Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks – executive producers of the cult series ‘Band of Brothers’ - were not in evidence at the recent one-day conference, organised by the eLearning Network (eLN), the UK’s foremost professional association of users and developers of all forms of e-learning. Neither, of course, was William Shakespeare, who coined the phrase ‘band of brothers’ in his play, Henry V, which became the title of Spielberg’s and Hanks’ World War II drama.
However, the conference delegates attempted – and achieved – the heroic feat of designing, developing and producing four pieces of e-learning from scratch. So, in prefacing their task, the eLN’s acting chairman, Phil Green, parodied the ‘band of brothers’ speech in his opening remarks, including:
“…We few, we happy few, we band of brothers:
For he today that shares ideas with me
Shall be my brother…
And e-learners in England, now abed,
Shall think themselves accurst they were not here;
And hold their CVs cheap, while any speaks,
That work with us upon this ‘Whole Show’ day.”
Delegates were split into eight tables of ten people or so and each table had to develop an e-learning programme that explained how to use a mouse. However, four of the tables had to develop this learning programme for pre-school children, while the other three tables were asked to develop the programme for bus drivers (some of whose first language was not English).
The programme for the day was:
• Goal analysis, led by Clive Shepherd, of Fasttrack Consulting
• Target audience analysis, led by Jan Seabrook, of Conation Technologies
• Learning objectives, led by Geoff Berridge, of Parataxis
• Content analysis, led by Robin Hoyle, of ebc
• Content structure, led by Neil Lasher, of Trainer1
• Storyboarding, led by Bryan Hopkins, a well-known freelance e-learning developer
• A review of strategy, led by Clive Shepherd
• Quality (and quality standards), led by Adam Woods, of LogicaCMG
• Implementation, led by Howard Hills, of Howard Hills Associates
• Evaluation, led by Alex Welsh, of Head Light Communications
Finally, Mike Alcock, of Atlantic Link, led the ‘module development’ section of the programme – where four e-learning developers revealed the programmes that they had produced, following their brief from four of the seven ‘table teams’ of delegates.
Delegates were challenged to create a distinctive version of the e-learning ‘project’, working with different goals, target groups and development tools (some with fully-functioned authoring systems and some with the commonplace Rapid Development tools that reside on everyone's desktop).
Green commented: “The purpose of the day was to share, exchange and compare process and practice.”
According to one of the delegates, Darryl Hobbins, of First Direct: “I thought that the event provided great value for money. The cost is a significant factor in considering which events to attend throughout a year and, keeping it to a minimum, makes events such as this far more attractive and easier to get the budget agreed.
“Second, the list of speakers more than equals the quality of speakers from any previous events we have attended over the last five years. It was basically the 'who's who' of e-learning and we felt privileged to receive the views of such a distinguished list.
“And it was refreshing to attend an event where the contributors were genuinely sharing their experiences of e-learning rather than using their slots as a sales pitch for their respective companies.”
The meeting, which was held on 29th September, coincided with the ‘World’s Largest Coffee Morning’ when everyone was encouraged to ‘have a coffee and raise money for Macmillan Cancer Relief’. This year’s eLN conference broke the eLN’s previous record (£100 set in 2005) by raising £155 for Macmillan Cancer Relief.
Attendance at eLN meetings cost eLN members £95 + VAT; members of the British Learning Association, Association of Learning Technology, eLearning Alliance, Learning Light and NILTA pay only £105 + VAT, and non-members pay £125 + VAT.
About the eLearning Network
Formed – as The Association for Computer Based Training (TACT) in 1987 – the eLearning Network (eLN), which adopted this title in 2000, is the UK’s foremost professional association
of users and developers of all forms of e-learning. It is a non-profit making body that exists to promote information and best practice among all those who are involved in the e-learning world, as well as act as a networking medium for its members.
For more information about the eLN and eLN events, call 00 44 1246 541904.
Further information from:
Phil Green, The eLearning Network, 00 44 1246 541904