Conference Highlights


Happy DanceAmid ocean going ships passing right outside the windows, the southern Savannah food in dozens of restaurants in the Victorian historic district, and the warm weather, more than 650 attendees at the big LERN annual conference had the best of times in and outside of the convention center.

Inside, breakthrough new information was released in the sessions. The session formats varied from the new Engaged Session format, to Roundtable discussions, Panel sessions, a motivational keynote, a new luncheon networking format, and best expert presentations.

Outside, attendees sat along the river in between sessions. And took the free river ferry across the river to the walkable historic district, with ghost tours, parks and squares, fountains, walking tours of Victorian homes, Juliette Low museum and river walk with shops, restaurants and people.

Here are just some of the conference experiences and highlights people had in gaining the professional development and latest info to lead the field of lifelong learning in society in the 21stcentury.

1.Happy Dancing during Exciting Keynote.
Richard Hardon, named one of the world’s top 100 speakers, had 650 people on their feet, dancing, motivated, and re-energized for 2019.  Photo: Happy dancing during keynote.

2.First Operations Gathering.
The first gathering of professionals focused on operations met, kicking off a new initiative to enhance efficiency, effectiveness and productivity for lifelong learning programs.

3.Small Teams Initiative.
Heather Palermo of Great Falls, Montana, conducted a session for programs with a small staff. She also was instrumental in initiating a new LERN information service for Small Teams.

4.Gen Y Pub Crawl.
The third annual another big success, with Gen Yers networking in local pubs for fun and professional networking.  Gen Y leading the transformation of the field and LERN.

5.Making Change.
A riveting once-in-a-lifetime session with three people who made history fighting the death penalty and racism sharing their life experiences.

6.LERN Central Gives Personal Service.
Member staff were available for 1:1 conversations to help LERN members with consulting questions and taking advantage of member benefits.

7.World’s Most Interactive Lifelong Learning Web Site Shown.
Attendees saw one of the world’s best lifelong learning web sites, as Dimitry Gudzenko from Specialist Trainers Group, Moscow, Russia, received an international award for the program’s interactive web site features.

8.Rocks on the Roof.
The President’s Reception took place in a rooftop setting with a great view of the Savannah bridge and ocean ships.

9.Shrimp and Grits.
And the crab meat. There was one bad restaurant in Savannah, but no one went there!

10.Carriage rides.
Carriage rides through the brick laid streets, surrounded by Victorian homes, Spanish moss and lovely squares, some with fountains, in the historic district.

11.Attendees Join Councils.
Attendees volunteered to lead the field and LERN by joining our leader Councils, revitalizing the leadership in the field of lifelong learning.

12.Julie Coates Recognition Day.
Coates received tributes and standing ovations at the conference for her work as one of the heroines of the civil rights movement in the 1960s.

13.Integrated Marketing Study Premieres.
A new exclusive LERN study on integrated marketing revealed the top five ways successful programs move people to registration.

14.Partnerships and Growth Areas.
New sessions on partnerships and growth areas were held separately for recreation and community education programs, and for continuing education programs, making them more specific and relevant.

15.UGotClass Announces 2019 Plans.
After a record breaking year in 2018, UGotClass announced new plans for 2019, including self-study options and certificates that start every month.

16.Latest Success with Social Media.
Digital marketing was the rage. Top social media expert Nicole Siscaretti-Doyle did advanced sessions on social media, including one on Instagram, emerging as the hot new format for lifelong learning programs.

17.Mobile App Saves Trees.
And provided handouts, slides, quizzes, and more information to attendees than ever before. Some 85% of the attendees used the app this year, the most ever.

18.Attendees Visit Award Winners.
International award winners stood by poster boards and shared tips with the Award Luncheon attendees.

19.Advanced Practical Sessions Sell Out.
Participants packed the practical, how-to sessions. The partying started afterwards, mixing fun and productivity for all.

20.Brighter Times Ahead for Society
The conference concluded with NineShift for 2019, the second-to-last story of the transition into the new economy and life of the Knowledge Society of the 21stcentury.  Based on historical evidence, NineShift predicted the current societal-wide despair of 2018-2019 will yield to brighter times ahead for American society in the 2020s.

Ask for budget approval now and plan on attending the big annual conference in the fall of 2019 and experience the re-energizing productivity of the LERN conference.