CHRISTOPHER PAPPAS – CRYSTAL BALLING WITH LEARNNOVATORS

Christopher Pappas is the founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

ABOUT CHRISTOPHER PAPPAS (Founder, The eLearning Industry’s Network):

Christopher Pappas is the founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network. Currently, the eLearning Industry has a network of more than 75,000 learning professionals and runs many eLearning related sites (including The eLearning IndustryeLearning InfographicseLearning WeeklyeLearning Tags, and eLearning Feeds).

He is also the Founder and Owner of the Instructional Design and E-Learning Professionals’ Group, which, with over 62,000 members, is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry on LinkedIn.

Christopher holds an MBA, and an M.Ed. (Learning Design) from BGSU.

ABOUT THIS INTERVIEW SERIES:

‘Crystal Balling with Learnnovators’ is a thought-provoking interview series that attempts to gaze into the future of e-learning. It comprises stimulating discussions with industry experts and product evangelists on emerging trends in the learning landscape.

Join us on this exciting journey as we engage with thought leaders and learning innovators to see what the future of our industry looks like.

THE INTERVIEW:

1. Learnnovators: What, according to you, is the role of an online Community Manager in building communities around ‘learning’? What is their significance in today’s learning space? What are their responsibilities? How different are these from those of other domains?

Christopher: The primary role of an online Community Manager around learning is to build an online community of professionals that are involved in the same field, have the same interests and concerns, and work in the same industry. Online Community Managers play a major role in today’s learning space because they not only provide learners and educators with a place where they can exchange ideas and learn from experience, but also encourage others to gain a better understanding of how eLearning tools and strategies can help them grow in the future. I think this is different from other domains because eLearning is such a rapidly evolving field. There are always new eLearning technologies to discuss about or ideas that can help transform the way the learning content is delivered. From my perspective, online Community Managers have the primary responsibility to draw attention to important trends and updates that the community may benefit from.

2. Learnnovators: You were one of the first to realize the significance of online Learning Community Management. You started as an online Learning Community Manager as early as 2007, and have been actively involved in serving many online communities since then. In addition, you are also a Social Media Marketing (SMM) professional. How has the experience been so far? What is your inspiration? How do these (roles) merge to complement each other?

Christopher: It’s been an amazing experience so far, nonetheless challenging as the Global eLearning industry has changed so much (fortunately!) since I first started being an online Community Manager. It’s been great to see how quickly people are realizing the benefits of eLearning, and how much eLearning has changed the way information and instruction are being delivered to students and employees.

Honestly, I do not consider myself as a Social Media Marketing professional. Being social is in my nature and as long as I can remember myself I love to socialize and interact with people, especially eLearning professionals. While taking the Internet Marketing Strategies class at Harvard University Extension School, I remember the professor saying that to succeed in social media you have to have strong social skills by nature. Communicating with people and being always alert about other professionals’ ideas, concerns and points of view are my first priorities in both my personal and professional life. So, I can say that my true inspiration is my desire to share and learn from the members of the eLearning community. I am involved in the eLearning community because I get the opportunity to help others realize the many advantages that eLearning offers, as I believe it is the future of learning, in general. Being a Social Media Marketing professional, as you say, in addition to an online Community Manager, has allowed me to reach a broader audience and to share the ins and outs of eLearning with even more learners and providers.

3. Learnnovators: You have been successfully building and maintaining some of the best online learning communities in the world. However, we see many instances where communities wither away due to various reasons. What are the critical success factors for sustaining online communities? What are some of the challenges that aspiring online Community Managers need to look for? Could you share some of the best practices you follow to create, grow, and sustain your online communities with high engagement?

Christopher: That is a great question! It’s all about providing community members with consistent updates, keeping them informed about the latest and greatest eLearning technologies, and being willing to devote a great deal of time and effort into researching what the future holds for the eLearning industry. Online Community Managers need to keep their readers engaged, and let them know that their constructive feedback is essential to the success of the community. Equally essential is to be alert on their worries and provide valid suggestions to their concerns. In other words, always have a member centric philosophy. As a community manager, it’s your challenge to engage both the learner and the eLearning content creators and providers. As such, you have to be ready to reach out to individuals and ensure that they are aware of just how important their input is to sustaining the eLearning community, as a whole.

For me, the key is to provide the eLearning community with high quality and informative content that is well researched and developed. However, this is not something I do on my own; it is much more a collaborative work, a constant interaction and communication with each member separately. In our network, we highly encourage members to contribute and share their knowledge, experience, and points of view. For example, at elearningindustry.com an online community of big-name eLearning professionals, the members post their eLearning articles that deal with course creation, reviews of new industry books, examinations of learning technology like cloud-based LMSs, etc.

4. Learnnovators: As we know, online community management is both an art and a science, though some argue that it is much more of an art than a science. Whatever it is, becoming an online Learning Community Manager demands many distinct skills. What makes a good online Learning Community Manager? What are the essential qualities and competencies required? How does one train oneself to become an online Learning Community Manager? What is your advice to learning professionals who would like to get started with this exciting profession/role?

Christopher: As an online Community Manager, you have to know, first of all, which eLearning technologies or products and tools are going to be the next big thing. You also have to have a firm grasp on SEO, Internet marketing, and even eLearning platforms. As such, you have to be knowledgeable about every aspect of the industry. Other than that, you need to have real passion about the industry, strong communication and social skills, willingness to share and learn from the community, and being supportive and dedicated, just to mention a few!

Now, for those who want to become online Community Managers, I highly recommend that they learn everything they can about the various elements of eLearning and stay alert on any news, trends, and innovations. Find out about the eLearning software that is available, become familiar with eLearning models and theories, and do your homework when it comes to the eLearning practices. Apart from acquiring knowledge, I would also suggest to take relevant courses, such as marketing and public relations. In addition, they can volunteer as an assistant community manager, or why not just jump in and create an online community and start managing it! Most importantly, they should always have in mind that: ‘No matter how you do it, do not forget why you do it. You do it to serve your members in the best possible way!

5. Learnnovators: Content curation is one of the most important parts of an online Community Manager’s responsibilities. How do you manage this aspect of your work? What are the rules and best practices for curating content effectively?

Christopher: Again, I think a major part of content curation is to know what lies ahead for the eLearning industry. You have to know about the eLearning technologies that are going to be involved in the future of the community, as well as the products and practices that are helpful to providers and learners today. I and my team do a lot of research to create content that is of high quality and valuable to the readers, and we are looking for topics that may not be widely covered or offer a different angle for those that have been discussed. To create content effectively, you must be able to devote a great deal of time to finding out what readers want to learn more about, and drawing attention to topics that they may not even be aware of as yet. On the other hand, eLearning oriented readers and professionals have limited time to research and find up-to-date and relevant information concerning new trends, software, companies, jobs, etc. That is why we created elearningfeeds.com, where readers can find a great variety of such information, which is valid to their work, based on the Top eLearning Blogs. In addition, once per week (every Tuesday) our members receive the best eLearning news and articles in their inbox – spam free, by subscribing to elearning-weekly.com.

6. Learnnovators: What does the typical day of an online Community Manager look like? How does one effectively manage activities of his/her learning community? What are some of the strategies you use to maximize the health and value of your communities for the greatest business impact?

Christopher: Well, a typical day is like a roller coaster! I will just point out the key aspects that rule my everyday life: consistency, devotion, and interaction with the members. Therefore, a vast majority of my day as an online Community Manager is spent interacting with other community members, conducting research, and ensuring that our eLearning network offers eLearning articles and posts that will be informative and helpful in many respects. I believe that one of the most important strategies that I use to maximize the value of my communities is tapping into the experience and strengths of community members themselves. Offering content from guest eLearning contributors is of my highest priority as this allows me to provide readers with varied and highly educational and informative posts, while helping us remain objective and independent. For example, at elearninginfographics.com, learning oriented professionals are encouraged to submit their educational infographics. In addition, at elearningtags.com, an eLearning social bookmarking service, readers can discover, share, vote and discuss remarkable eLearning content. To conclude, in eLearning Industry’s network we desire the input of our members on a continual basis, because that is the key to growth in any industry.

7. Learnnovators: We are aware that online Community Managers have to work hard to keep up the level of engagement within their communities. We also know that many emerging learning trends (such as Ubiquitous Learning, Social Learning, Gamification, Learning Analytics, Personalized and Adaptive Learning) are powerful enough to boost up this engagement. What would be your predictions on the future of communities based on these emerging trends?

Christopher: People are excited about new eLearning trends (and so am I!), and these will definitely play a crucial role in the evolution of learning in the future. As such, we are probably going to find that these eLearning trends, such as gamification and learning analytics, will bring new people to the industry. On the other hand, great caution is needed. There is no room for bleary and vague picture about these trends or for opportunists. I feel that online Communities Managers have the responsibility, and it is in fact their task, to provide their members with accurate, adequate, and relevant information concerning these trends. Our eLearning network takes this very seriously and we do our best to work in this direction. For example, concerning Gamification, we just launched the Free eBook: How Gamification Reshapes eLearning. In this free ebook, which is provided by 23 Gamification experts, Learning Professionals will find useful information about Gamification, its applications, and its impact on the reshaping of learning. To access the Free eBook: How Gamification Reshapes eLearning, just click “Free Learning eBook – How Gamification Reshapes Learning” or http://elearningindustry.com/how-gamification-reshapes-learning.

8. Learnnovators: For a significant time in your career, you were working in a ‘consultancy’ mode with some leading brands in the eLearning space. How significant is ‘consultancy’ in building a ‘thought leader’ image? How has it helped you evangelize the members in your role as an online Community Manager?

Christopher: It was indeed a valid experience for various reasons. First of all, I had the opportunity to get an inside look at various eLearning products, tools, software, sites, etc. This gave me the chance to learn them in depth and to become aware about eLearning ideas, values, and strategies that I probably wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Secondly, I had the chance to closely interact with both the “sellers” and the “buyers” of eLearning products and services, which helped me understand their needs and concerns. Therefore, I do feel that I have a clear and spherical picture of the whole eLearning industry and its various components. In essence, the experience now allows me to provide my members with a knowledgeable glimpse into a multitude of different platforms, systems, and design techniques. I get to pass my experience and advice to them, so that they can make the most of the learning resources that are available today.

9. Learnnovators: Your specialization has been instructional design. As a learning designer, how do you look at the radical shifts happening in learning paradigms (such as social learning, flipped classroom, Bring-Your-Own-Device , etc.) fuelled by the enormous possibilities thrown open by emerging technologies? How encouraging is the new learning landscape? Where do you see today’s organizations in the midst of these radical shifts? What would future (organizational) learning look like?

Christopher: I am really excited about the changes that are happening, and those that are still to come. Learning is more versatile and flexible than ever before, and all signs point to the fact that it will become more and more accessible and interactive over time. I think, in general, it’s headed away from computers and more toward mobile devices (specifically tablets), and eLearning is right on pace with these changes. eLearning is on the rise and it’s amazing to be able to be on the forefront of it as an online Community Manager. Today’s organizations are moving towards on-the-go, collaborative social learning, which is where learning is headed, and I think that the future holds more student-centric learning and reality-based education. Last but not the least, my personal opinion is that in order to better understand the radical eLearning shifts, we should have a broad understanding of the various Instructional Design Models and Theories. This is why we have begun a simple trip down the history of instructional design, its models and theories that I highly encourage your readers to join.

10. Learnnovators: As you would agree, most L&D professionals possess high levels of skills around the traditional training (formal learning) area. However, their skill levels fall short around the informal or social learning areas. What is your advice to L&D professionals for upskilling themselves?

Christopher: First of all, they need to identify where the eLearning industry is headed, and then assess where their talents are now. Where do they excel, and are their strengths geared toward today’s eLearning industry or the industry five, ten, fifteen years from now? The eLearning community is headed for more collaboration and less formal instruction. So, as a learning professional, you need to be able to adapt to that and to gain awareness as to how you can tap into the various learning strategies and models in order to provide the best possible learning experience for the student/employee. In addition, I would highly encourage learning professionals to read The Free eBook: How to become an eLearning Professional, where 23 eLearning experts share their knowledge, wisdom, experiences that will help them become an eLearning professional. To access the Free eLearning eBook just click http://elearningindustry.com/how-to-become-an-elearning-professional.

11. Learnnovators: Our hearty congratulations to you on being selected as the ‘Top Eighth eLearning Mover and Shaker’ in the fifth, annual, top ten eLearning movers and shakers (By Bob Little Press & PR) this year. How do you look at this honorable achievement? How do you plan to move up the list in the coming year?

Christopher: I am honored and privileged to have been selected, and it truly means a lot. I have been involved in the eLearning community for many years, and it’s great to know that I am amongst the ranks of those who are shaping the industry. However, I am passionate about the eLearning Industry and I always want to do more and be more. So, I look at it as a motivation to become even more involved and offer the eLearning community even more resources that they can use to enhance eLearning experiences. Earning this achievement has given me even more determination and drive to offer the best content to the eLearning community, and ensure that eLearning Industry’s network is the premier destination for those who want to stay up-to-date with eLearning news and trends.

12. Learnnovators: What is the goal of eLearning Industry network that you are managing? What is your vision for the eLearning community? How do you plan to implement it? What are your other future plans?

Christopher: Our goal is and always has been to provide eLearning professionals and eLearners with the resources and information they need to be successful. In fact it’s the eLearning members that add value to the eLearning Industry’s network and make it strong, successful, and prosperous. To me, our members are the vital cells, the driving force and the ultimate reason for existence of the eLearning Industry’s network. Currently, eLearning Industry’s Network has more than 75,000 professionals involved in the eLearning Industry that runs 7 eLearning related sites which are all created based on the constructive feedback and the active participation of our members.

We began our journey with elearningindustry.com – “the leading source on all things eLearning”. At the moment we have more than 120+ active eLearning bloggers with more than 600 eLearning articles published. We always welcome eLearning professionals to share their eLearning expertise with more than 150,000 monthly readers. For more info I highly encourage you to see http://elearningindustry.com/post-here.

One month ago we launched the new e-Learning Feeds, which ranks and scores hundreds of Top e-Learning Blogs, while helping e-Learning oriented readers to answer the question “What’s happening in the e-Learning industry” on a daily basis, based on the Top e-Learning Blogs. If you are the owner of a Top e-Learning Blog feel free to submit your Top e-Learning Blog’s RSS Feed. Also, you are more than welcome to Subscribe at eLearning Feeds to get the TOP eLearning News based on the Top e-Learning Blogs, delivered by Email – Spam Free.

A few months ago, several members of the eLearning Industry network contacted me requesting a website that would be dedicated to the best education infographics. Having this in mind, we formed a team of creative, hard-working, and passionate online educators. As a consequence, we released the http://elearninginfographics.com.

In addition, we received a lot of requests from fellow e-learning professionals to create an e-learning bookmarking site where fellow eLearning professionals could discover, share, vote and discuss interesting and remarkable eLearning content! As a result, we released http://elearningtags.com/ that currently has 9,000 members and 2,000+ submissions.

Also, I need to mention:

  • http://elearningjobs.com/ – where eLearning professionals can find jobs and recruiters can post for free their eLearning job openings.
  • http://elearning-weekly.com/ – a free eLearning weekly newsletter round up of eLearning news and articles. Just one email each Tuesday, no spam, easy subscribe and unsubscribe.

At the moment we are working:

  • On a major update of vivaelearning.com where eLearning professionals can find free video tutorials for learning technologies.
  • …and some other Top secret eLearning projects based on the needs of the eLearning industry’s network members… ;-)

I may be the founder of the eLearning Industry’s network; however, we should acknowledge the valid contribution and the interactivity of our awesome members. It is impossible for one person to run all these eLearning related sites without the active participation of our passionate members. Therefore, it is the eLearning Industry’s network members that should be honored. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to each one of our members and ensure them that I will continue serving them with more passion and hard work. Thank you guys!

Learnnovators: Thank you so much for sharing your valuable insights and experiences, Christopher. It was wonderful interacting with you. We wish you the very best!

(Visited 273 times, 2 visits today)

More To Explore

E-Learning

ZSOLT OLAH – CRYSTAL BALLING WITH LEARNNOVATORS

In this enlightening interview with Learnnovators, Zsolt Olah shares his pioneering insights on the integration of technology and learning in the workplace. As an expert in blending gamification with psychological insights, Zsolt discusses the evolution of learning technologies and their impact on creating engaging and effective learning environments. He emphasizes the importance of not letting technology dictate our thinking and the need for learning professionals to master data literacy and ask the right questions to harness AI’s potential. Zsolt’s forward-thinking vision for utilizing Generative AI to create seamless, personalized learning experiences highlights the transformative power of these technologies.

E-Learning

MARGIE MEACHAM – CRYSTAL BALLING WITH LEARNNOVATORS (SEASON II)

In this engaging interview with Learnnovators, Margie, known for her innovative use of artificial intelligence in educational strategies, discusses the integration of AI and neuroscience in creating compelling, personalized learning experiences that challenge traditional methods and pave the way for the future of training and development. Margie’s vision for utilizing AI to facilitate ‘just-in-time’ learning that adapts to individual needs exemplifies her creativity and forward-thinking.

Instructional Design

INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN BASICS – GOALS

This article emphasizes the importance of goals in instructional design. A goal, at the macro level, answers the WIIFM for the business. Broken down into a more micro level, it defines the specific actions learners need to take to reach the goal. This article focuses on the macro, business, goals and lists the characteristics of a good goal. It also discusses how to derive a good goal from a bad one by asking probing questions.

REQUEST DEMO