I was lucky enough to be invited to the Nimble Community Day in Stonehouse near Stroud recently.

Nimble is an elearning authoring environment that we are fans of, here at Learning Light. We like its simplicity and ease with which it allows users to create engaging effective e-learning really very quickly.

We have been aware of the Nimble Success Programme for a while now and its desire to help companies succeed with e-learning, but the community day was, nonetheless a revelation.

Lots of companies have user groups and conferences, but how many can claim that their customers contribute time and products at their events…well the Nimble day sees Nimble users sharing their experience and contributing products or services to share around the community members. This created lots of fun and excitement.

The event was about engagement and began with a presentation from Barry Sampson from The More Than Blended Learning Company on this often vexed topic and this gave great focus to the day.

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However, where the value for me (and many of the delegates I chatted with) principally lay was with the 4 practitioner case studies who described not just how Nimble helped them launch their e-learning programmes (which it undoubtedly did), but the lacing of the presentations with the overall learning context and the real day to day challenges they faced made them just great!

The passion and enthusiasm and the very candid nature of the presentations were brilliant to listen to, it would be unfair to highlight one above the other as they all brought great learning points to the event.

Each varied in their approach; some succeeded with a top down programme of e-learning with real buy in from the organisation. Another operated in a completely different way, from the bottom us as change agents and one had managed to create a culture of learning that other professionals (subject matter experts) in the company were now creating e-learning themselves and submitting to be approved and used.

One organisation was successfully experimenting with open learning, stepping beyond compliance to create learning that was supportive to the employees of the organisation, the topic was resilience and this learning was improving staff welfare and benefitting the company…a true win win.

This candid honest sharing of success (and the odd frustration) was genuinely electric in its impact on the audience (or community) and hugely impressive for its reality.

The day saw smaller workshops were Nimble users could put forward ideas, raise issues, share frustrations and gain some real assurance that they really do belong to a community and that the company behind the community – Nimble (or elearning 247 to give them their proper name) is committed to the community as well.

This commitment was best illustrated by the innovative approach to the development pathway Nimble is taking and for me anyway in particular the solution developed to mobile learning by Nimble.

Accordingly, for my inner geek, the most interesting (though not quite as exciting moment) was the beta release of the Nimble mobile solution…….That’s a bit late you may say….well possibly yes, but in my view this is a technical solution that has been worth waiting for as it is really rather neat…or nimble perhaps to pun it to the limit.

There are several good mobile learning tools out there, but the challenge for Nimble is obviously that the community has built out a lot of e-learning materials already and just making those many hours obsolete would not be a great idea. Perhaps the community would then have evolved into an assize?

So the solution was to create a tool that can create e-learning easily for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, but, here is the clever bit: by using an algorithm it is possible to convert existing materials created for the desktop to be mobile friendly learning almost automatically.

The digital assets and text is placed into the phone shaped screen the developer can re-order if required and make additions or deletions and quality check. Usability in terms of button sizes and navigation is exceptionally well thought through, making the learning pretty effective mobile learning in a pretty short time. This looked very neat indeed…..and I suspect a few more tweaks to improve this still further are still to come, as this is the beta release.

So, something (at the end of day) for the geek, but more importantly something that really does make life simple for the Nimble community.

In conclusion, the day was smoothly run, having a fabulous English country house as a backdrop on a super sunny day with outside dining and lots of networking goes a long way, but the commitment from the Nimble team to its community is evidently very real indeed. So, I really am very grateful for the invite and very impressed indeed.

Here’s a short video which outlines what happened on the day:

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