Moving From In-Person to Online: How to Transform Traditional Conferences & Training for Gov’t

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The challenge facing agency leaders and human resources professionals is how to sustain a top-notch government workforce in a time when conferences are being canceled and training budgets are facing increased scrutiny. Moving in-person events and training to an online forum is one solution, but it’s not always easy to do it well. That’s why GovLoop and ON24 hosted a webinar to discuss best practices and examples on how to execute a successful virtual event and keep participants enthralled. View the training below:

Andrew Krzmarzick, Director of Community Engagement at GovLoop

Case Study: OPM Social Learning: HR University Course Conversion

Earlier this year, GovLoop converted 2-day DoD classroom course from OPM’s HR University. The course was called “Performance Management for HR Practitioners” and serves as a great example of integrating multiple virtual learning vehicles and tools to deliver productive learning results to participants. Andy talked about how the training course incorporated a virtual classroom, webinars and discussions in multiple formats, readings, podcasts and tools for self-paced learning and peer reflection. After the 6-week course, 79% of participants said that the “level of interaction in the course met or exceeded my expectations.”

Favorite Tip

Given the success, you’ll want to check out the archived event to read all the lessons learned and practical tips. My favorite tip of Andy’s was to include a gaming element, such as a challenge competition.

Adam Arthur, Virtual Platform Initiative Lead & Health Communication Specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Case Study: Public Health Informatics (PHI) Hybrid Conference

Adam outlined 8 reasons why the CDC embraced the use of a virtual platform, including flexibility. The CDC’s virtual system can be customized to accommodate additional technologies and functionality as needed by agency depending on the desired event. At the top of the list was cost-savings, which Adam highlighted with the case of the PHI Conference, a hybrid event held in 2011. Through its virtual component, Adam’s team estimated that the event saved nearly $800K in potential travel, lodging, food and other costs. In addition, enabling the PHI Conference virtually doubled the amount of attendees able to attend – over 900 individuals attended in-person and over 900 engaged virtually.

Takeaway Picks

Virtual events cost 96.5% less than in-person events ($16,574 vs. $474,704). In addition to monetary costs, the environmental savings are also substantial. The PHI virtual conference saved an estimated 1+ million lbs in CO2 emissions. Check out the slides from the archive to see the actual calculations.

Tom Masotto, Vice President of Product Management at ON24

Case Study: Presidential Management Fellows (PMF) Virtual Career Fair

Tom talked about how ON24 helped OPM create an online career fair for the Presidential Management Fellows. The job fair exemplified how in-person can truly be transformed to virtual. The job fair included a virtual greeter to introduce the fellows and help them navigate various resources and exhibits. When visiting the agency booths, attendees were able to gain information through videos, presentations and other resources. Booth chats in a couple of different formats enabled fellows to actually talk and interact with agency representatives. The event received an approval rate of 90% with particular kudos in convenience and recruiting efficiency.

Best Practice Tidbit

In closing, Tom provided 5 tips for virtual job fair best practices. The standout one for me was to use webcam-scheduled chat sessions to interact with job seekers and host Q&A sessions.

For more case studies and practical implementation tips, take a peak at the GovLoop guide below or download it.


Check out these supporting resources:

Thanks to ON24 for the insights and supporting the smooth webinar.