Digital U is the Virtual Edge Institute’s learning environment that houses not just the DES Online Learning Program, but also the presentations from Virtual Edge Summits 2009-2012. You will not find a richer or more complete catalog of digital event education anywhere!
You don’t have to be seeking certification to get access to Digital U. The 16-module curriculum is designed to help you experience the latest in digital technology solutions to effectively plan and produce your digital engagements – whether or not you choose to be certified.
For the same course fee of $595 you can have access to the DES learning modules and self-assessments.
The DES Learning Program is a complete program – individual modules are not available. But you may purchase and view any of the Virtual Edge Summit sessions individually.
Following is a complete list of the modules in the DES Learning Program:
1. Introduction to Digital Events
What is the definition of a digital event and what does it mean in practice? In this introductory module, we examine the basic digital event models, the benefits of each and the minimum infrastructure required. We’ll touch on streaming video, Web conferencing, full-featured digital event platforms, CMS event plug-ins, Webinars, social event platforms and 3D immersive solutions. You’ll learn to evolve your business toward a digital event model – be it hybrid, fully virtual or perpetual.
2. Digital Event Modes & Models
With this module, we discuss popular and successful digital event application categories, such as social viewing, training, corporate meetings, job fairs, conferences and trade shows. We’ll explore the platforms and tools commonly used for each of these formats, and some of the benefits and limitations associated with each model. Select case studies are used as examples of successful and innovative digital event programs as an aid to help us understand the formulas these producers used to achieve success. We include a high-level discussion of business-model formulation, planning and execution
3. Needs Assessment, Strategy, User and Sponsor Experience
Take your first deep dive into the details of delivering a virtual event, starting with needs analysis, and proceeding through team formation, budgeting, content planning and user and sponsor experience design. This module will also touch on vendor selection and collaboration, event pre-launch, delivery, and post-launch. We’ll also explore the important issue of metrics — which seek to prove the underlying value proposition for digital event interaction to exhibitors, sponsors and other stakeholders.
Though your event objectives and the attendee and sponsor experiences come before choosing a technology, your technology and vendor solution is nonetheless an important decision. In this module, we review the features and functions of Webcasting, 2D and 3D virtual events, community platforms, event portals and mobile solutions. We’ll examine the services and support necessary for each, and explore the steps involved in vendor selection.
5. User Experience and Engagement Mapping
Mapping a user experience is unique to digital events, and not a practice with which most physical event planners are familiar, though digital marketers will have exposure to the concept. In this module, you’ll learn to map the goals and objectives of your program to specific actions you want attendees to take, and how you want them to think and feel when they leave your event. You’ll learn to identify and incorporate attendees’ needs, preferences and points of view as you develop elements of your experience that result in the actions you seek. You’ll also explore the tools and techniques that will ensure success.
6. Content Strategy & Development
Arguably the single most important aspect of your digital event, it’s critical to get your content strategy, production and delivery just right. With this module, we learn to develop a formal content strategy – one with objectives, audience research and content engagement tactics. We’ll delve into speaker – training, and explore the various methods for delivering content. We’ll look at packaging and repurposing content around fresh, new event material, and take a high-level look at creating content with which people will really connect.
7. Exhibits, Sponsorships & Other Monetization Techniques
In this module, we focus on the critical topic of planning, marketing, selling and executing exhibitor and sponsor programs that generate revenue for you – and results for your exhibitors and sponsors. We’ll review a variety of monetization strategies and learn to set realistic goals. You’ll see digital opportunities from an exhibitor’s point of view, and learn to communication the proper message, set the proper expectations and create the types of engagements that will please the exhibitor as well as the attendee, thereby ensuring success – and future digital programs.
8. Project and Resource Management
As with physical events, the success of digital events is predicated upon efficient project management. With this module, we explore the various moving parts of a digital event and the timelines that optimize planning. We’ll examine the staffing, the skillsets, the outside resources and the vendors you’re likely to use as you launch your initiative. For those whose events are hybrid, we’ll also delve into how involved the physical event staff should be with the virtual team – or if, in fact, a separate virtual team is required. Cost management is also covered, and, as is applicable, various pricing models for revenues to cover those costs.
9. Engagement: Networking, Interactive Strategies & Methods
How do you get your attendees to engage and interact during your events? This module begins with developing an understanding of what engagement looks like and why it’s vital to your digital experience; and the challenges involved in keeping audiences engaged. We’ll examine the techniques for fostering attendee interaction, what the options of engagement and networking are in various types of digital environments and how they can be successfully implemented. Just as you find in the physical event world, “structured networking” opportunities often work best in virtual environments. This module will explore successful tactics and strategies for fostering robust attendee communication and interaction.
10. Marketing & Audience Acquisition Strategies & Methods
Marketing your digital event is much like marketing a physical event – but with a few unique twists. Unless attendance at your event is mandatory (such as with internal company meetings) you’ll still need good lists, strong branding, a clear message that speaks to the attendees’ needs, and a multi-platform marketing strategy. But you also have to sell attendees on the concept of attending digitally. And you’ll need a plan to convert “registrants” to “attendees.” If your event’s hybrid, a dual-event marketing plan will also be critical. In this module, you’ll learn to raise event awareness and engagement before, during and after your event using a deep understanding of your audience, community building, timing, content marketing and social channels. We’ll also explore how your digital event can be used to drive in-person attendance at your next physical event.
11. Effective Hybrid Strategies & Tactics
Hybrid means different things to different people. Some are using very simple and inexpensive methods of broadcasting content from their events with little engagement or production support. Others are designing elaborate user experiences and engaging high-end productions with “on-air talent.” In this module we’ll help plan a hybrid strategy that’s right for your organization, and define meaningful objectives and realistic expectations. You’ll dive into costs, staffing, content selection, speaker training, dual-event marketing and onsite execution. You’ll also explore the strategy behind timing your digital event – be it during your physical event, as a separate follow-on event or as a purely on-demand event.
12. Product Launches and Partner Events
Many believe that product launches are the ultimate use of digital event solutions. Not only can you increase your reach, but you can do it on a global scale. With this module, we examine the tools and techniques for successful digital product launches – be they extensions of physical launch events, follow-on events or standalone digital events. This module also explores the use of digital solutions for partner programs. We’ll delve into the content, production, pacing, collateral, engagement techniques and marketing required for effective product launches and partner programs.
13. Online Community and 365 Virtual Environments
As more organizations make the transition from virtual event to ongoing engagement, it’s important to understand the difference between online community and a perpetual virtual environment. This module will examine the difference between virtual event platforms and community platforms and explore how the technologies are beginning to converge. You’ll learn to apply a methodology to decide whether to engage attendees post-event with an extended access virtual environment, a persisting online community or an integration of both. You’ll also discover alternative methods for integrating virtual events and online communities.
14. Education & Learning
Learning is critical to events and meetings – be they physical or digital – and engagement is the key to learning. Research shows that digital technology can actually facilitate engagement in ways which are difficult to achieve in physical settings. With this module, we learn to use digital solutions to meaningfully engage attendees in learning activities through interaction with others, and by completing worthwhile tasks. We explore the role of exclusive content experiences and engagements for both physical and virtual audiences. And we examine the importance of the content itself and its availability for consumption, including on-demand and mobile.
15. Mobile Apps, ID Tags & Tools
Mobile applications are the fastest growing segment of the event technology industry and have all legacy event technology firms scrambling to catch up and make their solutions mobile enabled as well. Quick Response (QR), Near Field Communication (NF) and a host of mobile device identification tags are poised to have a significant impact on events and meetings. This module will take you through the technology and capabilities and uses of all of the major mobile initiatives for creating more connected event experiences. We’ll cover what to use, how to use it, why and when.
16. Tracking, Measurement & Reporting
A wealth of metrics and analytics are available through the various virtual event platforms, and this module examines how those tools can be used to measure and report activity to exhibitors, sponsors, speakers and management. We’ll explore the basic elements of measuring levels of engagement and ROI, and how and when to use simple traffic reports vs. more robust, supplemental data. You’ll learn to use your data to continuously improve your events by creating actionable information.