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Columbia University to Host 11th Annual International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace

By Cait Etherington
June 04, 2018

For the 11th year in a row, Columbia University will host the International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace (ICELW). This year’s conference, convened by Dr. David Guralnick, will take place from June 13th to 15th. As in previous years, the conference program will feature a combination papers, panel discussions and workshops offered by industry leaders and researchers from around the world.  

ICELW’s History and Mandate

ICELW was first held in 2008. Guralnick, who is the founder and CEO of Kaleidoscope Learning and faculty at Columbia University, says, “I have always viewed ICELW as a fairly unique conference, in that we bring together researchers and practitioners from such a wide variety of countries and backgrounds.” Guralnick adds that over the years, the conference has hosted “a wonderful mix of researchers, corporate trainers and directors, e-learning consultants, and many more.”

This year, as in the past, the conference will include sessions in different formats and demonstrations of successful e-learning models. Guralnick notes that this year’s conference will also include two keynotes: “We have Barbara Oakley who created the world’s most popular MOOC. She has a lot of things to say about creating a compelling course on a shoestring budget.” A specific focus of this year’s conference is virtual reality. Sean Patton, a game designer, will be on hand to give a keynote on the topic, but unlike many past keynote speakers, Patton comes from the gaming industry. As Guralnick observes, “There is a growing interest in VR and AR, but both technologies are still early enough that there is a conceptual block that continues to slow down their adoption in some sectors, including workplace training.”

e-Learning’s Changing Focus in the Workplace

Although ICELW is only entering its 11th year, e-Learning in the workplace has undergone massive changes since the conference was first held in 2008. Guralnick observes that among other things, mobile learning has take off: “That’s something that people were not talking about when ICELW was first held.” Guralnick has also seen a host of other changes: “We’re now on the cusp of other technological advancements. Augmented reality is still a new development but one that is gaining ground. In terms of e-learning in the workplace, over the past decade, there has also been a movement toward performance goals. I think we’re finally seeing a movement away from the simple delivery of content and testing toward learning experiences that are truly immersive.”

Nevertheless, Guralnick still worries that in the workplace, people all too often continue to look to new technologies to repeat existing applications rather than asking what these new technologies can actually do to create new and more effectives  types of training. “That is one of the important discussions we hope to have at this year’s conference,” he adds.

This Year’s Program and Conference Details

On the first day of the conference participants will have an opportunity to engage in panels on topics ranging from gamification and transmedia storytelling to data-driven learning solutions and virtual labs. Day two features an especially high number of panels focused on virtual learning, but also panels focused on topics of specific interest to business leaders (e.g., how to asses the return on investment for e-Learning in the workplace). Participants attending this year’s conference will be arriving from Italy, Austria, Belgium, Romania, Sweden, Germany, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Israel, Singapore, and Argentina, as well as locations across the United States. Notably, the conference will close with an announcement of the 2018 International E-Learning Awards, Business Division.

More information about this year’s ICELW meeting at Columbia University can be found on the conference website. Also look for updates on eLearning Inside News. We will be there reporting on this year’s conference highlights.

Feature image: Creative Commons Licence, Wikimedia Commons.