Posted tagged ‘events’

How to make the most out of a conference

15 May 2017

When I was invited to kick off last week’s AITD National Conference by hosting a breakfast session about Personal Knowledge Management, the last thing I wanted to do was deliver a traditional presentation.

Given the massive scope of PKM, I needed to narrow my focus. And given the contemporary thrust of this event, I needed to do something fresh.

After agonising over the problem for almost a full minute, it dawned on me that the immediate relevance of PKM to the conference attendees lay in how they were going to make the most out of said conference.

But who was I to teach my peers in the industry how to suck eggs? So I ditched the typical instructivist approach in favour of the andragogic. In other words, I crowdsourced the content.

From this fruitful exercise I’m pleased to share with you 8 co‑created tips for making the most out of a conference.

Ryan Tracey at AITD2017 with Michelle Ockers documenting the crowd's ideas.

1. Attend all the sessions.

This one seems too obvious to mention, but a 1 or 2 day conference can be mentally exhausting. You may be tempted to wag a session here or there to relax and recharge, but don’t do it out of sheer laziness.

I’ve lost count of the number of times an apparently unattractive session has turned out to be excellent, or it’s sparked a useful tangential idea.

Remember you’ve invested time and money into these days. They won’t be back until next year, so extract every drop of goodness while you can.

2. Read the blurbs.

Conference organisers are getting a lot better at ensuring the content of the blurb bears some resemblance to the content of the session.

Read the blurb to get your mindset in order, and to consider how the content will help you in your role. Also consider what questions you might want to have answered. Which leads me to…

3. Ask questions.

Some presenters welcome questions during the session, while others prefer you wait until the end. In either case, be brave and ask your questions because by doing so you are personalising your learning experience.

4. Take notes.

The fire hydrant of ideas is too much for the human brain to handle, so you need to distribute your cognition.

You might want to go old-school by jotting your notes down on paper, or type them into a mobile device. Alternatively you could take photos, draw pictures, produce mind maps, or record videos.

I like to tweet my notes because the character limit forces me to zero in on the essence of the message. After the conference, I’ll look up my profile on Twitter to review my list.

5. Use social media.

If you do use Twitter, include the official hashtag in your tweets. Not only does this feed the backchannel, but you too can follow the tweets of your fellow attendees. I find it fascinating to learn their thoughts about the session I’m watching.

If you don’t blog, I suggest you reconsider. Even if you don’t publish your work, blogging is an excellent vehicle for reflection. After the conference, expand on the notes you’ve taken by deep diving into aspects that take your fancy. And if you publish your blog, you’ll be sharing something useful with the wider community.

6. Extend your network.

In the AITD’s discussion forum on LinkedIn, I asked my fellow members whether conferences were obsolete in the digital age. Each of the 20-odd replies I received was a resounding “no”, citing the rich networking opportunities that in-person events offer.

I love catching up with old friends as well as meeting new people at conferences. I used to be too shy to introduce myself to strangers, until I realised I was doing my professional development a disservice.

I also consider it a professional courtesy to speak to the vendor reps at the expo. They financially support the running of the conference, so the least we can do is say hello. I know from first-hand experience how awful it feels to be ignored by attendees. So class up and have a chat. Besides, you might find something helpful.

7. Share your wisdom.

There’s no point hiding your notes in a drawer or keeping them locked inside your head. Share your new-found knowledge with your colleagues, adding your own insights for local context.

In fact, if your employer paid for your ticket, I’d argue you have an ethical obligation to do this.

8. Transform your business.

Don’t stop now!

Review your notes with the intent of converting each one into action. What can you do to make it happen? Even if it’s something tiny, do it to get the ball rolling.

Crowdsourced tips for how to make the most out of this conference.

The overarching theme of these tips is: BE ACTIVE!

When you attend your next conference, you’ll get out of it what you put into it.

E-Learning events in the Asia-Pacific region 2012

10 January 2012

With 2012 gathering steam, it’s time to plan the next round of professional development events to attend.

If you’ll be in my corner of the globe over the next 12 months, may I draw your attention to the following…

Man working on computer at the beach

Australian eLearning Congress
• Where: Sydney
• When: 7-9 February 2012
• Theme: eLearning business case studies
• More info: Ark Group

Learning Cafe Unconference
• Where: Sydney
• When: 16 February 2012
• Theme: Near future of learning in Australia
• More info: Learning Cafe

Australian Instructional Design Conference
• Where: Sydney
• When: 21 March 2012
• Theme: Designing instructionally sound and engaging learning
• More info: LearnX Foundation

Blended Learning Conference
• Where: Sydney
• When: 21-23 March 2012
• Theme: Engaging learners with innovative solutions
• More info: Liquid Learning

International Conference on Teaching with Technology
• Where: Singapore
• When: 27-30 March 2012
• Theme: Do IT! Transform learning, shape the future
• More info: ISTE

AITD National Conference
• Where: Sydney
• When: 18-19 April 2012
• Theme: Learning strategy, training techniques and technology
• More info: AITD

CeBIT Australia
• Where: Sydney
• When: 22-24 May 2012
• Theme: Stay ahead of the game
• More info: CeBIT

International Conference on Human Computer Interaction
• Where: Tokyo
• When: 29-30 May 2012
• Theme: HCI experiences, research, challenges and solutions
• More info: WASET

eLearning Forum Asia
• Where: Beijing
• When: 12-14 June 2012
• Theme: Engaging technology-driven learners
• More info: Peking University

International Conference on E-Learning
• Where: Hong Kong
• When: 21-22 June 2012
• Theme: Open educational resources
• More info: Academic Conferences International

PLE Conference
• Where: Melbourne
• When: 11-13 July 2012
• More info: PLE2012

KM Australia Congress
• Where: Sydney
• When: 24-26 July 2012
• Theme: Putting the pieces together
• More info: KM Australia

LearnX Asia Pacific
• Where: Melbourne
• When: 29-30 August 2012
• Theme: Learning today for tomorrow’s success
• More info: LearnX

World Human Resources Congress
• Where: Melbourne
• When: 25-28 September 2012
• Theme: What does the future hold? How will business evolve?
• More info: HRIZON

• Where: Auckland
• When: 10-12 October 2012
• Theme: Collaborate, innovate, educate
• More info: CORE Education

Ascilite Annual Conference
• Where: Wellington
• When: 25-28 November 2012
• Theme: Future challenges and sustainable futures
• More info: Ascilite

This list is by no means exhaustive. If you are aware of other events in the Asia-Pacific region, please add a comment below…


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2010: My blogging year recapped

28 December 2010

As 2010 draws to a close, I thought I’d take a moment to recap my blog posts during the year.

I hope you take the opportunity to read any that you may have missed.

Oh, and please leave a comment or two or three…!

Tag cloud for the E-Learning Provocateur blog in 2010.

Learning theory & instructional design

Taxonomy of Learning Theories•  Taxonomy of Learning Theories
•  Theory-informed instructional design tips
•  The two faces of blended learning
•  Style counsel
Style counsel•  Art vs (Information) Science

Informal learning

How to revamp your learning model•  My award-winning IQ
•  Online courses must die!
•  The ILE and the FLE in harmony
•  How to revamp your learning model
•  Open Learning Network vs ILE

Social media

How not to do social media•  Social media: It’s not about the technology!
•  Social media: Prevention is better than cure
•  The 4 lessons Kid Fury teaches us
•  I stand corrected
•  How not to do social media
Why Gowalla should merge with Foursquare•  Why Gowalla should merge with Foursquare
•  Sharing is caring

Knowledge management

Art vs (Information) Science•  Art vs (Information) Science
•  Erin doesn’t get it

Government 2.0

I stand corrected•  London, New York, Parramatta
•  I stand corrected


Thickness of skin required•  Thickness of skin required
•  Greetings from the E-Learning Provocateur
•  Sharing is caring


The age of the e-book•  The age of the e-book
•  The end of publishing as we know it


The elephant in the room•  The elephant in the room
•  Shades of green
•  The Melbourne Cup: it’s not about the horses!


My 1-liners from TEDxCanberra 2010•  My 1-liners from LearnX 2010
•  My 1-liners from TEDxCanberra 2010


Campus firestarter•  The ingredients of intelligence
•  Campus firestarter
•  A short history of spam
•  Thickness of skin required
•  Trending: Sydney
•  Selective tolerance

Confucius 2.0Miscellaneous

•  Confucius 2.0
•  Green e-learning
•  Honest football
•  The two types of augmented reality
Allergic to ATNA•  Swimming against the tide
•  Square pegs and round holes
•  Facts are a bitch
•  Smartfailing the vintage future
•  Allergic to ATNA