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Nancy Bacon Consulting

April 2020

A monthly resource exploring ideas and resources at the intersection of learning, leadership, and nonprofits.  

This month's theme: Online learning

Some people are trying to figure out a short-term shift from in-person to online. Others are asking how to build out online learning in additional to a vibrant in-person learning program. And what about the annual conference? Here are some thoughts and resources on ways to build effective online learning programs.

From In-person to Online: How to shift a workshop to a webinar

I think about online learning as having four main aspects:


How do you manage the information you are trying to convey? Create a clear narrative that brings people through the information that you are sharing. Chunk information into 3-5 parts, and leave out extraneous information. It only gets in the way.


Online learning at its core is learning. Good teaching practice is the same. Remember the 10 minute rule: the presenter shouldn't talk for more than 10 minutes before engaging the audience. The personal connection that works in a classroom also works online.


In choosing your system, make sure you think about your audience. Do they need one-click access or could they handle a login that brings them into an online platform? A producer is really helpful in managing the system so that presenter can focus on the content and delivery.


Good communications is always important, and it is even more important when an email is the only touch people get from you. Think about pre-event "priming," during-event reminders, and post-event boosting. 

Three of these aspects are the same as in in-person learning. Investing in instructional design gives you clear and concise content. Teacher technique and skill matters. Your communication supports learning before, during, and after your program. So if you have all of those in place, you just need to think about the technology!

Want more on this? Here are two resources for you to download.

The "From In-person to Online" presentation
The "Online Learning Checklist"
Virtual Conference Reflection: How did it go?

On March 16, our conference planning committee decided to pivot on how we would implement the Central Washington Conference for the Greater Good. (“Pivot” will certainly be a contestant for one of the most used words during the COVID crisis.) We moved the conference from a day at the Yakima Convention Center on April 7 to a week of online events starting Monday, April 6. It took a village to make it happen, and ultimately, we achieved our goal. Nonprofit people from across eastern Washington learned, connected, and renewed their inspiration during these difficult days.

Read more
Resource of the month
Is eLearning effective?

A discussion about online learning often begins with a preamble about how online learning isn't as effective. When I recently polled people about the effectiveness of online learning, only one person (who is very learning savvy) said that e-learning can be as or more effective than in-person. Luckily there is great research by Dr. Will Thalheimer on the topic. 

Some important conclusions from this research:

  • When learning methods are held constant between elearning and in-person, both produce equal results
  • When no special efforts are made, elearning tends to outperform traditional classroom instruction.
  • Blended learning tends to outperform classroom learning, probably because the elearning used in blended learning often uses more effective learning methods.
Read the report
The L&D Conference

Speaking of Dr. Will Thalheimer, he and some of the world's leading thinkers and speakers on all things learning are coming together for the virtual L&D Conference from June 22-July 31, 2020. Definitely worth checking out!

Go to the L&D Conference website
From the archive

Is this how your reminders read? Here's one idea on how to build out your communications to help people get ready AND stay learning after your event.
Big announcements coming!

Next month I'm going to announce a project I've been working on related to nonprofits and learning. Can't tell you any more, but stay tuned....  AND...

Look for an email about the "Aim for Action Training Series." I'm excited to be working with some amazing educators who are eager to share their expertise with you. Space will be limited.

Online Quickbooks Class

I am co-teaching an online Quickbooks class with Julleen Snyder, CPA at Jacobson Jarvis PLLC and master of all things Quickbooks. It is May 5-7, 2020 at a computer near you. You or someone you know might be interested in joining us!

Find out more
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Thank you for all you do!
Nancy Bacon Consulting

Our mission is to revolutionize the role that learning plays in the nonprofit sector. 

Seattle, WA
United States

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