No Image Available


Read more from TrainingZone

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Online Learning 2002 Europe Conference 4-7th March


“Quiet”, was the consistent evaluation of this conference held at ExCel in Docklands, London this week. The two day conference was held on 5th and 6th with pre- and post-workshop events either side. The vast majority of the attendees came from outside the UK and Ireland – mostly from continental Europe.

In addition to the main conference programme, there were a number of other special events including two presentations by Saul Carliner, Assistant Professor at Bentley College in Massachusetts, and a ‘software shootout’ between organisations to develop a simulation live at the conference against the clock.

The core agenda was packed, with up to 7 parallel tracks at key moments, along with hands-on workshops and separate eLearning Network Showcase events in the Exhibition hall. The aim was to cater for a wide audience, and there were both corporate and academic contributors. The keynote speech on Tuesday by consultant Jane Massy and Bryan Chapman of Brandon Hall, looked at the state of the e-learning industry on both sides of the Atlantic. It particularly focused on the e-learning hype versus actual reality. Other session topics ranged from knowledge management, to corporate universities, learning objects, e-learning design, return on investment, academic projects and simulations. There was something for everyone, including a Fast Track for those new to e-learning. It was certainly one of the better conference programmes of the last year in this subject area. “It’s hard to pick which event to go to,” said one Scottish delegate on Monday evening before the main conference. Reaction to the presentations? “It really struck home. People are now talking about making e-learning work instead of grandiose claims about what it should do,” said one. “Mixed”, said another from Europe, “some good practical advice, and some not”. “Much more complex and varied topics than a year ago, which reflects the industry,” remarked a third delegate.

There was a higher percentage of people new to e-learning compared to other recent conferences, but that may be connected to the fact that many attendees were coming from countries where e-learning has yet to catch up with the UK, let alone the US. They asked penetrating questions in the sessions, and had meaningful discussions with the vendors, so may be on the fast track to e-learning success.

The big disappointment of the conference was the vendor exhibition. “Where are all the big vendors?,” said one delegate. “That is part of the reason I came here”. Only Element K and WBT Systems appeared to have a big presence, and sponsor Click2Learn was conspicuous by its absence, along with many other vendors who attend e-learning shows. Certainly the recession has had a big impact, as has the proliferation of similar shows now in the annual calendar. Vendors are becoming much more selective in which ones they attend. As the industry matures fewer companies are sending large groups of people to find out about e-learning, and attendance is concentrated on those who really need to participate.

Nigel Clear of BizMedia the organisers, would definitely have liked a more packed exhibition floor, but is philosophical about the current conditions, and is pleased about the quality of the attendees and conference.

Nevertheless, the message has to go out to all the e-learning conference organisers in the UK. After a consistent run of ‘quiet’ shows in the last 6 months they all need to look to find ways of being successful in 2003, or some will disappear.

Contributed by Alistair Morrison.


Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!