In a recent blog post I asked Registrant, Attendee, Participant Or Learner? What do we call people who attend a conference or event?
As a recap, here are the definitions of those words and I’ve added delegate to the discussion as well. The differences are subtle yet articulate distinct responses and actions.
- Registrant – one who registers or is registered; a person who is formally registered and gains certain rights thereby.
- Attendee – one who is present or attends a functions; a person who participates in a meeting
- Participant – one that participates, shares or takes part in something; a participator; a partaker
- Learner – one that gains knowledge, comprehension or mastery through experience or study; someone who learns or takes knowledge or beliefs; one that is learning; one that is acquiring new knowledge, behaviors, skills, values or preferences.
- Delegate – a person designated to act for or represent another or others; deputy; representative, as in a political convention.
Here are some of the responses to my question.
Dick Carlson – an Instructional Designer and presenter likes the word Delegate.
Judith Christian-Carter – a Learning & Development Owner, Instructional Design and eLearning specialist had a little fun with the word Delegate
Olavur Ellefsen – a developer of learning simulations and provider of team based education and training to oil and gas industry
Scott Klososky – author, professional speaker and technology consultant
Laura Bergells – a content, community and presenter consultant
Rachel Evans – Theatre Ed Teacher and Educational Theatre Association
Paul Salinger discussed how we may have trained attendees to be passive and just listen to lectures.
The one issue we may need to address is whether we have done such a good job of training our “attendees” to be relatively passive and listen rather than participate, or sit through a long powerpoint-laden presentation, that this new way of approaching learning design is actually too intimidating and that some people do not want this kind of engagement.
Adrian Segar says:
If people register at an event that makes them a registrants; if they attend an event they’re attendees; if they participate to some degree they’re participants to that degree. But what and how much someone learns is ultimately up to them.
Read more comments from Paul Salinger and Adrian Segar.
Do you think this is just a matter of semantics or an important issue to discuss? What ideas or suggestions do you have about what to call people who attend conferences or events?