Ever since the first eBay Live! in 2002, this annual event has been known as a social and networking event for 10,000 or more eBay users who want to hobnob with each other as well as eBay employees. But eBay Live! is also an important educational opportunity for people looking to start businesses on eBay. "It's a combination of learning, celebrating and networking," says Guldner.
In fact, eBay Live! is at the top of Sinclair's list of educational opportunities. "People can learn more at a trade show than they can in any other environment," he says. "Being able to walk the floor and talk to vendors and see what's available to help you on eBay is a huge education that can't be duplicated anywhere else." And that's before you even get to the formal education offered there. This year's eBay Live!, held June 13 to 15 in Las Vegas, featured more than 175 classes, workshops, labs and seminars. It also had celebrity speakers such as Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream co-founder Jerry Greenfield. The keynote address by Whitman gave attendees a chance to hear about the future of eBay from the person in charge. All told, eBay Live! is an education in itself, says Sinclair. "You have a three-day smorgasbord of lectures on a wide variety of topics," he says. "You can pick from what you know and what you need to know."
"[eBay Live! is] a tremendous resource," agrees Josato, who has attended eBay Live! and gone to classes there as well as met with vendors of services for eBay sellers. "I recommend it to anybody who's getting serious about their business on eBay. There are just so many resources available."
Education on eBay has come a great distance from the first eBay University classes. From live radio shows to customizable online learning, eBay educational resources span a broad spectrum of topics and levels of sophistication. Education isn't just for newbies, nor is it only for experts. "We believe learning is a valuable part of the eBay experience, regardless of where you are with your career with eBay," explains Guldner. "So we have resources available for all types of users."
Though eBay education is largely about coursework and curriculum, that's not the whole story. Learning about eBay by taking notes in a classroom lecture, shaking hands at an eBay Live! networking function, sitting in front of your computer listening to an eBay Radio broadcast or taking an online course all help to put a face on the people who are part of the eBay community. "I can remember going to the first eBay Live!, and members were delighted to meet us," recalls Guldner. "It's a unique opportunity when we're out there teaching and making their experience on eBay a little better."
Learn More Online
eBay's educational offerings took on a state-of-the-art hue with the opening of the new eBay University Online this year. "It's a real change to our existing online training," says Sharon Guldner, manager of education programs for the eBay platform.
The new Learning Center consists of almost completely refreshed content, which is a significant evolution. More important is the introduction of a new platform that enables users to build their own customized lesson plans.
When users log on to eBay University Online, they will be provided with specific training recommendations based on their level of experience and interests. "If you're a brand-new user, we'll teach you the basics of buying, selling, photography and so forth," says Guldner. "If you're a little more experienced, we'll talk about the basics of using eBay Stores and other topics that are more advanced."
When users pick from a catalog of courses, they initiate a tracking system that follows their progress through the self-paced coursework. "If you have designed your own curriculum and built a catalog of four or five courses, and [you] get through only two-and-a-half of them, you can come back and pick up where you've left off," says Guldner.
eBay University Online doesn't stop there. As you make your way through the courses you've selected, you'll be presented with an ever-changing set of additional educational options for further learning. "After you've completed a set of lessons, we'll then recommend another set of classes and enable you to design additional coursework," says Guldner.
eBay University Online will appeal mostly to the more computer savvy eBay students. But there will always be offline training for people who prefer to get their education face to face. For the rest, eBay University Online offers cutting-edge, self-paced computer instruction available any time. Learn more at www.ebay.com/education.