At the recent DevLearn conference, David and Heidi (the two-cofounders of the eLearning Guild) punk’d me.  Under the pretense of having me assist the keynote speaker, they had me sit at the front of the stage with another purpose in mind.

As background, the Guild is explicitly labeled and designed to reflect the original concept of an association of craftsmen in a particular trade.  The notion is that elearning professionals will be members of the guild to stay abreast of new developments, and interact with their peers.  Inherent in this is the notion of participants starting as apprentices and moving gradually to the center of a community of practice.  Consequently, the Guild hosts a number of things: online conferences (forums), Learning Solutions (an online magazine), research reports, discussion forums on LinkedIn, and of course their excellent conferences.

eLearning Guild Award

Heidi and David decided, apparently, that they wanted to reward those who were contributing, who were serving as defacto ‘masters’ of the community, following the historic traditions.  Consequently, they were reviewing who did what, who was writing, researching, and presenting, and apparently one name kept appearing at the top of the lists.   Mine.

Now, you have to understand that I have made no effort to see who was doing what; I see certain names regularly appear on their speaker lists, as well as new ones. I know a number of people have been involved in research, and they’re always getting new authors for the magazine. But I literally had no idea how much I did compared to others, so this was a complete surprise.

So they called me up on stage and bestowed upon me the honor of being the very first Guild Master, handed me this great chunk of gorgeous glass, all with me somewhat stunned and embarassed.  They have stated an intention to honor others at following conferences, which will be great.  I like how they view their role, think it’s valuable, and they strike the right balance in making a viable business that serves a community.  They continually experiment as well, and that’s a good thing.

Needless to say, I’m truly honored that they noticed and deemed me worthy.  It’s not always you get recognized for doing what you love, and when you do it’s humbling.  I’m very grateful to them, and the kind comments others have made subsequently.  And thanks to you for the feedback you’ve provided on my thoughts via this blog, helping me develop my understanding so I am better equipped for what I do. I am passionate about helping people perform better through technology, and as I often joke “this is what I would be doing even if I were independently wealthy (and you’re welcome to make that happen :)”.

I am truly pleased if what I’ve contributed has helped, and can only hope that I can continue.

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