At the INGO E-Learning Conference today at Oxfam I had a chance to chat with Martin Baker of the Charity Learning Consortium. He told me about a new business book abstracting service called getAbstract, which is distributed in the UK by LMMatters. What I found interesting was the story he told me about one of the early clients for this service, a major multinational (to remain unnamed). The CEO decided to push the occasional 5-page abstract to lower levels of management within the organisation, as a stimulus for a subsequent discussion to be held online. The first abstract covered ther topic of innovation and they prepared the follow-up webinar on the assumption that 30 or 40 would attend. Tne result? An audience of 800.
This brought home two thoughts to me. Firstly, that the old 1-2 of an asynchronous piece of content followed by a synchronous debrief worked so well. Secondly that it would have been impossible to handle such an unpredictably large response in a face-to-face setting. Web conferencing really is the scalable option.