Membership

Lunchtime Links: Smart Thoughts on Ongoing Education

Even if you're busy, don't forget to focus on learning. Also: If you're running a conference, make the job easier for those looking to learn.

Even though a lot of time may have passed since college for many of us, education is an ongoing process.

For you, it’s important to make time. For your members trying to make time, your job is to help move any roadblocks. More from the association world:

When’s the last time you booked yourself half a day out of the office with just a blank notebook and a pen?

Give yourself time to learn: Humanize co-author Jamie Notter argues that many of us get excited about the idea of ongoing education, when, really, the important thing is to spend time actually doing it: “When’s the last time you booked yourself half a day out of the office with just a blank notebook and a pen? When’s the last time you and your team spent time thinking about work/programs/etc. that you are NOT currently doing?”

Why learning is important: Jeff Cobb of Mission to Learn says even if you’re sold on the idea of ongoing learning, understanding the reasons for doing so is key. “Knowing the reasons can help with clarifying our learning goals and planning,” he explains. “It can help keep us focused at those times when maybe learning does not seem like its own reward, when we need discipline; and, finally, it can arm us with some arguments to bring others into the global community of lifelong learners.”

How conferences can facilitate ongoing education: With his cleverly titled post “Moving attendees from no where to now here,” author Adrian Segar notes the importance of event professionals to keep attendees focused on the very thing they went to the conference for — learning. “Often we squander the gift of attention we have been given,” Segar explains. “In return we offer a passive experience of listening to a few people speaking for a long period of time.”

Focus your options: As Jeff Hurt of Velvet Chainsaw recently explained, conferences are like restaurants — and the ones with many options can show a lack of focus: “When conference organizers don’t know their customers very well, they tend to offer a menu that is a smorgasbord buffet of education options,” he says. “The conference program is the size of a small outdated phone book. The variety of education sessions is overwhelming as there is something for everyone.” The secret? Know your audience and create something for everyone.

What techniques have you used to focus your offerings at conferences? Tell us about them in the comments.

(TMG archive photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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