Saturday, August 21, 2010

Engaging Learners

Learners need to be engaged to learn.

That sounds so simple. No matter how much technology we get, no matter how many ways we have to connect electronically, it all pales compared with face to face communication. Think about the frustrations when we are forced to go through voice message after voice message when calling a company we want service from, and feel unable to get it. Then think about when something is going right, it usually involves a person or a group of people who have created an environment, an organization, a sports team, a social group, or a school, for example, where a community can flourish. A natural extension of community is when we come together at an event to celebrate, network and be recognized.

Once the goals are established, there are two main considerations, the content you will deliver and the methods of delivery, and the environment you will deliver it in. This may involve a traditional classroom style, being lectured at by a presenter, for example. But more and more research shows that these are not the methods that will increase our engagement, or aid in the retention of information, and most importantly, it is not the most effective way to affect change, and if we are not seeking a change, or at least a shift, then why are you meeting?  (well maybe for celebration and recognition but that is another blog)

The next time it comes to meet, determine the w's -

1. Who is involved in the meeting?

2. what are they there for - learning? Motivation? Reward?

3. where will you meet - what country / city / venue will be the most suitable?

4. when is the best time to meet - is there an immediate need, is it a trip they need time to earn or an annual meeting you are planning for?

5. Why is there a meeting - find clarity among your stakeholders! First, the goals of meeting. Are you seeking to educate? Motivate? Change perceptions? Affect change? Create a greater sense of community?

6. How are you going to accomplish your goals?

What about hybrid meetings?

While there is a place for "hybrid" meetings, where we combine electronic support such as a webinar or broadcast, with a place to come together and share an experience. Ideally in a hybrid situation we are able to engage before the meeting or event, during through either social networking or live chats, and then follow up with further interaction that supports the learning offered.

Any comments? Please share your thoughts!

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