While I was in the thick of judging entries for the awards shortlist last summer, I was working (as sadly the day job must go on…) with a consultant who every now and then has occasion to subcontract to eLearning providers. “How do you choose who to work with?” I asked. “Oh the first thing I do is look through the award winners” came the reply.
While I was initially surprised at the consultant’s approach, I shouldn’t have been. Winning an eLearning award is more than receiving a prize or a pat on the back. It’s a marker, a bold yellow highlight around your name in a long list of competitors, a big arrow on a complicated map that says ‘Here be quality’. It tells everyone that you really know what you’re doing and you’re serious about it.
But surely you don’t need to be an award winner to really know what you’re doing and be serious about it? Of course not, that’s what can make judging the awards so difficult, and it can be quite a challenge to choose between a number of top quality submissions.
Work that really stands out always has something special about it – it may be a stroke of ingenuity, it may be the impact it’s had, it may be what it’s achieved in a short time, it may any number of things, alone or in combination. OK, so that’s not much help to you if you’re trying to learn from other people’s success in order to improve your own offering, or if you’re planning to enter for an award this year.
The best way to pick up some of the magic sparkle is to get up close and personal so it rubs off onto you. By that I mean seeing the award winning material in detail, in action. Hearing how the winners put the work together. Finding out what challenges they had and how they met them. Asking questions so you can relate the winners to your own context. And hearing what the judges themselves have to say about it.
But how are you supposed to do all that? Well it just so happens (!) that the eLearning Network is running an awards showcase event at Birmingham University on April 28th, where six gold award winners will be there to strut their stuff. Places are limited, and all the details about the event and how to book are available by clicking here. Hope to see you there.
eLearning Awards Chair of Judges.