Author Archives: Debra Wingfield

How do you get your boss to send you to eACH?

Attending conferences and workshops is an important part of keeping in touch with other people in your field, learning new tips and tricks, recharging your creative batteries and keeping yourself current with advances in technology. If you don’t attend conferences regularly, you can get “stale”, like day-old bread.  However, it’s not always easy to get the funding support you need to attend conferences – after all, most of us live on a very tight budget!

So, if you’ve got challenges when it comes to budget, how do you convince your boss that you need to attend eACH this year? Most blogs and posts on this subject agree that you need to market yourself.  That means being direct with your boss about why you should go, outlining benefits for your organization. It’s best to prepare your argument before even approaching your boss for his/her support.  Here are some tips and tricks that will help you prepare for that conversation.

  1. When approaching your boss, be direct. Don’t ask “What if I attended the eACH conference?”. Ask “I’d like to attend the eACH conference in June. Will you approve me to attend on company time and will the organization pay for it?”
  2. Prepare a list of benefits for your organization if you attend the conference. See below for some ideas about why you should attend eACH 2017.
  3. Know how much you’re asking for. Calculate how much it will cost to send you to the conference and have this information ready to share during your discussion. Include the conference cost, transportation, accommodation and any other incidentals. Also think about how you can decrease these costs – can you stay with a friend in the city? Take the train in each day as opposed to staying in a hotel? Would you be willing to split the cost with your employer?
  4. Have a contingency plan if your boss says no. If he/she is worried about you missing key meetings or deadlines, have a work plan prepared that will help you meet deadlines and contribute to meetings in advance of attending the conference. Can you attend the meeting using Skype? Could you prepare a briefing paper in advance?
  5. Outline how you will share the information you’ve learned with your team members and co-workers. Show your boss that attending the conference can be a learning opportunity for your colleagues as well.
  6. Be strategic. Relate how attending the conference will help you respond to and deal with specific issues in your organization. You’ll be able to connect with other people in similar organizations who have similar challenges.
  7. Be enthusiastic!

Do a Google search if you’re having trouble coming up with ideas. You are not the first person who had to approach their boss for support for attending a conference and you definitely won’t be the last.  Check out posts like Feeding Your Inner Geek – Top Tips for Getting to Conferences for some ideas about how to get there and what to do once you’ve returned from the conference.

Once you’ve done all your homework take some time to review the eACH website. Check out our concurrent sessions, our keynote speakers, our Show and Share past winners and our pre-conference sessions.  There will be some serious learning going on at eACH!

What exactly are the benefits of attending eACH?

  • It’s a great conference, not so big that you can get lost among the delegates, but big enough to attract people from across North America. This means that you’ll get a chance to meet a lot of people, some of whom you may know from blogs, learning communities and social media.
  • You’ll make lots of connections with people who are experienced in their field. This will help you in your role as an e-learning developer and improve your ability to create better eLearning.
  • You’ll participate in workshops, discussions and the “show and share” portions of the conference and come away with some great ideas for your own work.
  • You can focus on topics that will benefit you at work, whether it’s incorporating more video in your eLearning to learning a new piece of software.
  • It’s in Toronto – easily accessible by train, plane and even public transit, which makes it a very reasonably priced destination.
  • It’s a deal, especially if you book as an earlybird attendee.
  • It will give you an opportunity to potentially showcase your own work if you participate in our Show and Share session. You can get feedback on what you’ve worked on!
  • A short work trip away from the office will re-energize you and give you the tools to work better and smarter when you return to work.
  • You can share what you’ve learned with others in your organization and can outline to your boss just how you can make that happen.

Approaching your organization for support to attend eACH is about marketing yourself and being prepared. You will come away with a wealth of new ideas, new contacts and new skills.  What are you waiting for?

What exactly is a Show and Share?

Show and Share Ticket

Do you remember being in Kindergarten and being so excited to share something with the rest of your class?  So excited, in fact, that you couldn’t keep it to yourself?

Fast forward to your adult years…have you been working on a puzzle you never thought you’d solve and yet you did?  Did you impress your work colleagues by creating an eLearning masterpiece?   Did you learn and apply a new skill?  Did you solve a problem by using your instructional design skills, technology tools, new technologies, or by designing new processes?  Why not share your success with others?

That’s what our “Show and Share” is all about.  It gives you 10 minutes to brag about your accomplishment and share it with people who can truly appreciate the time and effort you put into your project.  It’s your time to shine, to give you an opportunity in the spotlight!

Prizes will be awarded to the People’s Choice and Best in Show.  So get your “ticket” now – submit your innovative project to “Show and Share” before April 21 and join us at the eACH Conference. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Where Do You Get Your Inspiration From?

Written by Debra Wingfield

Have you ever had an elearning project that challenged you to come up with something creative that you’ve never tried before?  Or are all your elearning projects equally challenging?  Are you tired of creating project after project and using the same tricks and tools every time?  Are you truly engaging your learners?

These are all questions we’ve asked ourselves as we design our projects.  With limited time, resources and sometimes limited creativity, we can feel like we’re stuck in a rut.  It might be because it worked so well last time, or we’ve lost that creative spark.  And then are times when you complete a project and you feel like you’ve run an obstacle course – but the end result is something that you’re incredibly proud of.

My challenge currently is converting some old (from 2007!) infection control topics into new and refreshed elearning modules that will engage learners.  Topics like routine practices, hand washing and the chain of infection have been done and redone, and now I am working on the umpteenth iteration.  What can I do differently?

One of the best ways I get my inspiration is to visit Elearning Heroes the Articulate User Community.  Many elearning designers use Articulate products, but you do not need to be an Articulate user, as the community is full of ideas and inspiration that anyone can relate to.  There are freebies, examples, discussion forums, challenges and expert blogs – all with tons of creative ideas that can get you started.  Tom Kuhlman’s Rapid eLearning Blog was the first elearning resource I ever followed!

I am also a big fan of Pinterest.  I use it for both personal and professional inspiration and follow people like David Anderson (yes, he will be joining us at eACH16).  I save images that grab me, fonts that captivate me, ideas that spur my creativity and quotations or phrases that make me think about things differently.  I have boards of nothing but images, and I use the images to get me thinking about how I can use a similar image and make it into something that works for projects I am struggling with.

Connie Malamed’s Elearning Coach site is also a great place to visit.  She’s got a list of interesting resources and sometimes just browsing through her posts gives me an idea.

Cathy Moore’s blog is also another great resource, as she presents practical tips and breaks things down with meaningful discussion.  I like the way she presents a scenario and then dissects it by asking questions and analyzing approaches.

Check out Jackie Van Nice’s work – she really rises to some unique challenges.  Take a look at some of the things she’s tackled on a weekly basis.  She’s also an Elearning SuperHero – a regular contributor to the user community at Elearning Heroes.

There are lots of different people to follow for inspiration, and I know I’ve left out a lot of people who deserve a mention, including a few of my fellow eACH Committee members.  Once you start following one or two of these folks I’ve mentioned, you’ll find more to follow and will no doubt be inspired beyond your wildest dreams!

I’ve left two big inspirations for last.

Jane Bozarth (@JaneBozarth) is one of the most inspirational people around when it comes to learning.  Not only is she an accomplished elearning designer, she is an author and creative being.  Joining her for the keynote at eACH16 will be Jeannette Campos (@jsuzcampos), an equally talented author and creative being.  Together they will present the healthcare journey of Jane’s husband through his diagnosis of a large brain tumour, his surgery, and his recovery.  Along the way there were lots of learning opportunities and they will draw on his story to inspire us to create better learning.

Perhaps you need a little “kickstart” as inspiration for your own projects.  Join us at eACH16and let Jane and Jeannette spur you on to new creative heights on your journey to create better learning!