As we wrap up the first day of our LEAP Ahead elearning conference, I wanted to share some highlights from our first keynote.

We kicked off the conference with a keynote from elearning expert Judy Unrein titled, Maximum Impact with Minimal Resources. As cost-effective as elearning can be, it is possible to become a budget buster. Judy showed attendees the best ways to trim the expensive extras when developing an online training program and keep the focus on three essential needs.

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The first need is ensuring your learners are both motivated and have access to training. Ways to motivate will vary from company to company and employee to employee, but, no matter the industry, it’s important that your learners have the desire to learn. Sometimes providing this motivation is as simple as ensuring learners understand the benefits of completing training. And, of course, training must be accessible. The more difficult it is for learners to access training courses, the less likely they are to participate. A Bluevolt-powered online University, for example, is a great way to ensure all training materials are available at the click of a button.

The second need is for training administrators to have design, writing and creative skills. By no means do any of these skills need to come a high cost, explained Judy. There are plenty of free and open source online tools that you can use to develop storylines, add audio and visuals (think photos, sounds and music), encourage interactivity, etc. Training blogs, like Judy’s One Hundred Forty Words, are a fantastic way to get inspired when creating your next online course. When you’re working to sharpen these skills, what’s most important is continual practice. For example, say you download an app you don’t like. Redesign it so it works. Maybe you visit a confusing website, create a better layout. There’s no need for practicing these skills to get expensive.

Finally, you need the support of your organization, and this can be a little trickier to secure. Be sure to show stakeholders why your training program is valuable, as well as the impact it has on learners and the business. Sometimes showing stakeholders what a course entails and the results it delivers can be enough to secure support.

And in typical Judy fashion, she shared several of her favorite resources on the Twitter #leapahead conference backchannel:

  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
  • The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp
  • Drive by Daniel Pink
  • Solutions on a Shoestring by Jane Bozarth
  • Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen
  • 100 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About People by Susan Weinschenk
  • Cathy Moore's blog

The rest of the day was filled with sessions from elearning experts about content development, program management and LMS Administration.

Tomorrow, we’ll start with a keynote from elearning leader Art Kohn, who will discuss the brain, behavior and learning. Stay tuned for highlights.

Tell us, if you were attending our LEAP Ahead elearning conference, what would you like to learn about elearning? 

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