Flipping Conference Education For Successful Learning

2014.03.28_Flipped Thinking

Sure, the “flipped classroom” is a buzzword and the trend right now.

However, the concept of being learner-centric and providing active learning during the education session is not a trend!

It’s here to stay because it works!

Defining Flipped Education

So what is the flipped conference education session?

In short, the term is used to describe any format where there is a pre-recorded or pre-conference feature. It might be a lecture on video, recorded PPT presentation or pre-conference webinar. The in-class conference session is then used for discussion, activities or exercises.

Flipped classroom attendees often view several lectures between three to ten minutes each before the conference. Attendees then bring their questions, concerns, thoughts and insights to the session to share with each other.

Why Flipped Education?

This is not a fad about watching videos online. It is about attendees as participants in collaboration, inquiry and participation.

Flipped conference education:

1. Redefines conference education session as center for participant interaction.

The focus is on what the attendee will do during the conference session, not just sit and listen. Speakers are no longer the sage on the stage but the guide on the side. Their focus is on helping attendees move from passive listeners to active participants to co-creators of knowledge.

2. Shifts the transfer of information to before the education session.

Delivery of information or transfer of information as educators call it is not a great conference differentiator. Right now the web is the best delivery model for information, not the lecture!

3. Redefines the role of the attendee as participant and the speaker as facilitator.

Not all speakers can make this shift easily. Some will refuse as they believe their lecture leads to attitude, behavior and skill change…which it doesn’t.

Presenters no longer just deliver content. Presenters have to think differently about their session with a focus on learning design…designing some type of activity, whether discussion, reflection or exercise, where attendees do the work of thinking, collaborating, investigating, connecting, etc.

Flipped Classroom Challenges

So what are the challenges with the flipped learning model?

1. Focus on learning design

While this is a positive, it is also a challenge. Most speakers are experts at their field or industry. They are not experts on learning (or presenting)! They have to uncover what learning is and how to design experiences that lead to learning.

2. Pre-Conference work

Some attendees will not do the pre-work. They forget or allow other priorities to take precedent.

That’s ok. Let it happen. If they don’t do the pre-work they will feel lost and may not allow it to happen again.

Another way around this challenge is to ask who has not participated in the pre-work. Then pair them up with individuals that did the pre-work and give them two-minutes to share the highlights from the pre-work.

3. Preparing Pre-Work

Yes, it takes time to prepare the pre-conference video, webinar, recording, etc. Yet the value for the attendee is extremely high and worth the time.

Final Flipped Thoughts

The flipped model puts the responsibility for learning squarely on the shoulders of the attendee, where it’s always been.

It also represents a huge shift in the conference education dynamic from being passive to active with great results.

For more information:

What’s your experience with the flipped model of learning? What barriers do you need to overcome to use the flipped model at your next event?

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