Whether we like it or not, the Web has changed the way we view things.
For example, we are accustomed to clicking to a new page when the current one is boring. We spend our time on Websites that give us the most satisfaction.
During conferences, people have no problem with walking out of a boring presentation, even if they are sitting in the front of the room. The Web has taught them not to waste their time on things that do not give them some fulfillment.
Six Ways The Internet Is Changing Conference Learning
Author and educator Jay Cross identified nine ways the Internet is changing the best corporate learning. Here are six ways to leverage Cross’ Internet values for your conference education.
1. Peer Power Rules
Think of your conference education as a partnership with the attendees–the learners–not a one-way delivery of content. In today’s knowledge era, the audience knows as much or even more than the speaker. Subject matter networks subvert the traditional subject matter expert.
Secure learning facilitators that share a small amount of content and then let the learners discuss it. Peer to peer learning is better than the traditional sage on the stage.
2. Authenticity Leads
The Internet invites and encourages “Tell it like it is.”
For conferences, it’s acknowledging that the experts don’t have all the answers. It’s admitting that we are in this together. It’s benefitting from the wisdom of the crowd’s experience.
Sometimes, it’s best to let the learners struggle with the issues and share what’s has and hasn’t worked. Connecting people to each other and their experiences is wise.
3. Transparency Guides
People and organizations that horde information actually harm themselves. You can’t build trust and relationships with those that aren’t willing to share. We learned that in kindergarten.
Adopting an attitude that sharing information will help the industry or profession move forward is best.
4. Long Live The Perpetual Beta
If you wait to market your conference education after it is all finalized, you’ll be out of date. It’s ok to start marketing before everything is completed.
Similarly, it’s ok to experiment with learning formats. Let your learners help you refine and evaluate new offerings. Use their feedback to drive changes.
5. Adopt The Long Tail
When it comes to conference education, the niche specialists, small businesses and nimble teams have traditionally been short changed. We used a one-size fits all conference education model.
The Web now lets us scale things faster. We can connect rich niches together before the event and create customized learning for them at our conference. Look for unique opportunities to leverage these often overlooked specialists, small organizations and teams.
6. Foster Connections
If your conference learning program does not support the power of networks, it will fail. Learning takes place through conversations, collaborations, storytelling and story sharing, community chats and revealing experiences and knowledge.
Savvy conference organizers create digital and face-to-face water cooler chat opportunities that embrace informal learning. These networking sessions are more than trading business cards or looking for business opportunities.
What are some other ways the Internet is changing conference learning? Which of these do you like for your own learning and why?
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