My Experience at ICELW 2016

by IELA Staff

This is a guest post from Cecilia Iros, CEO at SumaLatam in Argentina, and a speaker at ICELW for the past several years.  In the post, Cecilia describes her experience at ICELW 2016 in New York.

Cecilia Iros:  My Experience at ICELW 2016

SumaLatam, the company I represent, is based in Argentina and attending a conference in the US means a big investment. With so many great ways to learn and sharpen skills from my desk: e-learning courses, blogs, podcasts,  YouTube, and webinars, just to name a few, I have to be able to answer this question: Why devote the time and expense of an in-person conference like ICELW? What follows is my attempt to answer that question and also explain why I keep coming back to NYC every June!

I was already excited to get off the 1 metro at 116th St on Broadway and see the familiar gate of Columbia University in the City of New York.  Walking through Morningside Campus with its impressive buildings and perfect lawns built momentum towards meeting researchers and practitioners from around the globe at the Faculty House for the 9th (my third!) International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace.

And I was not disappointed. After a warm welcome by conference chair, David Guralnick, we went right into exploring the barriers, opportunities and steps to successfully integrate engaging experiences with effective learning, in the real world by Clark Quinn.

Right after that, I was very lucky to share Session 1B with three very smart women: Mary Ann Saurino from CornerHouse Interagency Child Abuse Evaluation and Training Center, Karin Sixl-Daniell from MCI at the University of Applied Sciences, and Jennifer Hess from DTCC. My presentation this year was “An Insider’s View of Choosing a Localization Vendor: When One Size Does Not Fit All” and I hope to have been able to provide useful information to those in charge of selecting a localization partner for their company.

During the Conference Drinks, I was excited to catch up with the people I had met in previous ICELWs and collected a few business cards during interesting conversations over a glass of nice wine.

The second day’s keynote was with John Black, who described their research showing that computer and video games, graphic simulations and role playing in virtual and augmented worlds are effective when used in conjunction with other learning activities.

I was then honored to chair Session 2B where Declan Dagger from EmpowerTheUser presented a case study, which is always interesting, but he did it together with their client, BNY Mellon, which made it even more attractive. We also learnt from Jong Tae Youn about some aspects of the cultural mindset of female students and their families in the Republic of Korea, and Birgit Kuefner shared their experience,  pitfalls, and lessons learned during an e-learning localization project.

So as to keep things fun, I also chaired Session 4A that day. I proudly did so since presentations were by industry expert David Guralnick who walked us through a childhood learning experience to show the role that story and emotion play in online learning, and Fernando Salvetti who presented about anything-but-boring interactive tutorials and live holograms used in continuing medical education.

A very entertaining table at Midtown French brasserie, Rue 57, was the perfect closure for a stimulating second conference day.

The experts panel is a  great contribution to the conference program and, this time, we had the chance to learn, not only from the panel Chair, David Guralnick, who promoted debate with clever questions and comments, but from industry leaders Ryan Baker, Clark Quinn, Fernando Salvetti, and their interactions  with the audience.

Giving recognition for a job well done is always a good thing and that’s why I believe announcing IELA awards is the best way to close the conference every year. Congratulations to the winners!

According to a HubSpot Blog I read recently “There isn’t a single technology that will replace the power of in-person relationship building” and I couldn’t agree more!

I’m already looking forward to what ICELW will have in store for us in their 10th edition next  year!