In one of many lively discussions with conference participants at Learning Technologies 2010 today, that most obvious of questions arose once again: why should you have to be at Olympia in London, live and in person, in chilly January, to participate in the event. Surely for every one of the 400-odd conference participants, there must be another ten who fulfil the following criteria:
- they want to attend but can’t justify travelling to London, or
- they are interested in attending just a small selection of the sessions, and
- they are prepared to pay to watch a live webcast or recorded video of those sessions that interest them
I know there are all sorts of commercial considerations. Are people prepared to pay for online sessions when so many webinars are free (my guess is yes)? How will exhibitors react to the idea that online participants who won’t get the chance to visit their booths (not great, but then conference participants are only a small proportion of the total exhibition visitors)? On the other hand, speakers will be delighted with the opportunity to reach a much wider audience. Perhaps it’s time to take the chance.