Tag: virtual

L&D conferences in Australia in 2023

Has our conference attendance rate returned to pre-pandemic levels?

I’m not sure.

I attended several last year, and while there seemed to be plenty of attendees at each one, most combined L&D with HR to bump up the numbers. Which is fine, given they’re allied professions, so long as the content pitched to the latter doesn’t squeeze out the value sought by the former.

Another gripe I feel compelled to share is the spectre of sales emails and even phone calls following attendance. The barrage I received after one particular event was so voluminous that I’ve vowed never to attend it again.

On a more positive note, one event that I am looking forward to attending again is the L&D + HR Symposium in the glorious Hunter Valley. If you’ll be there too, do let me know.

I’m also delighted to see an event being hosted in Darwin this year. It’s a top spot (no pun intended) and an exotic change of scenery from the east coast!

Aerial view of Darwin, Australia.

Conference List

The details of the following events may change, so please check the latest information on their websites.

International Conference on Virtual and Augmented Reality Simulations
Sydney, 3-5 March 2023

Learning Impact Summit
Gold Coast, 9-10 March 2023

NZATD Conference
Auckland, 15-16 March 2023

iDesignX
Sydney, 22 March 2023

THETA
Brisbane, 16-19 April 2023

Learning & Development Leadership Summit
Melbourne, 11-12 May 2023

L&D Summit Australia
Sydney, 21-22 June 2023

HERDSA
Brisbane, 4-7 July 2023

L&D + HR Symposium
Hunter Valley, 1-2 August 2023

EduTECH
Melbourne, 24-25 August 2023

Eportfolio Forum
Darwin & Virtual, 11-12 October 2023

Learning & Development Leadership Summit
Sydney, ? October 2023

L&D Innovation & Tech Fest
Sydney, 15-16 November 2023

LearnX
Melbourne, 21-22 November 2023

If you’re aware of another L&D conference down under,
please share a link via a comment below…

L&D conferences in Australia in 2022

Little did I know in March last year that the Learning & Development Leadership Summit would be the only in-person event that I would attend until the L&D Symposium in November!

The summit was held in downtown Sydney – energised by the hustle and bustle of the city, and convenient to boot.

In contrast, the symposium was held in the gorgeous Hunter Valley – far enough away from the bright lights to be a hassle to get to, but free of the daily distractions of “work” – allowing us to relax, focus, and engage in an immersive learning experience.

Virus permitting, I’m looking forward to attending both the summit and the symposium again this year. Plus I hope a few more events, maybe even interstate…

Landscape of a rolling vineyard in the Hunter Valley

NOTE: The details of the following events may change. Please check the latest information via the links provided.

Future Work Summit
Adelaide, 9-10 March 2022

International Conference on Virtual and Augmented Reality Simulations
Brisbane, 25-27 March 2022

Disruptive Innovation Summit
Sydney, 29-31 March 2022

Learning & Development Leadership Summit
Melbourne, 5-6 April 2022

AITD Conference
Virtual, 6-7 April 2022

iDesignX
Virtual, 1-2 June 2022

L&D Summit Australia
Sydney, 22-23 June 2022

HERDSA Conference
Virtual & Melbourne, 27-30 June 2022

L&D + HR Symposium
Hunter Valley, 2-3 August 2022

EduTECH
Melbourne, 10-11 August 2022

Learning & Development Leadership Summit
Sydney, 20-21 October 2022

Eportfolio Forum
Virtual & Melbourne, 26-27 October 2022

L&D Innovation & Tech Fest
Sydney, 8-9 November 2022

LearnX
Virtual, 23-24 November 2022

ASCILITE
Virtual & Sydney, 4-7 December 2022

If you’re aware of another L&D conference down under, let me know!

Digital Learning conferences in Australia in 2021

Let’s try that again.

Just as we were gearing up for another year’s worth of cutting edge insights and showcases, the coronavirus had other ideas.

While some of the digital learning conferences I had listed for 2020 went ahead as planned, others pivoted to virtual delivery, while the rest were ironically postponed or cancelled.

In this country we are confident in vaccination and elimination, so the following events are expected to proceed this year.

Coffee mug next to a laptop featuring numerous attendees in an online meeting

EDIT: The ongoing pandemic may affect these events. Please refer to each event’s website for more information.

iDESIGNX
Virtual, 24-25 February 2021

Disruptive Innovation Summit
Sydney, 17-19 March 2021

International Conference on Virtual and Augmented Reality Simulations
Melbourne, 20-22 March 2021

Learning & Development Leadership Summit
Sydney, 23-24 March 2021

Higher Education Research and Development Society of Australasia Conference
Brisbane, 7-10 July 2021

Learning & Development Leadership Summit
Melbourne, 27-28 July 2021

EduTECH / Learn@Work
Virtual, 17-18 August 2021

Eportfolio Forum
Virtual & Sydney, 20-21 October 2021

AITD Conference
Virtual & Melbourne, 27-28 October 2021

LearnX Live! Awards
Virtual, 17 November 2021

HR Innovation & Tech Fest
Sydney, 9-10 November 2021

TECHSPO
Sydney, 24-25 November 2021

Future Work APAC Summit
Adelaide, 24-25 November 2021

L&D Symposium
Hunter Valley, 25-26 November 2021

ASCILITE
Armidale, 29 November – 1 December 2021

EdTechPosium
Canberra, 10 December 2021

This list will grow over time as more events are announced.

If you become aware of another one, let me know and I’ll add it in!

Transformers

It seems like everyone’s spruiking the “new normal” of work.

The COVID-19 pandemic is keeping millions of previously office-bound employees at home, forcing L&D professionals to turn on a dime.

Under pressure to maintain business continuity, our profession has been widely congratulated for its herculean effort in adapting to change.

I’m not so generous.

Our typical response to the changing circumstances appears to have been to lift and shift our classroom sessions over to webinars.

In The next normal, which I published relatively early during lockdown, several of my peers and I recognised the knee-jerk nature of this response.

And that’s not really something that ought to be congratulated.

Who led the digital transformation of your company? The CEO (incorrect), The CTO (incorrect), COVID-19 (correct)

For starters, the virus exposed a shocking lack of risk management on our part. Digital technology is hardly novel, and our neglect in embracing it left us unprepared for when we suddenly needed it.

Look no further than the Higher Education sector for a prime example. They’re suffering a free-fall in income from international students, despite the consensus that people can access the Internet from other countries.

Beyond our misgivings with technology, moreover, the virus has also shone a light on our pedagogy. The broadcast approach that we deliver virtually today is largely a continuation of our practice pre-pandemic. It wasn’t quite right then, and it isn’t quite right now. In fact, isolation, digital distractions and Zoom fatigue probably make it worse.

I feel this is important to point out because the genie is out of the bottle. Employee surveys reveal that the majority of us either don’t want to return to the office, or we’ll want to split our working week at home. That means while in-person classes can resume, remote learning will remain the staple.

So now is our moment of opportunity. In the midst of the crisis, we have the moral authority to mature our service offering. To innovate our way out of the underwhelming “new normal” and usher in the modern “next normal”.

In some cases that will mean pivoting away from training in favour of more progressive methodologies. While I advocate these, I also maintain that direct instruction is warranted under some circumstances. So instead of joining the rallying cry against training per se, I propose transforming it so that it becomes more efficient, engaging and effective in our brave new world.

Transformer-style toy robot

Good things come in small packages

To begin, I suggest we go micro.

So-called “bite sized” pieces of content have the dual benefit of not only being easier to process from a cognitive load perspective, but also more responsive to the busy working week.

For example, if we were charged with upskilling our colleagues across the business in Design Thinking, we might kick off by sharing Chris Nodder’s 1.5-minute video clip in which he breaks the news that “you are not your users”.

This short but sweet piece of content piques the curiosity of the learner, while introducing the concept of Empathize in the d.school’s 5-stage model.

We’re all in this together

Next, I suggest we go social.

Posting the video clip to the enterprise social network seeds a discussion, by which anyone and everyone can share their experiences and insights, and thus learn from one another.

It’s important to note that facilitating the discussion demands a new skillset from the trainer, as they shift their role from “sage on the stage” to “guide on the side”.

It’s also important to note that the learning process shifts from synchronous to asynchronous – or perhaps more accurately, semi-synchronous – empowering the learner to consume the content at a time that is most convenient for them (rather than for the L&D department).

There is no try

Next, I suggest we go practical.

If the raison d’être of learning & development is to improve performance, then our newly acquired knowledge needs to be converted into action.

Follow-up posts on the social network shift from the “what” to the “how”, while a synchronous session in the virtual classroom enables the learner to practise the latter in a safe environment.

Returning to our Design Thinking example, we might post content such as sample questions to ask prospective users, active listening techniques, or an observation checklist. The point of the synchronous session then is to use these resources – to stumble and bumble, receive feedback, tweak and repeat; to push through the uncomfortable process we call “learning” towards mastery.

It’s important to recognise the class has been flipped. While time off the floor will indeed be required to attend it, it has become a shorter yet value-added activity focusing on the application of the knowledge rather than its transmission.

Again, it’s also important to note that facilitating the flipped class demands a new skillset from the trainer.

A journey of a thousand miles

Next, I suggest we go experiential.

Learning is redundant if it fails to transfer into the real world, so my suggestion is to set tasks or challenges for the learner to do back on the job.

Returning to our Design Thinking example, we might charge the learner with empathising with a certain number of end users in their current project, and report back their reflections via the social network.

In this way our return on investment begins immediately, prior to moving on to the next stage in the model.

Pics or it didn’t happen

Finally, I suggest we go evidential.

I have long argued in favour of informalising learning and formalising its assessment. Bums on seats misses the point of training which, let’s remind ourselves again, is to improve performance.

How you learned something is way less interesting to me than if you learned it – and the way to measure that is via assessment.

Returning to our Design Thinking example, we need a way to demonstrate the learner’s mastery of the methodology in a real-world context, and I maintain the past tense of open badges fits the bill.

In addition to the other benefits that badges offer corporates, the crux of the matter is that a badge must be earned.

Informalise learning. Formalise its assessment.

I am cognisant of the fact that my proposal may be considered heretical in certain quarters.

The consumption of content on the social network, for example, may be difficult to track and report. But my reply is “so what” – we don’t really need to record activity so why hide it behind the walls of an LMS?

If the openness of the training means that our colleagues outside of the cohort learn something too, great! Besides, they’ll have their own stories to tell and insights to share, thereby enriching the learning experience for everyone.

Instead it is the outcome we need to focus on, and that’s formalised by the assessment. Measure what matters, and record that in the LMS.

In other words, the disruptive force of the COVID-19 pandemic is an impetus for us to reflect on our habits. The way it has always been done is no substitute for the way it can be done better.

Our moment has arrived to transform our way out of mode lock.

E-Learning conferences in Australia in 2020

The iconic “2020” has dawned.

What does it mean for digital learning?

Let’s find out…

Sydney Opera House at night

EDIT: The COVID-19 pandemic may affect these events. Please refer to the event’s website for more information.

International Conference on E-Learning and Distance Learning
Sydney, 30-31 January 2020

International Conference on Virtual and AR Simulations
Sydney, 14-16 February 2020

Blended Learning & Innovation Summit
Sydney, 24-27 February 2020

iDESIGNX
Sydney, 26 February 2020

AITD Conference
Online, 17-18 March 2020

International Conference on Mobile Learning Technology and Online Education
Online, 26-27 March 2020

International Conference on Education and E-Learning
Online, 8-9 May 2020

Melbourne Learning Summit
Online, 18 June 2020

The Learning Conference
Online, 3-5 August 2020

Future Work Summit
Online, 3 September 2020

LearnX Live
Online, 16-17 September 2020

EdTEchSA State Conference
Online, 29 September 2020

Online & e-Learning Summit
Online, 27-29 October 2020

Learn@Work
Online, 9-10 November 2020

Learning & Development Leadership Summit
Sydney, 9-10 November 2020

L&D Innovation & Tech Fest
Online, 7-11 December 2020

If you’re aware of another Australian conference relevant to e-learning professionals, please let me know and I’ll add it to the list!