and advice with their peers. The topics are selected based on input from forum attendees, research surveys, and eLearning Guild member feedback. The breadth and depth of forum content is designed to appeal to a broad range of skills and job levels within the eLearning industry. New practitioners, experienced designers and developers, and eLearning managers can all gather relevant and useful information from the forums. During each session, participants contribute and interact with the presenter and one another using various tools within the software platform, occasionally leading to networking and collaboration opportunities after the session.  

According to David Holcombe, president and CEO of The eLearning Guild, Online Forums truly exemplify the power of the Guild community. The first Online Forums were produced in 2004. Since that debut, 629 unique speakers have presented at Online Forums. That fact alone, says Holcombe, is “core to who the Guild is and what the Guild does” as a community of practice. Heidi Fisk, the Guild’s executive vice president, echoes those sentiments. With such a diverse mix of individuals within the Guild community, presenters are able to bring fresh perspectives and the latest research to Online Forum participants. The best Online Forum presenters are known for their ability to speak about the most up-to-the-minute topics and trends with a critical blend of intelligence and real-world practicality.

David Anderson

Ruth Clark

Paul Clothier

Joe Ganci

Karen Hyder

Ray Jimenez

David Metcalf

Mark Oehlert

Clark Quinn

Anita Rosen

Brent Schlenker

Patti Shank

Reuben Tozman



Figure 1: The eLearning Guild thanks its most popular Online Forum presenters!

Several factors set Guild Online Forums apart from other eLearning industry events:

  • Learning and knowledge transfer are paramount. Marketing or promotion of a service or product is not allowed during the forums.
  • Online Forums are not one-off events. They are thought-out online conferences, built around a strong history and solid schedule, offering a robust look at the industry. Forum presenters share best practices relevant to today’s realities, with a look to trends and influences that will impact the eLearning field in the future.
  • Online Forums are professionally hosted and moderated, and presenters undergo three coaching sessions prior to the live session. The coaching sessions focus on:
    1. Software immersion, so that presenters become familiar with the delivery platform and solutions to common technical challenges.
    2. Instructional design, so that presenters can tailor their presentation materials to the online environment.
    3. A “dress rehearsal,” so that presenters can walk through the actual session to ensure they are comfortable prior to the live event.

Karen Hyder, the online event host and speaker coach for The eLearning Guild, believes that the coaching presenters receive beforehand, along with active moderation from several Guild staff during the sessions, leads to consistently successful Online Forums. She encourages presenters in the online environment to apply techniques and skills from a face-to-face classroom to foster interaction and participation from the group. And in case of technical glitches, audio problems, and the like, Hyder and her Guild colleagues are working behind the scenes during each and every session to ensure as few interruptions as possible.

Chris Benz, the Guild’s director of online events, points to the format of each Online Forum as part of the long-term success of the programming. Each forum has 75-minute opening and closing sessions to set the stage around the specific topic. These sessions focus on the big picture and define context for the participants, with an eye on relevant trends and looking toward the future. The eight remaining sessions are divided into two concurrent tracks, each representing a different look at the overall forum topic. Participants can choose the sessions most relevant to their own interests and work, and can view the other sessions on-demand from the Online Forum Archive. To date, 798 session recordings are available on-demand.

Figure 2: The eLearning Guild Celebrates its 100th Online Forum

What the Guild is offering in celebration

To celebrate the 100th Online Forum, The eLearning Guild is giving away three Member-Plus memberships to individuals who register and attend mLearning: Making Learning Mobile. The drawing will be held at the end of the event on December 7, 2012. You do not need to be present to win; winners will be notified via email. For more information about the registration details, and to download the free eBook for this Online Forum—61 Tips on mLearning: Making Learning Mobilego to The eLearning Guild website.

Call to action

Are you ready to join The eLearning Guild in the 100th Online Forum celebration? If so, be sure to add the following to your to-do list:

What makes the Online Forums a true success is the eLearning Guild community itself. The members of the community who contribute expertise, share knowledge, and offer ideas in Online Forums challenge their peers to think about eLearning in new and different ways—ways that ultimately lead to better learning experiences for everyone.

Looking ahead, the subject matter and the topical focus of the Online Forums will evolve along with the eLearning industry. And as history has shown, The eLearning Guild community will be on the forefront of this ever-changing field, leveraging the power of more than 55,000 members who learn with—and from—one another.

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