Ecosystem 2014 – The Learning Infrastructure and Strategies Conference

In the learning solutions world, constant education is important for those designing curriculum, too.

Vivayic and its employees understand that and attend many conferences throughout the year. Vivayic co-founders Doug Kueker and Seth Derner attended the Ecosystem conference, co-located with the Learning Solutions conference earlier this year. Here’s their thoughts after the event.

Ecosystem Conference – Doug Kueker and Seth Derner

ec·o·sys·tem [ek-oh-sis-tuhm] – a biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment; or in general use, a complex network or interconnected system.

Ecosystem – that’s a great word for education and for the eLearning world. We had the chance to dissect what it meant for learning solutions and for our company at the recent Ecosystem conference, and we gained much information to use to benefit our team and our clients.

Over time, organizations have built so many systems to deliver training and learning to their employees and constituents. Unfortunately, having multiple learning delivery systems places a big burden on the learner – they have to navigate through a sea of options to find the one that best suits their educational needs. Wrestling with multiple systems doesn’t create a very cohesive learning experience for the learner.

Many of the organizations at the conference, which was hosted by the eLearning Guild, a professional society that we belong to, were discussing ways to work toward integration of the different learning systems they’ve built. Ultimately, they are trying to improve the quality and impact of the learning experiences they offer by taking a step back and identifying a broad strategy for learning and development at an organizational level.

Another trend discussed is that organizations are recognizing that learning isn’t necessarily confined to online courses or in-person/classroom training experiences. There’s a push toward expanding what we define as “learning experiences.” More modern views of learning are acknowledging both the formal modes of learning as well as more informal modes of learning such as social media, performance support tools and well-structured, on-the-job growth experiences.

This conference helped us gain some insights as to how organizations are building systems that embrace this broader definition of learning. Organizations are trying to get learners the experiences they need at the right scope, in the right mode and at the right time.

As organizations look at systems and re-think learning experiences, they are using data to help determine the effectiveness of activities so they can invest where it makes the most impact. As a direct result of what we learned at Ecosystem, we at Vivayic plan to be more proactive in helping our clients think through the evaluation and data analysis of new initiatives and learning experiences, which will give them quality metrics to measure return on investment.

We do love learning so we enjoy going to conferences like these in general, but certain aspects do stand out. They allow us to stay current to benefit our clients. We’ve seen a lot of changes in the eight years since we started the company. Conferences like this give us insights in how to prepare for what the field may look like in the next eight years.

We also love connecting with other thought leaders in related fields. As an expertise-driven organization, we rely on the knowledge of our team members and our network. Sometimes being the smartest person in the room means that you know the right expert to involve in a project. The Ecosystem conference was a chance to build relationships and share ideas with some of the smartest people in the learning services industry.

During the SolutionFest, we even had the chance to share our own expertise since one of our projects was featured. Along with team member Jessica Travis and one of our clients, we chatted with attendees about what made our project, and team, click, which was a really great experience for our team, and for Vivayic.

The desire to gain all that we do at these events ties back to a couple of our values:

  • Cultivation – We believe in continuous cultivation of our knowledge and skills so we make time to attend professional development experiences like this one.
  • Excellence and Practicality – We strive to bring these two qualities together in the solutions we build with our clients; this conference gave us insights into trends that will ultimately help us elevate these two qualities in future work.

We really strive to practice what we preach. Our leadership team is constantly thinking about how we can reiterate our own internal learning systems to support our team’s growth and development. Conferences, like Ecosystem, help us meet, and exceed, those goals.