technologies has shaped his 40-year, multi-role career—futurist, analyst, editor of LearningTRENDS,an e-newsletter read by more than 52,000 busi- ness executives around the world, and creator and host of an acclaimed annual conference on learning, simply called Learning, which last year attracted more than 2,000 participants. “What drives my interest,” he told Convene, “is the under- standing that learningis different than teaching. Learningis about the individual.” His programs, courses,and speeches, which have reached more than 1.7 million individuals around the world, have been guided by the same imperatives as TED events: Be interested. Be generous. Be interesting. Connect. I connected with Masie recently — several months after I had participated in and presented at Learning2011, held Nov. 6–9 in Orlando—to see what experience has taught him about the role that meetings play in adult education.
What is new about the way people learn at conferences and meetings? Our role as meeting planners, exhibit managers, and confer- ence coordinators has been not to structure teaching, but to structure the environment, the meetings architecture and expectations that allow individuals to maximize their own learning.Nothing significant has changed over 40 years. Learners are curious and have confi-
dence that they can get learning and expert- ise efficiently and that they have places to go [to get that].Learners will drive their own learning if we as designers make that happen.There is a role for us to become better designers of events that will facilitate learning. We are increasingly seeing cognitive science kick in as a dis-
cipline to unlock the world of learning.We are also looking at how we layer knowledge and access to expertise in order to optimize learning.The dilemma is that most of what we do about learning is about event management in the association
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and conference world.In spite of all the technology that has come forth, we actually are presenting things like we did 10, 20 years ago. I am not sure that we have a culture to radically evolve
how we learn with the exception of what individuals are doing over the Internet, social media.But even in those areas, people say, let’s go to an online community or let’s go online and do a search, but there is really a design-capability need. It’s the next rounds of expertise that
CERTIFICATION MADE POSSIBLE
hopefully will see us using different disci- plines and becoming creative designers, leaders capable of viewing a very different set of meeting, social, content, or collabora- tion elements to create real change.For
example, who would have ever thought that Twitter would help overthrow the president of Egypt? Yet, the young activists were “designers” in rearranging the tools for societal change.