I am seeking your comments on the conference. Feedback has been good, but I am always looking for ways to improve the event for next year. Please don't use this discussion for comments about the free June event. I'll open a separate discussion for that in a few weeks.

Please let me know what you thought was good, and where improvements could be made. Please do be as specific as you can - but not personal. Speakers have feelings too, and many are part of this group.

Many thanks

Don

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I spoke to several vendors who regarded the show as commercially worthwhile. This is important, as there are jobs at stake. Once again, the atmosphere was businesslike -so well done on that front Donald. Good feedback also on the conference sessions but one reasobale request, stated by others on this thread was the need for more discussion and arranged opportunities for networking.


Some random thoughts for next year....

A 'session' given by bloggers?
Some real and new 'technology' on show to play with - netbooks, mind games?
Book stall with latest publications in e-learning?
Live twitter feed on screen somewhere?
More 10 minute speaker slots?
I'd support the idea of shorter talks followed by longer discussions, as on the afternoon of Day 2.
While I understand what you're driving at Donald, aren't your random thoughts 2 and 3 addressed by a rather large exhibition conveniently situated in the same building? ;o)
Good show - had my annual fix of thinking and talking so able to approach February with confidence about our professional industry and L&D in general. Like others here, loved George's session and his academic approach to the topic (good brain training), liked the effort to make some of the sessions more interactive although we as an audience weren't always so up for the debate. I thought the practical use of the ipod and DS as devices for learning was interesting and the fact that the army will conduct a thorough evaluation before rolling out further, and the BBC are still demonstrating innovation with their approach to collaborative learning. Perhaps next year we could try and mix up the live presentation with real-time online chat by having smaller groups working with a wiki or discussion (per table?) so that questions can be asked throughout and wrapped up at the end. I do wonder (and don't take this the wrong way, Don) just what this conference will be like once our millenials take over!
This is my 4th time at LT and as usual it was very well organised, thought provoking and a great way of hearing what others are doing. Its a chance to take away new ideas and in some instances give ourselves a pat on the back for being progressive. I enjoy the presentations but would value a few faciliated learning sessions with other participants so that there is more sharing of best practice. I know that you so an additional day but this approach would break up the delivery style. For the last 2 years I have invited our Heads of ICT and this is great for building a collaborative approach to what we are trying to achieve. They both found it incredibly useful and throught provoking and it gave an insight into the world of L&D. Have you thought about offering a discount for those wanting to get ICT colleagues on board?
I too found both days very useful indeed. I found it refreshing that a year on we are still talking about a lot of the same technologies, but through experience, we were sharing a more balanced view. For example when it might not be the right solution. So it's not about doing the next big thing, just because it's the next big thing and it's cool! I found many of the sessions I attended gave both the for and against with two well matched speakers in the same track, or the this is where it worked and here is the exercise caution story. I attended this year excited to meet both people I've met at previous conferences and delighted to meet a lot of new ones, and I think this site has really facilitated that, so let's all keep it going. Thank You all and great job!
A great conference (my first) with some really engaging and thought-provoking sessions. I echo the call for more time for discussion - it's difficult to get into a topic during a break, whilst juggling coffee and those inevitable urgent messages/voicemails with one eye on the clock!
Could we also have more time for the exhibition? I was torn between talking with fellow attendees and seeing all there was to offer downstairs, probably to the detriment of both. What about a "delegates-only" (and hence less crowded) hour at the exhibition at the end of the first day or the start of the second?
One other question (with apologies if I've missed this) but where can we access the speaker presentation materials and videos of their sessions? Having had to chose between them, I now want to catch up on everything I missed!
I thoroughly enjoyed the conference this year. It's great to see that we've moved on from talking about new learning technologies to actually demonstrating effective use of them - it's amazing how much can change in just a year. My only feedback would be that I'd have liked more time to visit the exhibition - I really don't know where the time went. Sue Bird's suggestion of an hour put aside for just conference delegates to tour the exhibition would really help. In addition, I really liked the "open discussion" elements of the 2nd day. I hoping that this forum will help us keep some of the conversations started during the conference going. A great event (once again) - thanks.
Many thanks, everyone, for the thoughts so far. Please don't take a lack of reply as a sign that I'm not reading nor interested. I am both! What I'm doing right now is collecting thoughts and reactions to reflect on over the weekend as I begin planning for Learning Technologies 2010. Please keep the reactions coming.
Hi Donald,

I've posted my feedback on my blog: http://www.learningconversations.co.uk/main/index.php/2009/02/02/re...

But here it is in full:

This was my first Learning Technologies conference, and I was pleasantly surprised. In the past, I've found conferences unsatisfactory affairs - often promising more than they achieve. Gradually, though, they are starting to change. These days, the conference or event is often the culmination of professional relationships that have developed online, whether through LinkedIn, FaceBook, or via the other various blogging, Twittering and RSS-based networks that we have.

Having that pre-knowledge of the people who will be at the conference enables you to leapfrog the introduction process, since you already have that initial understanding of where they're coming from.

Having said that, it was a pity that only about 15% of the delegates took advantage of the provided online social network area to interact with people in advance of the conference itself. It feels like people in Learning and Development want to be able to show off all the whizzy technology, but don't actually want to use it themselves.

I can appreciate that when you're talking about the typical corporate elearning module (as if anyone would volunteer to trawl through one of those!) but we're talking here about a tool that would help delegates get much more value from the event itself. At nearly £1000 per person you'd think they'd want to...

If we could set an expectation that included pre-conference online activity it would also mean that we could significantly redesign the event itself to make far better use of the face-to-face environment.

You see, I really don't understand why 1000 people want to go to the effort of coming to one place, simply to sit in rows watching people presenting their ideas. How can you justify that as good use of time?

Wouldn't it be better to:

* Provide all the presentations beforehand? As videos, as narrated Powerpoints, or even just as old-style conference papers. That way, when you get a really in-depth, thought-provoking session, like George Siemens', you can rewind it, take notes, and think about the implications.
* Encourage interaction before the event, based on the ideas in the presentations? Wouldn't that start the debating juices going?
* Use the face-to-face time to pick up on the issues raised beforehand? Split us up into smaller discussion groups, focussing on specific ideas. Or get the presenter to respond to questions - posed in advance or as an outcome of the discussion groups. Face-to-face time should not be about listening and watching, but about interaction, debate and action.
* Pick up on the successful Teachmeet concept, where practitioners sign-up to give micro (7 minute) or nano (2 minute) presentations during a 2-3 hour informal session? Perhaps this could be offered to delegates to the exhibition at a small cost (£30 including free drinks - or get sponsorship from the exhibition stallholders?), to run from 4pm to 7pm?

So, what I'm saying is... keep the people the same, but stimulate the interaction more, so we really get the full benefit of face-to-face time.

Of course, this does mean that delegates will have to be set clear expectations about what the conference will involve. That's not impossible - the Manager-Tools team do that very successfully with their conferences.
Hi Mark, I have already read it, and made a due note of your excellent suggestions. I won't give any reaction now except to say that this online community and the June event are part of turning Learning Technologies from a one-off, content-driven event to a peak of interactivity in an ongoing process of communication.
Sounds great Donald! I'm looking forward to June already :-)

Mark

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