Ten years ago, CommPartners introduced livestream services with a focus on helping organizations, extend their reach and value of their place based conferences. The rationale at the time was that only a small percentage of our communities are able to attend onsite, leaving a significant number unengaged with these premiere education and networking events. We felt adding a livestream would be positively received. We realized through our initial client conversations, this wasn’t necessarily the case.
One of the reasons for the slow adaption rate was within organization structures, conference and meetings and online education were not always aligned as complementary elements of an education strategy. A livestream presents the intersection of these two areas. Organizations were not internally set to address this new opportunity. Specifically the conference and meetings folks were hesitant to invest in any initiative that might take away from the number of onsite attendees.
Fast forward ten years later, we are seeing significant movement of organizations embracing the chance to increase their audience to more than just the people that attend onsite. So why is this happening now and how can you leverage this opportunity?
We believe there has been a breakthrough for three reasons:
- There is greater recognition that attending online vs. onsite are unique experiences, with different motivations and expectations for participating. The fear of losing onsite attendees to an online offering have not materialized. Alternatively, if presented in the right way, adding a livestream component, will grow the audience and can inspire online attendees to attend onsite for subsequent years.
- Increasingly our members and extended community staffs are working from home full time or several days per week. We are increasingly comfortable managing our work from a distant location and collaborating through our electronic devices.
- Host organizations are realigning how they present content with less focus on how it is originated. The emergence of online education and learning management systems that have become centralized knowledge communities are being used increasingly as central repositories for conference content, virtual events and eLearning programs.
With greater appreciation and emphasis on livestreaming we have become more educated and strategic about how to position, price and deliver these programs. Provided below are considerations and approaches to help you generated positive results from your investment.
Position Your Livestream Programs for Success
We know attending an event remotely, without the energy of a crowd or being at a venue is vastly different than attending alone, through your computer screen. Therefore to have a successful outcome, the planning process should be based on understanding the virtual learner and planning accordingly. Having an alternative or parallel remote participant plan to actively engage online attendees moves them from passive observer to active participant. Ideas include:
- Have programming for just the virtual audience such as pre or post session interviews, pre-produced content, facilitated chats, raffles or giveaways.
- Have an on camera MC for the virtual audience stimulating chats, submitting questions to speakers, and engaging remote attendees.
- Make sure presenters incorporate the virtual audience in their session by looking at the camera, mentioning virtual attendees and having exercises available if the onsite audience is involved in an activity.
- Use a platform that offers engagement features to blend the remote audience with the onsite audience such as live polls, crowdsourcing and contests.
- Ask virtual audience members to upload their picture or groups they are participating with in the collaboration area to give the event a community feel.
- Show a live map of where virtual attendees are logging in from.
Price Your Livestream to Strategically Fit Your Goals
Clients ask us all the time, how should we price our event? Before considering pricing, it’s important to confirm strategy and your reasons for offering the live stream. Some questions you want to consider are:
- What is the value or uniqueness of the content we are providing?
- Are we issuing credit for this program?
- Are the speakers we have well known and would they attract an audience?
- Do we draw onsite attendees from certain geographical areas or level of experience in our community?
- Are we at capacity for our onsite event?
- Are we using the livestream to attract participants to our community or our brand, onboard new members that can’t afford to travel, extend the conference experience, promote attendance for subsequent onsite conferences or a combination of all of all of these?
Based on responses to these questions, you can decide if you want to price your program at a full conference rate similar to the onsite event or attract more online participants with a lower, easy decision rate. In considering revenue goal, sponsorship and / or a virtual exhibit hall can help offset the attendance fees and assure your program meets your budget objectives.
Deliver or Produce Your Livestream in a Professional and Engaging Manner
While education strategy is critical for online events, the production quality will be noticed and is critical to the program’s success. The goal is to have remote attendees feel they are onsite and have a front row seat. We recommend the following:
- Consider a room or multiple rooms to hold all your virtual event sessions that work well as a virtual setting. Think about it as a studio with excellent acoustics, visuals, camera positioning and sound.
- Use your onsite audience to build energy in the program form the virtual audience. Include roving microphones and camera shots to capture audience engagement.
- Use the virtual MC to have a prominent role representing remote participants. Have him or her on camera introducing questions to the speakers.
- Use lower third name graphics to identify who is speaking.
- Consider multiple cameras to switch shots and views.
- Have a remote interview area in a public place that attracts onsite attendees in the audience.
- Consider an eye in the sky mounted camera to cut to transitions to provide the remote audience a sense of the energy at the event.
There appears to be a realization that a livestream is an excellent way to expand an organization’s reach and impact. Providing the opportunity to participate online says to your community that you value their involvement regardless of where they are geographically or what stage in their professional life they may be.
If you are interested in discussing the opportunity for a livestream for your organization, contact Meghan Gowen, VP Client Development at email@example.com.
In the past five years there has been increased focus from technology companies on making their Web based applications accessible to all participants. At CommPartners, we recently teamed with eSSENTIAL Accessibility to provide assisted technologies to support access and usage of our Elevate LMS to those with physical challenges. In that spirit we are pleased to post this blog from Michael Doane, Marketing Manager at Cadmium CD.
Conferences and trade shows provide education and opportunity to a wide range of people with different abilities. It is more important than ever to make sure these people can access the full range of opportunities your event has to offer, both online and onsite. That’s why many tech companies are embracing website accessibility standards like WCAG 2.1.
Michelle Wyatt, CadmiumCD co-founder and CEO, says, “As a software company that services and supports global users with various backgrounds and needs, we take it as our duty to uphold this mission to the best of our ability.”
What is WCAG 2.1 AA Accessibility?
According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible.” Its goal is to, “make content more accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including accommodations for blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity, and combinations of these, and some accommodation for learning disabilities and cognitive limitations” (source).
Is compliance compulsory?
While these standards are not required by law for private companies, the EU does require all public sector websites to adhere to WCAG 2.1 equivalent standards (source). This includes products sold to or used by public sector organizations.
For now, US public sector sites only require 2.0 standard, but will likely adopt 2.1 standards in the near future as more organizations understand the need for modern accessibility standards.
Meghan Capiaghi, Lead Accessibility Developer, recently shared some tips on how CadmiumCD is making certain products more accessible (watch the recording).
Here are her 3 main tips on making your conference website more accessible:
1. Create Contrast on Your Site
Colors are an important factor for accessibility. To be truly accessible to those with visual impairments, your site must have a contract ratio of at least 4.5:1.
To determine if your selected colors meet the requirements, check out this website: https://webaim.org/resources/ contrastchecker/
2. Use Instructional Language
“Click this Button” makes no sense to someone who uses voice commands. Get creative with your language to reflect a wider audience. “Use this button” may be more appropriate.
3. Don’t Forget About PDFs
Do you share PDFs on your conference website site? Any documents linked from your site must also meet accessibility standards outlined by the W3C’s WCAG 2.1 initiative.
To learn more about how to create accessible documents, refer to this website: https://www.section508.gov/create
- An introduction to WCAG 2.1 standards can be found on the W3C website.
- CadmiumCD has created a resource for clients who would like to uphold WCAG 2.1 Level AA standards, which can be accessed here.
About Michael Doane
Michael Doane is marketing manager at CadmiumCD, makers of the myCadmium software platform, an award-winning suite of conference and trade show management products. Visit the CadmiumCD blog for more articles like this.
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|Commpartners had the opportunity to speak with the American Society of Interior Design about their success with implementing CommPartners Elevate LMS. As an organization who focuses on the design and aesthetic of beautiful interiors, it was important that their platform encompassed a clean and cohesive design to match their brand. This led to one of their main deciding factors to be the ability to work with the CP team to create a fully customized site to their specifications.
ASID identified a number of core requirements they wanted to address with a new LMS, stated in the bullets below. Click the case study to learn how they overcame these challenges by utilizing Elevate LMS.
- Provide a seamless user experience where the LMS is fully integrated with ASID’s web presence and database
- Match ASID’s mission by focusing on design of attractive imagery and navigation elements that allow learners to easily access their content
- Ensure an engaging mobile experience
- Support learners’ desire for well conceived and developed on demand content.
I’m a big fan of the author James Clear who writes about the formation of habits. I believe (good!) habits are an important element of success (I’ve written about it before.)
In a recent blog post, Clear wrote: “Just because it’s not optimal, doesn’t mean it’s not beneficial.” Read another way, this is the old adage of don’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Or don’t let perfection be your target, because you’ll always fail.
I see this very commonly when discussing the integration of systems with clients (e.g., AMS and LMS). The optimal situation is a real-time, two-way integration between the two systems so that data is shared immediately.
But this often proves to be very time-consuming and expensive to develop (and sometimes can’t be developed!). So rather than a two-way, real-time integration we opt for a two-way passing of data on a schedule (e.g., once per day). Optimal? No. Beneficial? Absolutely.
So when considering changes to process or technology within your organization, keep in mind that while the change might not be optimal, it can be beneficial, and that’s what we’re looking for.
This guest blog post/article first appeared at www.effectivedatabase.com and is repurposed with permission.
Wes Trochlil is a published author on data management in the association market. He helps organizations move data management from a cost center to a revenue generator.
For associations, our annual conference is our flagship education product. Naturally we want to maximize our investment and extend the reach of this great content.
Unfortunately, most associations are doing it wrong.
It’s time to forget about repurposing and embrace PURPOSING.
But repurposing is efficient and responsible!
Repurposing suggests we can efficiently reuse components of education that has been delivered (past tense done) for additional meaningful learning opportunities. And we can’t. Example: Captured conference recordings are not good learning opportunities. Why? Because what’s been captured was designed for a learner in a live classroom learning space. Can someone be determined and dig in to learn something from a capture recording? Sure – but they will more likely google the subject than sit through an hour long video of a slide deck. Once removed from the classroom and situated in a virtual learning environment, we have different expectations of how we want to interact with content. Captured lecture is not designed to be chunked out or accessible in online learning environments. Would you ever create a Storyline eLearning course and expect participants at an in-person event should watch you click through it? (same same)
You can’t refold a crisp origami crane into a dragonfly – it won’t work. Each fold is put into place to achieve a particular design. Same with learning.
So you want an origami crane and a dragonfly. What do you do?
If your goal is to extend the learning of your conference, consider these opportunities.
1. Hybrid learning. Extend the reach of your conference to new audiences – perhaps your future live attendees. Craft a meaningful experience that incorporates not only streaming of select sessions, but live chat with those speakers and some hybrid-only content. Partner with solution providers like CommPartners who masterfully facilitate hybrid experiences.
Life cycle: This is an investment in cultivating future live attendees while extending the reach of the present conference. #winwin. You may also consider extending the learning via the desktop portal you create with your vendor partner for additional content drops.
2. Session tools. While attendees may request slide decks, what they really want are tools and resources (that they think they’ll have time to distill from session presentation visuals). Instead of collecting PowerPoints and Prezis, request your speakers submit a tip sheet, job aid, checklist, how-to guide, model, or process distilling their insights into a useful resource attendees can use and share. I call these Transformational Learning Tools because they are easy to deliver and are supremely valuable to participants (see driver #23 in my book Competitive Advantage to learn more).
Life cycle: While these begin as conference session handouts, they become a powerful catalyst for workplace impact. Consider the potential referrals as tools branded to your association are passed around teams because of their value. Imagine the online resource library you could build with these tools that would become indispensable to your members. Think about how you could assess downloads to determine content priorities for future education offerings.
3. Touch points. Let’s free our education from product silos delivering one-offs and deploy learning that touches our members over a period of time through different channels – reaching them where they are. Allow all of your education vehicles to participate in threading your association’s content priorities through learning pathways that beautifully highlight different facets of a subject through a variety of learning experiences. A few examples:
- Publish an article that leads to a live education session that’s followed up by a webinar punctuated by an email sharing a valuable job aid.
- Facilitate a social media conversation about a hot topic, host a thought leader session at your conference from which you derive a handy white paper that you can then distribute through your social media channels.
- Craft an online course that pulls participants together for a live skill-building experience, followed by an eMentorship that leads to a certificate.
The possibilities are endless!
Life cycle: You decide! Your touch points on a topic could be three or could thread throughout an entire year. Extend the learning from your conference by making it a part of a broader education delivery strategy.
A word about the elephant nearby
I don’t mean to beat up on capture products. I’ve produced conference capture products. Members ask for them and we think we need to deliver them. We don’t. This is not how we actively learn on devices. If you’re going to capture content at your conference, capture it with the future mode of delivery in mind.
- Consider capturing faculty commentary on their session. Pair the recording with an article or use it to stimulate a webinar conversation.
- Consider capturing hallway insights from attendees – testimonials you can drop throughout the year to build momentum for your next event – but also a formative assessment for your association to see what is resonating with your attendees.
- Capture how-to’s from your session speakers – brief clips distilled from their presentations that you can use to build a library of insights.
- Ted Talk style presentations transition well onto devices. If you’re delivering them, capture them for sure.
Extending your conference content is not about repurposing what’s been designed and delivered for the big gathering. It’s about pausing to plan in advance how you can capitalize on the gathering to draw out content you can continue delivering all year long.
Ready to strategically innovate your learning programs? We understand the challenge of change. Our secret weapon is an innovation framework based in psychology and behavioral neuroscience that’s a game changer for our clients. Coordinate a conversation at www.talktotracyking.com
Tracy King, MA, CAE
As CEO & Chief Learning Strategist of InspirEd, Tracy King leverages her more than 20 years in the industry consulting with organizations on education strategy and learning design. Tracy is the author of Competitive Advantage, and she advises associations on growing reliably profitable and sustainable CE programs that transform learners. Tracy specializes in the intersection of learning science and technology; her instructional design team produces engaging, inclusive, and transformational learning experiences. She’s a thought leader, invited speaker, master strategist, award winning learning designer and DELP Scholar. For more information please visit her online at www.inspired-ed.com
In the past several years, we have witnessed significant development and expansion in LMS offerings. Today’s platforms provide a wide range of contextual education experiences including formal or curriculum-based education, informal learning, live events, and social learning. Many of our communities value the opportunity to have a single, central repository that provides different leaning options and formats.
With so much invested in these online learning portals, it makes sense to continue to build and expand on what an LMS is able to provide. Including certifications in your online education strategy helps create a more impactful and recognized standard of achievement. Certifications are the ideal component to augment and extend the value and the investment you have made in ensuring your LMS becomes a success. In addition, certifications enable education program providers to more effectively validate and reward achievement that is recognized by one’s peers and potential employers. Essentially, offering certifications within your organizations LMS can extend the platform’s value and help build on your established success.
We have identified three key benefits of offering certification programs within your LMS:
- Create of a Pathway towards Achievement
Certification provides organizations the ability to configure a predetermined curriculum or pathway that serves as a navigator or blueprint towards a greater goal. This added enhancement provides learners a sense of purpose as they can connect their work in the LMS to an overall strategic purpose and mission. Certifications and features of the LMS are an ideal match to present content, validate progress and award achievement. Gaps in knowledge are easily identified which helps pinpoint areas for improvement.
- Leverage Your LMS more effectively
Being certified in something that typically translates into one’s expertise within a specific area of study or work. It is understood that if you are going to be certified you will typically need to invest a significant amount of time and money to reach your goal. Given this commitment, it only makes sense to leverage these achievements within your current LMS platform by offering certification programs to your learners. The days of sending learners to a third party site are coming to an end, and now it’s easier than ever to utilize your investment right within your LMS to validate course content and testing components. Bringing these participants to the LMS leverages your investment, increases traffic and avails learners to other opportunities to engage content experts and peers.
- Streamline Processes
There is a good chance your LMS is integrated with your ecosystem of applications. You may already have data reporting in place to transfer results from education activities to a third party database or AMS. Offering certifications within your LMS can piggyback on this integration and allow a seamless reporting of results without additional programming.
If you offer or plan to offer certifications to your community, consider an LMS platform that had a feature that supports these programs along with other education offerings.
To learn more about Elevate LMS and CommPartners Certification Module, please contact Meghan Gowen at firstname.lastname@example.org.