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Great Ideas Learning Formats Reflect Self-Directed Learning Trend

By / Mar 5, 2017 (iStock/Thinkstock)

Research shows that how people prefer to learn is changing and that no two attendees are alike. With that in mind, ASAE is offering seven distinct learning formats at this week’s Great Ideas Conference.

Associations are constantly experimenting with new learning formats in order to better meet attendee expectations, as well as to address the different ways people like to learn.

A recent blog post by the National Conference Center highlighted six trends in experiential learning. Among them: hands-on training in a lab-like setting, as opposed to the traditional meeting room, and learning by silence, where facilitators allow more time for reflection and meditation. Another research project from the German Convention Bureau shows that groups are turning to formats that allow attendees to not only self-select their learning interests but also share knowledge informally.

This week’s ASAE Great Ideas Conference in Orlando, Florida, is also reflecting some of these research-based trends with seven distinct learning formats.

“We know from the research that adults often prefer to engage in self-directed learning, and that philosophy drives much of what we’re doing in ASAE Learning,” said Rhonda Payne, CAE, ASAE’s chief learning officer. “The wider range of instructional methods, which our new formats represent, give our attendees more control over setting priorities and choosing the right content, materials, and methods that match their career-development goals.”

Here’s a closer look at each of these formats:

Brain dates. A “brain date” is a one-on-one appointment, in which two attendees are matched to exchange insights about the future of associations—or anything else on their minds.

Create. In “create” sessions, association leaders will work on creating tools, systems, and strategies that will enable them to run their organizations more effectively and efficiently. On Sunday, attendees had the chance to create an action plan for launching an organizational design-thinking initiative to generate, test, and develop ideas that will become new programs, products, or services.

Ideate. These are another kind of interactive learning session, featuring both idea generation and the development of unconventional solutions.

Inform. The “inform” sessions will help association leaders get up to speed on topics like The Mechanics of Innovation and Social Media and SEO. These are meant to give attendees a quick and informative rundown of a broad topic and provide core knowledge.

Inspire. During these sessions, thought leaders from outside the association space will share their ideas to inspire association execs in their own work. On Sunday, Soon Yu, global vice president of innovation at VF Corporation, discussed how to build an iconic advantage for your brand, as she did for The North Face and Wrangler.

Learn. These sessions are the more traditional ones, blending lectures with case studies, panels, and audience interaction.

Masterclass. These intensive, 2 ½-hour sessions will give association execs the skills to tackle a video strategy or make a tough decision.

“This kind of self-directed learning can provide a foundation for transformative learning—where attendees use critical thinking to challenge previous assumptions and integrate new learning with prior learning,” Payne said. “And when that kind of higher-level skills building happens, we’ve struck gold.”

Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is an Associate Editor for Associations Now. More »

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