July 26, 2012 by Jeff Hurt
We need more game changing, transformative learning at our conferences!
We need more learning. Deeper learning. More effective education that leads to transformative, productive, professional change.
We need more peer sharing and peer learning. We need more education experiences based on scientific evidence of how the adult brain learns.
We need conferences to be the channel that leads to positive metamorphosis in our professional lives. We need conference learning game changers!
There are thousands of lives that could be transformed if we offered better learning experiences at conferences.
For learning to occur with our customers, we cannot just keep doing the same things! It’s not been transformative in the past so why do we think it will be transformative in the future? The lecture rarely causes change!
We need to provide education sessions that serve as the catalyst for transformative change for that is when true learning occurs.
Our customers encounter roadblocks along their conference journey of learning.
Some aren’t prepared to work and think during our education programs. Some don’t have strong motivations to learn. Some are fearful that they are missing information in other sessions that might help them succeed. Some are bored. Some have personal challenges back at home. Competing demands from work and family distract.
Our trade associations and conferences have their own sets of roadblocks too. Escalating costs. Decreased funding. Rising demand. Entrenched traditional practices. Lack of experience. Confined spaces. Outdated models. Constraining policies.
If real learning is a game changer, than what are the game changes for education?
We have to give more attention to designing, developing, structuring, delivering and assessing our attendee learning experiences. Scheduling speakers and content from the call for proposal is not enough. It is a barrier to a better learning experience. The traditional smile-sheet evaluation is not enough as well.
The majority of our conference education is based on speaker-centric design. It revolves around the expert and their knowledge. The speaker is the center of the program. We have to shift so that the learner, the attendee, the customer, the participant is the center of the program’s design. We have to design better learner-centered education.
Openness is a philosophy as well as a model for innovation and business. Through sharing, remixing and repurposing learning experiences that work for some conferences, we can create new value. We can capture and continually improve what is truly working for others and then implement it so it leads to learning for our customers.
Trend analysis, forecasting, prediction and optimization all allow conference organizers to identify customer problems, issues, gaps and challenges. We have to get better at collecting, analyzing and applying conference data. Then we can intervene and improve the learning experience for our customers’ success.
Helping our customers make better decisions about their education and content choices is critical to our customers’ success. We have to get better at being more consultative for our customers. Collecting the right data can actually help match individuals with sessions and content that best suits them. We need to start offering better attendee-support systems.
Education that leads to transformative learning is a game changer. We owe it to ourselves as conference hosts and organizers, to our customers, to our stakeholders and to our organizations to keep working to change the traditional education experience for the better.
Which of these five game changers would be the easiest for you to implement now? Which of these five game changers is the most challenging for you and why?
Filed Under: Conference Education
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