New This Year

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Here are the Top 10 new things at the big LERN annual conference this year:NOLA B four (1)

  1. New Session Format Coming for Gen X and Gen Y
    With Gen X and Gen Y the majority of participants for the first time in LERN history, the conference initiated an advisory task force to redesign the conference for younger professionals.
    Brandon Tucker, Kelly Regan and Michael Garamoni, chairs of the Emerging Leaders Council for 2016 and 2015, recruited other young professionals to help LERN design a new concurrent session format for the next conference along the engaged or active learning model being developed in the field.
  2. LERN Consulting Booth
    Participants loved the opportunity to talk with a real LERN consultant at the LERN Consulting Booth in the Exhibit Hall of Learning. Russ Mills, Kassia Dellabough, Julie Coates and other LERN professional staff and consultants were on hand throughout the conference to provide quick consulting tips and talk about more in-depth consulting appropriate to the participant’s organization.
  3. The 21st Century Competencies Task Force
    A new task force initiated by the Senior LERN Leadership met to build a list of 21st century competencies needed in the workforce, including the field of lifelong learning. The task force was led by Gen Y leader Michael Garamoni, and task force members included leaders and Gen X and Boomer LERN members as well, including the Chair of the LERN Board, Rob Watters.
  4. People’s Choice Awards
    New this year, participants got to vote on their favorite awards nominations. All 90 nominations were posted on bulletin boards, and people had ballots.  No stuffing of the ballot box has been reported yet.
  5. Roundtable Discussions
    Some 10 Roundtable discussions were attended by more people this year than last year. The topics were created by participants, and led by the person coming up with the discussion topic. The increased attendance is giving this alternative conference networking and meeting format new life for next year. For the 2016 conference, we will target 20 roundtable discussions.
  6. Handouts and News Go Digital
    Say good-bye to printed proceedings and news at the conference. Some 588 participants downloaded the conference mobile app and there were 29,000 page views by the time the conference ended. The LERN Conference Mobile App, now in its second year, got so good it has replaced print as the primary information delivery method at the conference.
    Slides and handouts were the latest from the presenters.  Some handouts and slides were even loaded at the time of the session, that current they were.
  7. Lifelong Learning 2016 conference notebook
    “It works!” one attendee told LERN staff. A new conference tool for participants, LERN created a 16 page spiral bound conference notebook for participants to take notes and take home. The 8 lined notes pages each had half a page for “My Notes.”  Then each page had a smaller section for “My Immediate To-Do Actions, ”items to do from 1 week to 6 months from now.  Then each page had another quarter page for “My Long Term To-Do Actions,” items to do from 6 months to 24 months from now.
    Participants were encouraged to take their conference notebooks home and show the boss and other colleagues the action items coming out of the LERN conference.  The conference notebook also contained two reports, The State of Lifelong Learning for 2016, and LERN Forecasts for 2016.
  8. Certificate Standards Task Force
    Task force Chair William T. O’Brien and other LERN leaders are working to come up with proposed standards for LERN and LERN member organizations. Chair O’Brien will be submitting the new proposed standards in the next few months.
  9. Quizzes for Sessions
    They are not just for CEUs anymore! Use our quizzes to justify to your boss the big ROI and take aways from our sessions. Quizzes were available for more sessions than ever, including the opening session, awards luncheon, and closing Nine Shift presentation.
    The quizzes allowed participants to get graduate credit and CEUs for the conference.  Graduate credit was available from the University of South Dakota.

    10. First UGotClass International Award
    With over 200 LERN members now generating registrations for UGotClass, the International Awards ceremony featured its first award for an innovative promotion technique for our online courses and certificates.
    The award went to Top Partner University of Richmond for creating a separate full web page for top UGotClass certificates.  With our top certificates having a lifespan of at least five years, creating a full web page only has to be done once, and it pays off big-time with registrations.

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