August 19th, 2015 Business

collaborative-meetingNo matter what profession you are in chances are you are aware of its various industry conferences.

In fact these kind of events are becoming more and more popular today. By way of example, WordPress dedicated conferences (“WordCamps”) are popping up all over the country.

Spin-off conferences have also emerged, such as:

  • PressNomics
  • LoopConf
  • WooConf
  • WordCampus
  • YoastCon

The elearning industry also has its fair share of conferences. Some of the more popular include:

  • DevLearn
  • Learning Solutions
  • mLearnCon
  • Training Conference & Expo
  • Online Learning Conference

It seems like every industry and niche within that industry has its own conference.

While these conferences are great for learning and networking they do take both financial and time commitments. In the case of the elearning conferences, this could set you back nearly $1,000 for the ticket price alone!

Some companies will pay for their employee’s tickets and travel – lucky them! For others the price-point, travel, and accommodation costs don’t justify participation.

Which made me wonder, why not have an elearning conference that is 100% online?

We’ve seen this done with success in other industries. In WordPress, there is a 24 hour conference that takes place online called WordSesh. It’s free for people to attend and they get to choose which talks they would like to watch. Participants can live chat with one another during the presentations and pose questions to the presenters.

This concept could very well work in the elearning space. It doesn’t have to be 24 straight hours, it could simply start off as a webinar series.

Many of the complicated logistics associated with putting on a conference are removed, which essentially removes the need for admission payment for participants (or at the very least a significant decrease in price).

The pieces are in place as I know that there are a variety of regular webinars related to elearning today. All it takes is someone to consolidate these into an exciting, information filled day and then market it to the rest of the industry.

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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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Hi Justin – Sounds like a great idea! If some momentum develops around it from several vendors, I’m sure it would draw a lot of participants. I expect there are some best practices for this kind of thing from the various WordPress online ‘camps’. I attended one focusing on WordPress in higher ed that was very valuable, and recently took in a session or two from one focusing on the Genesis WordPress theme.

That sounds great!!! I would definately participate!!! I have very little time to travel to a conference, especially my entire 7 member team. I would love to give them the option for free to go to a couple of talks throughout the work day.

Avatar CaCatherine Beggs-Hinkson

My business partners and I have done some pioneering work with virtual conferences starting in 2007. At the time nothing like this had been done. In our first year we had 8,000 registrants and we are still going with about 20,000 registrants this year. Next year we are going to produce a conference in another niche and will experimenting with the learndash plugin to administer it all.

Congratulations on your success Eric! We are looking into this further (from an elearning perspective). Glad to hear the model is a viable one.

I’ve thought about this topic many times and think it would be a huge success. I would be willing to be on a planning group if there are others that would like to plan this too. There are many audiences that would benefit from this such as the education sector, those that teach for entrepreneurial reasons, etc. So the online conference could have a niched down focus as well (only entrepreneurs, or only education sector people, etc.).

Thanks for the comment Jeff. I’ve noted you as having interest and will reach out as we get further along with this idea.

There was an online conference using Elluminate several years ago put on by Tony Karrer and Jay Cross, among others. It was pretty successful.

Conference Overview

Great idea since we have to first come out of pocket before being reimbursed for things like this! #1 reason why we don’t attend the conferences; simply over a personal budget for me and or my training team. Since I have to justify every penny; an online conference cost would also be heavily scrutinized by accounting.

Avatar Don

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