Last week, David Anderson and I had a fantastic time in Toronto, Ontario, planning and hosting the E-Learning Heroes Community Event, Articulate’s first of its kind in Canada. The whole premise was to have a fun, casual day of practical community member presentations, mixed in with some hands-on interactive challenges to spark interesting conversation and ideas about e-learning. We knew the event would be something special, but boy were we blown away with how it surpassed our expectations! Now that it’s behind us, I thought it’d be fun to look back at what contributed to its success:

Great Community Member Presentations

We were lucky enough to have five amazing community members give 30-minute presentations—all outstanding. Super Hero Tim Slade shared Top 10 Storyline Tips, Tricks, and Timesavers; Ashley Chiasson presented How to Build Your E-Learning Portfolio; Super Hero Nancy Woinoski walked us through Creating a Visual Menu; Super Hero Michael Hinze shared Creating Sliders in Storyline; and Super Hero Tracy Parish showed us how to Turn a Quiz Into an Exploratory Image. Toronto’s got some serious e-learning talent, that’s for sure!

All their sessions were informative, practical, and interesting. Some were hands-on, and others were demonstrative, which made for a nice mix. We’d also like to give a shout out to Super Hero Stephanie Harnett, who attended our event and was a big help preparing and setting up for the day.

If you weren’t able to attend the event, but you’re still interested in using the workshop files and downloads shared during the presentation sessions, you can download it here.

Fun, Interactive Challenges

While a large part of the day was dedicated to the mini-presentations, we also carved out time for participants to break out into smaller groups. It was an opportunity to socialize, network, and discuss ideas and real-life challenges facing e-learning designers.

We also wanted to give people a chance to work through some challenging design scenarios, so we spent a few hours doing a three-part group activity hosted by David Anderson. Not surprisingly, his engaging presence and quick wit made him a crowd favorite!

We started off with some activities to help a designer narrow down a look and feel for a specific course they’re building. Then, we handed participants a PDF with some boring, static information and brainstormed ideas for how we could turn that information into something fun and dynamic. Next, for the third leg of the challenge, we gave participants an hour to build out and prototype some of these ideas in Articulate Storyline, Articulate Studio, and PowerPoint.

Once the three parts were complete, each group shared what they came up with. Both David and I were blown away by the number of creative and original ideas generated in a relatively short period of time!

Great Community Vibe

Another factor that contributed to the success of our event was the awesome and friendly group of participants and presenters in attendance. The large (but not too large), varied, and dynamic group did a lot of talking, chatting, and laughing, which made for a lively and cheerful atmosphere.

Many people asked if the presenters and hosts knew each other beforehand, given how comfortable and chatty we all were with each other. But actually, for many of us, it was our first time meeting in person! However, we communicate so frequently online in the forums and through Twitter that we’re quite familiar with each other’s work and working styles, and certainly have traded a few jokes and laughs in that time.

Each of the presenters gladly answered questions about their sessions, their work, their experience, and more. It’s another telltale sign of the amazing Articulate community: that people are friendly, approachable, and genuinely helpful. This really set the tone for the event and made everyone feel more relaxed and comfortable.

Social Media Chatter

Throughout the event, we had participants and presenters live-tweeting about what was unfolding. Our hashtag, #ELHToronto, got a ton of traffic, with positive feedback and fun photos. For those who couldn’t attend due to schedule conflicts or distance, this was a fun way to show what the day was all about. Thanks to everyone who live-tweeted and posted rave reviews about our event. We truly appreciate it!

We couldn’t have pulled this off without our excellent presenters and the great attendees, and we sincerely appreciate your help making this day a huge success. We hope to do it again, and would love to see you there next time. How about you … did you attend the event? Do you have any feedback or comments to share? If you do, please leave your thoughts below!

You can always sign up for a fully functional, free trial of Articulate software. And don’t forget to post your questions and comments in the forums! We’re here to help. For more e-learning tips, examples, and downloads, follow us on Twitter.