My time is nearly up!

Joan Keevil

It’s hard to believe that I first joined the eLearning Network Board of Directors back in 2016 (after standing for election unsuccessfully the previous year).

How can it be 5 years already?!?

I had left the BBC at the end of 2008 after 18 years, was running my own business from home, and felt I needed to connect more with others in the industry. I also realised I had a lot of experience I could share that might help others. At the time, my profile was quite low but over the past five years – two as an eLN Director and 3 as Chair – I have had the privilege to connect with and get to know (and work with!) a whole range of my peers.

So as my time on the Board draws to an end (I stand down at the end of November), I can honestly say the eLN has helped keep me sane, invigorated, and enthused about my work and I could not be prouder of what we have achieved.

It goes without saying that I will miss being Chair of the Board, but I have a great team who can be relied on to take the eLN forward and continue to build on its success. Look out for more information about upcoming vacancies on the Board, since directors often do a 2-year term then hand the reins over to someone new. Could that be you? Look out for all the election information coming your way soon via the newsletter, socials, and emails.

The pandemic has massively increased the number of online and virtual events that people are being asked to sign up to, at a time when they are under pressure to adapt to new ways of working, often with less support than before, and we definitely upped our game in response. It’s also great to report that we have some in-person events scheduled for the autumn – hurrah!

Why do I feel the eLN’s activities deserve to be heard above all the other noise?

At heart, it’s because of our core values – we are a not-for-profit run by the eLearning community for the eLearning community. Our directors are not paid, and we are not required to make a profit, only to serve the membership, promoting collaboration, networking, and sharing best practice.

If you work in L&D and/or eLearning, this is your network, your community. You will be a stronger, more capable, more reflective practitioner if you know what great looks like and are connected to people who strive for excellence, show you what it looks like, and are willing to help you get there.

Even if you’ve only been in the industry for a couple of years, you’ll still know more than someone who’s just transitioning into it. If like me, you’ve been around for years, then you’ll have a wealth of experience that is worth sharing. I believe we all have a responsibility to improve standards within the industry.

I can quote eLN member Andrew Jacobs here, even though it’s a different context: “It starts with me”. I will continue to support the eLN after I leave the Board and would encourage you to ask yourself: “What can I do to help?” and “Is now the right time for me to make a difference?”

One issue we’ve discussed at length on the Board is whether to make all our activity open to everyone across the eLearning industry (and the wider L&D sector, now we’re all ‘digital’), or whether to restrict what we do to fully paid-up members.

This year we’ve put more behind the membership firewall, making full membership a more valuable proposition. Quite frankly, I challenge anyone to tell me where else you can have access to this wide range of membership benefits for such a low annual fee – it works out now at 55p per week. I do believe our profile is higher than when I joined the Board but I also think there are a lot more people out there who could sign up but haven’t – as yet!

So, if you’re reading this as a newsletter subscriber (free), why not upgrade to full membership now? If you’re reading this on social media and haven’t connected with the eLN as yet, is now not the time to do so? I look forward to having more people join before my term of office ends!