I'm virtually attending the CLO Elite 2011 conference and while it was a slow start to connect to the events (The Key note speaker was so overcrowded I didn't get in until near the end), it has been a fairly neat experience involving multiple sessions, virtual booths, forum discussions, twitter feeds and more.
While this virtual conference has some interactivity, it is falling into the easy talking heads over slides for almost all of the sessions. It might be because they are making all the events available for replay, that makes it hard to have the speaker create an interactive experience.
I know that NASAGA did a virtual conference in the past (before I was involved) that had some success, but we haven't replicated that event since then. There has been talks of doing smaller virtual sessions sponsored by NASAGA, but that niche is admirably filled in by Training Magazine which regularly has Tracy Tagliati, Thiagi, and recently Brian Remer presenting their use of Games, Simulations, and Activities for learning events.
Although there are hundred of attendees to this same virtual conference I'm attending today(and a "networking lounge"), I doubt that I'll create a new bond with someone else experiencing this with me.
It just makes me thankful for NASAGA and makes me look forward even more to the October conference in Philadelphia. While I might get some information in this virtual event today, I know that that I'll leave NASAGA with tons of new ideas, and I'll interact with almost all (if not all) of the 100+ people and create some new friendships along the way.
I've submitted my session proposal, and I hope everyone reading this considers submitting a session proposal (Deadline July 1st) and then registers for the conference. Remember we have first time incentive scholarships and good business cases for you to ask your employer (http://www.nasaga.org/page/conference-2011).
I like the theme of Organizational Development for this year's conference, but I'm most looking forward to the people that I'll meet. Hope to see you there!
I would think that for a virtual conference to work in the NASAGA style, the focus would need to be on interactive online activities.
Just like in-person NASAGA focuses on activities and not slides, the virtual conference would need to do the same.
I can see a need for this - the conference would let people experience activities in an online education/training environment and then debrief them. It would, by nature, need to be focused in the online activity space; it wouldn't be a time for people to just talk about what they do.
It would be a LOT of work, though... but so is the in-person conference!