The future of conferences is digital: The hosting of the 2020 Networked Learning Conference (NLC) using the CanopyLAB platform

First started in 1998 by Aalborg University in Denmark, The Networked Learning Conference (NLC) is a biennial and one of its kind gathering of university experts from all over Europe to discuss networked learning, lifelong learning and professional development for a 3-day-period.

The online format makes it possible for many more to participate for both economic and practical reasons. Earlier years, the Networked Learning Conference primarily had participants from Europe. This year’s online conference attracted participants from all continents, Saudi Arabia, India, Russia, South Africa, USA, Egypt, New Zealand, and Japan among others…It’s always nice that we Europeans are able to travel and participate in various conferences. However, there is an entire world outside of Europe that doesn’t have this opportunity. It creates a much bigger diversity for the conference and a much larger audience turning it into an online conference

∼Professor Thomas Ryberg, Aalborg University.


 

Goals & Objectives
The 2020 conference was completely disrupted by COVID-19 as the pandemic made it impossible for the 500 participants to meet in person safely. Instead of canceling the event, Networked Learning Conference transformed into an entirely digital conference using the CanopyLAB social learning platform. The digital version of the 2020 Networked Learning Conference consisted of 8 learning courses or ‘tracks’, each containing keynote speakers, research papers, and links to video calls where the participants deep dived in the various topics.

 

 

I think there is great potential in embedding courses/discussions in a wider social network, and for the conference, it was a great way of combining ‘conference tracks/rooms’ with a wider network where people could connect and discuss. The platform was easy to work with and set up, and I think it worked really well – particularly before the conference.

∼Professor Thomas Ryberg, Aalborg University.

 

Results
Almost 500 participants from around the globe signed up for the 3-days online conference, participated in the 12 different tracks, engaged in roundtable discussions, listened to keynote speakers, read research papers, networked and exchanged views, opinions, and contacts – as they would have done in a physical setting of the conference. One of the brilliant things is that the platform stayed accessible after the conference, and the sharing of knowledge and networking is a constant process, rather than having to end with the last words of the last keynote speaker.

 

One of the brilliant things is that the platform stayed accessible after the conference, and the sharing of knowledge and networking is a constant process, rather than having to end with the last words of the last keynote speaker.

 


At CanopyLAB we designed a simple and social platform for digital learning experiences.

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