Event Cook

How to Improve Access to Knowledge at Your Event

Access to the knowledge you are about to deliver through workshops, seminars, webinars and conferences is related with so-called Educational Experience. When adequately addressed through experience design concept for your event and delivered through the event’s content, the educational experience leverages more opportunities for you to provide tangible learning – real takeaways for the participants

When it comes to educational experience as part of event’s content, the actual question is How to engage audience and support them to transform the information in understandable, memorable learning? The famous Serbian psychiatrist Vladeta Jerotic once mentioned that the man (or woman) needs time to come from state of receiving information into state of cognition, awareness, understanding of the information and only afterwards to create knowledge out of that understanding.

Very often, events with the goal participants to learn something are ending up with the moderator wrapping up the sessions aiming to summarize key takeaways from the event. These take-aways are not necessarily leanings and event organizers should not rely on the assumption that attendees completely remember what event organizer intend them to remember. Human beings are constantly exposed to information while our attention span decreased extensively over the years. Just simply google the question “What is humans average attention span?” and the search results are saying that our attention span nowadays is lower than the goldfish, getting down from 12 seconds in year 2000 to less then 8 seconds nowadays. The goldfish attention span is 9 seconds. When we put on top of this information the fact that the sources of distraction are many nowadays with primarily source of distraction being our mobile phone, it is very important for event organizers to create and place adequate educational experience for achieving memorable impressions and real learning take-aways from the event.

How to create the educational experience

Education experience by its characteristics calls-in for active participation of the event’s attendees while they absorbing the event content delivered to them. Nowadays, in my opinion as well as according to Pine & Gilmore, the authors of the book The Experience Economy, education “as its widely understood requires full participation of the learner. In this context, you can deliver particular learning through the event’s experience. The question is “what do you want your participant’s “to learn” from the experience? What interaction or activities will help engage them in the exploration of certain knowledge and skills.” (Pine & Gilmore 2020; p. 52)

Practically speaking, when you start conceptualizing your event, clarify what kind of educational experience you like to deliver:

a.) information only (its good if they are delivered clustered around common topic);

b.) key-takeaways with intention to be remembered (calls-in for extensive audience engagement)

c.) actual knowledge on some topic. (calls-in for longer sessions, extensive engagement and repetitive content in variable format to avoid audience become boring).

Photo by Brodie Vissers from Burst

How to create adequate experience for points a to c

If you run informative session, keep the session between 20 and 45 minutes. Introduce the topic but keep the important information for the audience to the very end. Announce them in the beginning by answering the question: if i was sitting in the audience, why this information is important to me?

Key-take-aways could be remembered if they are repeated at the end of the session by inviting audience to play quiz or pools, Draft questions with key-learnings being answers and play at the end or during the session. Small prizes are always good to steer-up competitive spirit.

To gain actual knowledge on the topic asks for longer sessions, sometimes daily sessions. Here you can also introduce quizzes, pools, crosswords, memory games but in multiple sessions. The idea of multiples sessions is creating tournament over a course of a day as such securing through competition constant focus for longer period. Through the day, participants can progress, collect points and level up as they play games and recap separate content sessions. Depending on the content, audience and the goal of the event, creating teams additionally creates supportive environment participants to interact, share the information among them and use the power of the team to learn in memorable way. Some follow-up after the event over an e-mail with key learnings is good to be taken in consideration as well.