Reflections: being an LN Board member and Chair

Outgoing eLN Chair Joan Keevill reflects on her time as a Board member and shares some of the successes she and her team have achieved.

Nominations have recently opened for individuals to stand for election for the eLN Board, so I thought this was an opportune moment to say more about my experience as a Director and Chair. If you’re considering standing for election, read on to find out a bit more about what it’s like. You can also get in touch with any of the current Board members.

Being a Board Director is a legal responsibility but if it’s something you’re interested in doing, I can’t imagine a friendlier environment in which to hone your leadership skills. It’s also an opportunity to work collaboratively with your peers, to lead a team of volunteers by example – and of course to work together virtually! I’ve noticed that being Chair has raised my own profile in the industry and I’ve been able to use that to raise awareness of the network and what we have achieved, but by far the best thing is to have been part of a team that’s made things happen.

I joined the eLN Board in 2016 and have now been a Director for 5 years, including 3 as Chair, and have loved every minute of it! Back then, the Mentoring Scheme for members was well established but most of the activity we undertook as a network was face-to-face, with the annual conference, Connect, and various regional events. I wanted to do more virtually with our members and so the webinar series was born. We’ve since made 51 webinar recordings available to everyone via our YouTube channel, covering topics like mobile learning, blended and brain-friendly learning and how to win an eLearning award (the eLN manages the judging process)! Many of these webinars are by eLN Industry Partners so thank you to all of them.

Post eLN Connect 2018 featuring Joan with guru Julie Dirksen who spoke that year and director at the time Egle Vinauskaite / Photo credit to James McLuckie of Flow Learning by MAPAL

Fast forward to the pandemic and the Board felt we could do even more to support members. In 2019 we increased the number of webinars to more than one a month and last year, Vice-Chair Gemma Wells set up a series of interactive self-development sessions from January to December – 18 in all. Gemma has already begun scheduling new webinars for 2022! When the Learning Technology Awards Showcase event was cancelled, Director Jason Baker organised individual webinars for gold, silver and bronze award winners to showcase their winning solutions. The recordings for both series are available on our website for members. 

Director Luke Merrick also put together our first face-to-face event in Glasgow in October, as well as organising some webinars with key speakers, and – with F2F events back on the agenda – Paul Service, Gemma, Jason and myself are hoping to meet some of you in Brighton, Manchester and Birmingham on 23rd to 25th November!

Directors Hannah Christian and Jason (with input from Lior Locher) took the lead on an internal strategy review and redefined our value proposition for members, which has seen more of our activities reserved for our membership. 

eLN Scotland Bar Camp 2021 / Photo credit to Cynthia Brett of Junction-18

The Mentoring scheme, run by Director Jayne Davids, continues to be a valuable service for mentees and mentors, further helping to share knowledge and skills across the industry. We also initiated a longitudinal research study with Jane Daly of PeopleStar, overseen by Directors Asli Derya and Dr Hannah Gore; this has led to the publication of initial findings on ‘simple and effective ways learning professionals can take advantage of the development challenges the workforce continues to face’.

Keeping up the networking, Director Kim Ellis has been hosting monthly informal get-togethers – just bring along a cuppa and join the chat with other members. The members’ Slack Channel we set up has also provided more opportunities for individual network members to get to know Board members better and for them to get to know and talk directly to each other.

Other Directors to be recognised include Paul Service (Finance), and Dave Price (Technical) who has completely overhauled the website for us. Dave is standing for the Board for a further two years so please do vote him back on! Tony Frascina has continued to manage the judging process for the Learning Technology Awards and the Board has been magnificently supported by Hayley Maisey, our marketing expert, and Rowan Lingard, our virtual PA. We are now able to do more tailored marketing and make more effective use of social media, with planned campaigns, such as the one for new Board members this month. It’s amazing to think that we now have over 14,000 professionals following our company page on LinkedIn and nearly 20,000 followers on Twitter!

So, time to say goodbye and thank you to the Directors who are leaving the Board this month: Asli Derya, Jason Baker, Jayne Davids, Luke Merrick and Dharmesh Chauhan. Personally, I will miss being Chair but will continue to play an active part as an ordinary member. (You don’t get rid of me that easily!)

Who will be next to step up to the Board? Will it be you? I do hope you’ll consider it!