What’s wrong with your conference? It’s just like school!
Most conference education has adopted bad baggage from America’s education system.
Every conference organizer was brainwashed for twelve or more years that our education system works. Every conference host is convinced that education only occurs with a subject matter expert at the front of the room lecturing to a group of silent passive listeners. Every conference executive thinks that their customers learn the same way they do.
Unfortunately, they are dead wrong!
What’s Wrong With Traditional Education?
What’s wrong with traditional education? It’s failing miserably. America’s education system is lagging terribly behind the rest of the world. It is a remnant of a long-gone era.
The result? Upward social mobility is declining. Participants of Occupy Wall Street protest because our inequality gap widens. Climbing the social ladder is no longer the American dream.
Consider the following outdated education methods:
- The factory model reigns with students treated as products on an assembly line where information is dumped in their heads through their ears resulting in learning. (Not!)
- Hearing is the best way to learn. (False!)
- Subject matter experts (SMEs) are the source of all right answers. (So wrong!)
- Critical thinking and group problem solving is considered cheating. (It’s how today’s work gets done.)
- Schools are in a safe bubble, protected from the real world guaranteeing that they are out of touch with reality. (Disconnected relevancy.)
- Teachers coerce students to memorize facts to pass standardized tests instead of motivating them to learn. (What’s in it for me?)
Unfortunately, our conferences mimic traditional education.
Time For Conference Change
It’s time to break out of the traditional conference education mold. It’s time to focus on what it takes to foster real learning!
It’s time to:
- Conceive education experiences that are multisensory where attendees take in information through hearing, seeing, writing, discussing, imagining, reflecting, participating and teaching others. Not just passively listening.
- Enable attendees to connect with and learn from each other.
- Dedicate time for reflection, thinking and discussion on the conference schedule.
- Design education experiences for meaningful peer conversations about specific relevant issues.
- Move beyond the traditional “grab as many business cards, meet as many people” networking sessions to engaging, structured, intentional peer connections.
- Devise learning experiences where people work in small groups to problem solve together.
- Create engaging education experiences that capture learners’ attention.
- Move from monologues to facilitated education experiences.
- Hire experienced professional educators to create meaningful, education that sticks.
- Provide simulations where attendees can practice new skills or review the knowledge they have acquired.
- Construct sessions where attendees can summarize what they have learned, evalute it, celebrate it and create action plans for how they plan to use it.
What would you add to the list of things conferences should change? Why are conference organizers resistant to change?