As part of coping in this time of upheaval, I’m trying different things. Which isn’t new, but there seem to be more innovations to tap into. In addition to teaching a course on mobile learning, I’m one of the speakers at a new online event. And, what’s nice, is that they’re experimenting with conference design, not just moving straight online.
To be fair, the Learning Guild has had a continual practice of trying different things at their conferences, and it’s been good. And, so too, was the most recent TK by ATD. But this is different. Two of my colleagues organized it as a response to our ‘new normal’, Will Thalheimer and Matt Richter. And their stated goal is changing the way we conference.
The key, of course, is to leverage what’s different, and possible, online. It’s running from June 22 – July 31. That’s not a typo, it’s all of July and the tail end of June. That’s a long time! They’ve recruited a suite of experts from around the world (they’re really trying to do this across boundaries include time and geography). And, to let you know, I’m one (so take my comments with the appropriate caveats ;).
They’re also tossing out traditional ideas and open to new ones. Speakers are expected to build an experience that’s spread out over the time. Yet also designed so that you can come in late, or early, and drill into what you want when you want. They’re also planing on having synchronous events – debates, panels, socializing – again using technology.
Note that it’s not free. There are some free conferences being put on, mostly webinars. And those are good. This is different. It’s deeper. It’s a stab at looking afresh. And I’m not sure it could even have come from any existing framework.
And, we won’t know if it all will work. We’re designing this in the time between now and launch. There’re bound to be hiccups. Which, of course, means there’re bound to be learnings. I know I want to talk about Learning Science 101. And something else. Lots I could (I welcome suggestions). I’m inclined to think it might be Emotion and Learning. But it could also be LXD. (There are all linked, of course.)
But it’s a high quality group (er, mostly…they did let me in). AND, importantly, it’s focused on evidence-based content. There may be sponsors, or even an exhibit hall, but every presenter is honor-bound not to push anything that’s not legit. Most importantly, there’s enough quality that overall it’s bound to be worth it.
I’m excited, frankly. I have to come up with some different ideas. And I like that. I’m glad that they’re experimenting with conference design. We all win, regardless! It’s part of learning, challenging yourself. So, do yourself a favor. Check it out. It may not be for you, but keep an open mind!