Title: Facilitating learning at conferences

Authors: Ib Ravn, Steen Elsborg

Addresses: Department of Education, Aarhus University, Tuborgvej 164, 2400 Copenhagen NV, Denmark. ' Department of Education, Aarhus University, Tuborgvej 164, 2400 Copenhagen NV, Denmark

Abstract: The typical conference consists of a series of PowerPoint presentations that tend to render participants passive. Students of learning have long abandoned the transfer model that underlies such one-way communication. We propose an alternative theory of conferences that sees them as a forum for learning, mutual inspiration and human flourishing. We offer five design principles that specify how conferences may engage participants more and hence increase their learning. In the research-and-development effort reported here, our team collaborated with conference organisers in Denmark to introduce and facilitate a variety of simple learning techniques at 30 1- and 2-day conferences of up to 300 participants each. We present ten of these techniques and data evaluating them. We conclude that if conference organisers allocate a fraction of the total conference time to facilitated processes that engage participants in various forms of reflective conversation and knowledge sharing, they may enhance the satisfaction and learning-related outcomes experienced by their participants.

Keywords: conferences; meetings; learning techniques; conference participation; facilitation; reflection; mutual inspiration; participant engagement; delegate involvement; Denmark; reflective conversation; knowledge sharing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLC.2011.041873

International Journal of Learning and Change, 2011 Vol.5 No.1, pp.84 - 98

Received: 08 May 2021
Accepted: 12 May 2021

Published online: 09 Aug 2011 *

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