As with most ‘conferences’ there is always a mild expectation of being spoken at for several hours, by someone with the personality and emotional range of a Dalek.
A networking goldmine
Taking the concept that these events are more important for their delegate interaction aspect (networking goldmines), #LP2011 was billed as a ‘Community Day’ and organised to reflect this.
Apart from two initial presentations (Dr Andrew Larner talking on Sector Self Help and Kim Brown discussing the Role of HR and Training in Smart Councils), the event was workshop based.
Delegates could choose their ‘favourite’ topics and take part in that session (with enough flexibility, to allow delegates to change the session they attended).
Sessions on the day included subjects such as:
- Rollout and Delivery
- Engaging your Learners
- Proving E-learning Payback
- Training 3rd Sector Partners
- E-learning for Councillors and Governors
Hero story happiness
The joy of these sessions was that several of them were billed as Hero Stories and delivered by community members who have negotiated many of the challenges faced by other members.
For example, the session on Engaging your Learners was co-presented by Sue Wright, from Wolverhampton City Council, who was able to give her experiences of engaging the Council’s employees to access their e-Learning provision.
These insights, from those in other public sector organisations, helped the delegates to see how they can achieve the same results (or even better).
An insightful lunchtime
To ensure the learning and networking continued throughout the day, hosted lunch tables were available, at lunchtime (strangely enough) covering topics such as:
- Rollout and Delivery
- Big Society Learning
- Make Your DLE Friendly
- E-learning for Leader
These lunchtime sessions, though short (10mins each) were extremely useful and encouraged many a long discussion afterwards.
The sessions on Make you DLE Friendly and E-learning for Leaders (presented by Ben Jones and Wendy Kay, respectively) were very useful; Ben’s session made delegates re-evaluate the style of their DLE, whilst Wendy provided food-for-thought on how you can use E-learning to influence the development of your senior officers/leaders.
Free one-to-one sessions
Delegates were also afforded the opportunity to have one-to-one sessions with Learning Pool’s experts, providing support clinics for any issues they may have with using the Authoring Tool and DLE, or with Learner Engagement.
I was lucky enough to work with Wendy Kay from Learning Pool on my particular concerns around Learner Engagement; the session left me with ideas tumbling over each other, begging to be used.
Prestigious awards bestowed
For the last few years Learning Pool have presented Customer of the Year Awards and this year was no exception.
Wrexham CBC was fortunate enough to be nominated in one of the categories this year (Best Community Contributor 2011) and although we weren’t successful this year, the whole presentation process gave community members the drive to want to be on the stage next year.
Connected and enthused
In all, the event was one of the most useful ‘conferences’ I have ever attended; I made more connections from this one day than the last six official events I have attended and I have never come away from an event with as much enthusiasm as I did from this.