Virtual events training course an international success

How an Aussie organisation created a virtual events course in just seven days.

In mid-April as the COVID-19 crisis began impacting the global event industry, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of Indonesia put a call out to training bodies around the world – they wanted an accredited course on how to pivot live events to a virtual format.

Despite competition from the US and the UK, the Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) won the bid to develop and roll out the two-week, online course to 120 senior event managers in Indonesia.

The catch? AMI had less than two weeks to write, record and launch the training program.

“From the time we got the green light, we only had seven working days to write an accredited course, pre-record 20+ keynote speakers, build a learning management system and be ready to launch to 120 senior event managers over in Indonesia,” said Billie Cox, business development manager at AMI.

“There were periods of time when we thought ‘Can we do this?’, but we did and we had the course built and up and running for launch.”

A bespoke learning management platform was created for the course, which included course content, videos, a content library, live sessions, chat rooms and mentor sessions.

Designed for a range of industries but particularly tourism, the training provided hands-on, practical experience to equip participants with the skills required to plan, market and execute their own virtual events.

As there is currently no specific Australian qualification framework for virtual events, AMI adapted current government criteria for regular event marketing modules and enlisted the help of experts to deliver the content.

“We looked at the key areas to be covered and found who we thought were the leading experts in that area,” said Cox.

“At that stage the experts had only two days notice to have their scripts, powerpoints and sessions built and into the recording studio, so it as amazing that everyone was willing to come on board in that tight timeframe.”

Facilitators include representatives from industry-renowned organisations including SalesForce, Zadro Communications and Forrester, who used real case studies to address the challenges the events and marketing industries are facing.

Adapting for a local audience

Following huge success with the Indonesian participants, the virtual events training course has now been adapted and offered to Australian event professionals looking to upskill.

AMI sought feedback on the course and has now developed additional sessions, including focusing on the production side of virtual events, how to brief virtual presenters and a budgeting session.

Cox said the training course is beneficial to event managers of all levels and will give a competitive advantage for those who may be looking for work.

“It’s a competitive job market out there – a lot of people have been stood down and let go,” she said.

“So by having this credential to be able to say ‘I’ve been trained in this and I know what I’m talking about’ is going to give people a competitive advantage when those few jobs do come up in the event industry.”

AMI is also offering the course at a heavily discounted rate, to ensure the training is accessible to all.

“We’re offering the eight-week course for the price of a one-day course,” said Cox.

“We’ve tried to keep the cost as low as possible to help and support the event and marketing industries and we didn’t want the price point to be barrier for anyone to have access to the course.”

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