Sunday, January 13, 2013

Extending the learning experience for conference attendees

How difficult would it be to extend the learning experience for conference and workshop attendees by creating a workspace on the web with links to additional resources?

Elizabeth Shown Mills has done precisely that at

The Board for Certification of Genealogists has created a workspace to a lesser degree at

No genealogy topic can be thoroughly explored in a single workshop session.

Ol' Myrt here has previously written about a "collaborative learning environment" where sessions run at least 90 minutes and feature an open discussion workshop format (read that "no lectures") with skillfully guided studies by a seasoned presenter. Educators have long since known that active participation makes for better learning experiences.

Genealogy workshop presenters (notice I didn't say lecturers) should realize they have a captive audience and offer to extend the learning experience for attendees through the use of:

  • Planned follow-up materials 
  • Additional information based on workshop discussion
  • A scheduled follow-up conference call
  • Webinars detailing the next step in a process
  • An online discussion forum
  • Spotlighting student achievements
Just where should these be offered? At the workshop presenter's genealogy website.

Too much work for too little pay? Not when one considers it is less work to place the answer to a student's question once on your own website than many times via individual e-mails, on a disappearing Facebook timeline, or  a mailing list that doesn't permit graphics. It is that scanned image of a document that might clarify the problem.

A comprehensive approach to handout and web page design, together with noteworthy web content requires only a small degree of social networking to extend the learning experience for conference attendees. A happy side effect is an increase in speaking contracts. 

Happy family tree climbing!

Myrt     :)
Your friend in genealogy.

Twitter: @DearMYRTLE
G+: +Pat Richley-Erickson
Second Life: Clarise Beaumont

1 comment:

  1. Myrt, I've not attended a non-genealogy conference in the last two years that had paper handouts regardless of the size of the conference. Everything is electronic now (many have their own app) and some are becoming very interactive. Dreamforce (which is a force unto itself, no pun intended!) has Chatter groups for each of its sessions. Once you register for a session you can "follow" that session. That allows for interaction with the presenter and other attendees before the conference. The groups stay open for several months after the conference as well. Not a concept that every conference can undertake but it certainly makes one think of the possibilities. A smaller niche conference I attend (approx 400 attendees) sets up a conference forum of sorts for each year's conference. Attendees can upload their photo, create a profile and communicate with other attendees. That method fosters attendee networking and collaboration as well as helping exhibitors to pre-plan meetings with attendees. There are so many options now. The days of lugging that 4lb syllabus around are surely close to an end?