Virtual Learning Show Day 1

Posted on Nov 29, 2012

As mentioned in a previous blog post, I recently attended Day 1 of a 2-day Virtual Learning Show. I thought I’d take the opportunity to post some reflections on Day 1 and in particular each session, with a particular focus on:

  • A key ‘take-away’ from the sessions content itself
  • The way in which it was facilitated (in part or in whole) with a view to what can I re-use/build upon for myself.
  • Overall view on undertaking essentially a day’s worth of webinar/virtual classrooms.


 Presented by Colin Steed
10.30 – 11.00 GMT (UK time)

Colin Steed
The Virtual Learning Show organiser and leading authority of live online learning Colin Steed welcomes you all to this unique event.

During his Keynote, Colin will take you through the current state of play in the adoption of live online learning in the UK and Europe, the main barriers that we are facing, and five trends fueling the virtual classroom revolution.

My key content take-away

Colin recommended Karen Hyndes WebEx tutorials on I’m going to check out Lynda for any Adobe Connect tutorials.

My key facilitation take-away

Don’t be afraid of skipping ahead if time is short. Colin chose which slides to drop and then cracked on with the content. A good reminder to be cut-throat with timings / content.


How to move your company webinars from enraging to engaging

 Presented by Donald H Taylor
11.00 – 12.00 GMT (UK time)

Donald Daylor

Webinars are getting a bad name. Why? Because they are too often dull knowledge dumps, a tedious background of noise while you clear your inbox. But they needn’t be like that. According to Donald H Taylor, chairman of the Learning and Performance Institute and veteran of several hundred webinars, they can be very engaging – if done right.

Join Don as he examines the gap between what people say about synchronous online events and the reality. We’ll look at the simple tricks needed to make webinars engaging and consider whether everyone can run a good event online.

  • The difference between a ‘webinar’ and live online training
  • Delegate momentum, and why polls are often a bad idea
  • Ensuring interactivity in your events
  • The six key roles in an online event
  • Your next steps back in the office

My key content take-away

Ask an open question early, VERY EARLY, possibly even on the second slide. It sets the scene and expectations for your learners.

My key facilitation take-away

Don’t be afraid of silence. When asking a question SHUT UP and give people the time to think and respond.

Regularly acknowledge comments in the chat panel.


Using Storytelling in the Virtual Classroom

 Presented by Roger Courville
12.30 – 13.30 GMT (UK time)

Brain research confirms what storytellers know from experience: we learn through storytelling. What’s more, we’re wired for it… we learn the pattern, rhythm and structure of storytelling before we learn the rhythms and patterns of written stories. Our job in learning and development is to impart knowledge and skills to create change, and while we don’t abandon facts, data, and processes, adding storytelling to the mix in the virtual classroom will add a powerful dimension to your success.

Join Roger Courville, of, and get ready to take some notes as you learn practical tips for how to construct story and take full advantage of delivering them in the virtual classroom.

Join us for this interactive live webinar to learn:

  • What story is (hint: it’s not “once upon a time”)
  • How to choose the story or illustration right for you
  • Three steps to transforming story for virtual classrooms
  • Four tips for uniquely combining voice and visuals for improved impact

My key content take-away

If I’m honest, this session flew along so quickly due to the late start that I really can’t recall any of it, so I can’t say what parts of the content I can ‘take away’.

My key facilitation take-away

Roger was approximately 30 minutes late due to t’internet outage in Oregon, however the other facilitators stepped up to the mark and very quickly facilitated and promoted a number of quick fire Q&As via the chat panel. Because the questions were relevant, there was still a level of ‘conversation’ taking place, handy to have this in the back of my mind should things ever go belly up in one of my sessions.


Convincing Management to Invest in Live Online Learning

 Presented by Karen Hyder
14.00 – 15.00 GMT (UK time)

Karen Hyder

While the benefits of virtual classroom training using tools such as WebEx, Adobe Connect and GoTo Training may be obvious to you  and your learners, your managers aren’t sold.  They feel face-to-face training is the only way to control the learning experience and that the transition to online learning will be too difficult.  They’ve seen too many boring webinars where participants multi-task throughout and they believe that an attempt to move training online will be a waste of time and resources.

In 2010, 88% of eLearning Guild’s survey respondents agreed that” when setup and use properly, online training was as effective as good face-to-face training.” Attend this session to experience what it takes to set up and use virtual classroom tools properly.

  • Discuss ways to maximize the advantages and overcome the objections of virtual classroom delivery
  • Identify key considerations for managers and plan what you’ll do and say to make your case for moving your training online.

My key content take-away

Comparison of webinar / virtual classroom tools is difficult due to keeping up with the rapid development of these tools. This Wiki page is a well maintained comparison of web conferencing software.

My key facilitation take-away

Karen used the chat ‘pod’ feature within Adobe Connect which allowed her to separate specific conversations from the backchannel ‘waffle’.  I like the idea of this and would be keen to see if there is a way ‘post session’ to match the questions up with the relevant ‘chat pod’.


Using Performance Support to Enhance the Virtual Classroom

 Presented by Bob Mosher
15.30 – 16.30 GMT (UK time)

Bob Mosher

The virtual classroom is becoming commonplace. It offers many wonderful enhancements to the traditional brick-and-mortar classroom. The elimination of travel, the integration into the workflow, and its ability to take advantage of space learning are three wonderful advantages of this emerging medium. The danger lies in the content and context lost over time. Performance support can be the tie that binds bringing everything together and enabling knowledge transfer at a level rarely seen before.

This session will explore a new distance-learning model which encompasses performance support as a critical part of the journey.

In this session we will explore:

  • The GEAR four step approach to distance learning
  • How to design performance support to optimize space learning
  • What instructors need to do to guarantee engagement

My key content take-away

Introduce Performance Support tools EARLY, don’t introduce it ‘afterwards’. Make them a part of our formal programmes, upfront of when people are having to use them for real

My key facilitation take-away

Bob used quick and dirty techniques for marking up or annotating his slides during the session. This was in stark contrast to the clinical design of the slides. This worked really well and helped the annotations to stand out.


Overall experience

Today was a great experience, I acquired some info in every single session. There were a number of people who attended every session so to a degree my concern over ‘overload’ may be mute… however, I’m not sure that the audience is typical of the majority of learners – after all, it’s our field!

I’m still doubtful that a days worth of online activities could work in the ‘real world’….

What do you think?



  1. @awooler Cheers Colin, it was good to see you in there. You attending Day 2?

  2. @awooler Day 2 is in early December. #VLS12

  3. Interesting that precisely because this is an online conference, I prioritised other ‘day job’ work instead, and chose to dip in and out of the #twitter #backchannel, in the sure knoweldge that others would be sharing their key takeaways during and after the sessions – your blog being a great example Craig.  Not sure I could/would attend a full day online like this, as part of the attraction of f2f attendance at confernces is the ‘out of session’ networking opportunities and resulting conversations over coffee, lunch etc. and that’s a key element that’s missing for me here.  I’m probably going to create a #Storify of the Virtual Learning Show for my own reflective benefit, and to share with any others who are interested.  Will you be doing Day Two next week and blogging again?

  4. @ActivateLearn Thanks for the RT Helen

  5. Hi Craig – thanks for another informative reflective blog. Here’s what Ithought:
    The virtual learning show was a good idea in general. We don’t all havepotsof money available to attend meets like Learning Technologies etc. I doagreewith Niall about the outside of session networking of f2f.
    I attended some sessions in whole and dipped in and out of others due towork commitments – this would work better if you could devote the day to this(and you would do if you were away at a conference so it should be nodifferent) but may find it harder when at work.
    The chat was good and I loved the separate pods used for chat aboutspecific areas (e.g. private vs. public vs not for profit).
    In reply to what Niall said about f2f @conferences – the networkingdid happen (unintentionally) between sessions when the chat was still openand it did happen when poor Roger was hit by connectivity issues. It was ashame that the chat closed between sessions.
    I think it may work better with more sessions BUT shorter sessions (20min?)that people can drop in and out of  and get 1 or 2 takeaways. I wouldleave the chat going (or if it has to close for change over then try and getpeople onto twitter).
    Maybe this can be expanded outside of the show by having a show page(yammer,ning, FB – whatever) where the conversation can continue after theshow in days to come.
    It was interesting to see how recognized names delivered content. Notsure if it is just me but I’ve heard Roger talk a few times  and I love hisslides and his message but I find it hard to follow (I know this time he hadhad connectivity problems and so had to squeeze content in).
    Those are my thoughts – I’ll try day 2!

  6. @ColinSteed Thanks Colin, much appreciated. I’m all prepped for Day 2 next week. Could do with a chat with you in near the future please…


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