It’s true. We learn better together. Most of the information I got at Learning Solutions 2013 in Orlando could have been gleaned from reading countless articles, however, there is something about being face to face with your Personal Learning Network (PLN), that activates learning on another level.
I’ve been interacting with the people at this conference for several years but I never met any of them in person. Once I introduced myself everyone was so welcoming. People like Lisa Goldstein and Jane Bozarth brought me into the ever growing circle. In this way I experienced the conference as part of a larger ongoing conversation. That heightened the value of everything I took in.
Another multiplier effect was the LSCon App. Not only was it practical for organizing your schedule but it connected the sessions you were taking to the stream of conversations from the rest of the participants. The Twitter stream was also very active. In this way the conversation expanded beyond the conference. Tom Spiglanin, one of the speakers, created a flash chat on Twitter using a hash tag from the session number (#LS706). Instead of asking questions from blank faces, he got a stream of answers from people who may not always participate and even from beyond Orlando. Then after the conference, the backchannel curated by David Kelly allowed participants to review and share the material.
I’m not known as a great multitasker and yet I was engrossed in the sessions, taking notes in Evernote and commenting on the LSCon app and on Twitter. Far from being distracted, I was totally engaged and processing the ideas in a way that went beyond simply absorbing information.
This was an eLearning conference but we were in live sessions. One of the key themes was “learning at the point of need” and yet we were learning for future application. Another theme was “performance support” and yet what we were learning was about the conceptual framework of performance not performance itself.
Learning together meant being open to new ideas and new combinations of thinking.