Conference Transformed Forever

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This year the LERN Annual Conference was changed forever. Tammy at Member Booth

Gen Yers and LERN leaders initiated the transition to a more engaged and active conference.  The new session formats were met with huge approval by the almost 700 lifelong learning practitioners in attendance.

It almost assuredly guarantees that your classes and courses will also be changed forever, moving to adopt new more engaged formats for your program.

Here are the five new formats that premiered at the conference:

Engaged Session
An all-new format, participants were seated at round tables. The presenter spoke only for 10 minutes.  Then there were small group discussions.  Finally, participants engaged in 1-2 polls using their apps.  The new format was initiated and endorsed by a team of Gen Y leaders in LERN’s Emerging Leaders Council. LERN plans to double the number of Engaged Sessions next year to one in every session time slot.

Practitioner Panels
Three big changes in our panel sessions. Practitioners rather than consultants composed the panels. A trained moderator ran the panel session. The third change was to switch to bar stools for the panelists, which made the panelists far more immediate and interactive with the participants.

All-New Awards Luncheon
Instead of a 25-minute presentation and slide show announcing the winners, the winners were announced with an abbreviated presentation on why they won.  That left a full 30 minutes for luncheon participants to get up and go to 20 poster boards with the awards on them, and to speak with the awards winners about their innovations.  People also could choose from various flavors of ice cream bars for dessert and eat while talking.  The room was visibly energized by all the networking.

Roundtables Get Rooms
Two Roundtable discussions were featured during each time slot. They overflowed with people and so more chairs were added due to the popularity of this format.  Instead of Roundtables being done in the same large room, the Roundtables each had a small meeting room to allow for better hearing and no noise distraction.

Mobile App Takes Over
This year the mobile app took over as the primary mechanism for conference information, including slides, handouts, daily news, schedule changes, CEU quizzes, reports, photos and participant ideas. Even more app features are undoubtedly in the LERN conference future. The average participant contributed 8.7 photos or thoughts during the conference.