Learning in community at conferences

Legendary Apple designer Jony Ive explains how learning in community helped Apple make the iPhone:

“When we genuinely look at a problem it’s an opportunity to learn together, and we discover something together. We know that learning in community is powerful. It feeds and supports momentum which in turn encourages a familiarity and an acceptance of challenges associated with doing difficult things. And I’ve come to learn that I think a desire to learn makes doing something new just a little less scary.”
——Jony Ive, Apple designer Jony Ive explains how ‘teetering towards the absurd’ helped him make the iPhone

At conferences we also learn better when we learn in community. At traditional events, expert speakers broadcast content at attendees. But today our minds are increasingly outside our brains. Our ability to learn effectively now depends mostly on the quality and connectedness of our networks, rather than what’s inside our heads.

Uncovered learning
To optimize participants’ learning networks, modern conferences need to use uncovered learning. Uncovered learning occurs when we use process to uncover and take advantage of the knowledge and resources in the room. Such process increases active learning and incorporates all the expertise and experience available.

Building and supporting a community of practice
Finally, learning in community is an ideal way to build and strengthen a conference’s community of practice. Peer conference process provides the opportunity for anyone to contribute, thus encouraging and supporting meaningful connection. Learning in community fosters cooperation and collaboration, creating a community of practice bridge between these two core forms of connection.

How could/do you support and encourage learning in community at your events? Share your ideas and experiences in the comments below!

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