Conference Learning Experience. Sharing and networking are some of the most significant aspects of any conference. Since we now live in an environment where knowledge and experiential value take precedence, it goes without saying that designing memorable experiences should be a top priority for conference, event or meeting planners. This is so because delivering information per se is no longer enough to keep attendees engaged. Meetings that span hours or even days are likely to lead to information overload and research has shown that humans typically forget up to 90 percent of what they learn within a week. Therefore, making learning memorable is a must, and this is where experience-oriented conference design comes into place. Below we discuss three ways of using experience-based learning to support the goals of your conference.
1. Explore New Learning Models
Traditionally, the learning process at conferences was based on a passive model where the focus was on the delivery of content. While using the right delivery methods and tools is essential, this model has limited effectiveness because it lacks an experiential element. The solution? Explore alternative learning models where information is discovered — or even better, uncovered — by attendees, empowering them to take on an active role in their own learning journey.
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One of the keys is to tap into the innate curiosity all humans possess by creating and organising content in a way that prioritises the discovery element, using problem-solving, prompting attendees to reflect on the process needed to apply new knowledge, offering self-guided activities, etc. Discovery learning models lead to hands-on learning event experiences that promote high levels of engagement and turn attendees into active participants or even collaborators in the creation of their own learning journeys.
2. Incorporate Learning Experience Design (LX Design)
One of the most effective ways of turning your conference into a memorable learning experience is to apply the fundamentals of learning experience design, which is sometimes referred to as LX design. This discipline explores how design and learning come together and uses a goal-oriented approach that can be easily incorporated into the meeting planning and management process. Using LX design at events involves ensuring that the planning process covers stages like conceptualisation, research, prototyping, experimentation, testing, and iteration, making sure each of these steps promotes active learning that has experiential value. Moreover, you can use technology to assist you with this objective, as events tech can help create learning experiences using platforms that appeal to all attendees and their respective learning preferences, whether they are visual, auditory or sensory.
3. Experiential Value Beyond the Conference
Engaging conference learning experiences do not end once the last session is over. As the organiser, you can take the educational experience beyond the actual conference so that attendees can uncover the practical value and real-life application of what they have learnt.
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The principle here is learning by doing, which means you need to create opportunities that allow attendees to incorporate new information into their everyday lives. For example, you can organise post-conference online discussion groups or live stream storytelling sessions where attendees share how they have benefited from the conference. You could also put together a learning guide that attendees can take back to their workplaces and share with their colleagues, or add the learning guide to your website’s resources section.
In summary, conferences and similar events can provide excellent learning opportunities for both face-to-face and online, especially if organisers take an experiential, experience-based approach to designing and running events. This can also help organisers establish themselves as organisations that deliver valuable knowledge in modern and compatible formats using methods that foster reflection, self-directed learning, and information discovery.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 33 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.
If you wish to receive additional information about Congrex Switzerland, please feel free to contact us.