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“Conferences are not only about instructional design but about engaging people. We want to expand attendees intellectually, artistically, and personally. The second thing is this: Associations mostly have it mastered, but we need to go out of our way to take some risk to our bottom-line budget.”


design, scheduling, session formats, and lengths? What do you expect the Learning2012 conference to look like — and, projecting ahead, Learning2020? We will continue to blend learning. You will see more learning fromfields that aren’t related.We had the honor to have Presi- dent Clinton talk about learning, and Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe award winner John Lithgow talk about the power of storytellingin learning and actually present a one- man play. Conferences are not only about instructional design but


about engaging people.We want to expand attendees intellec- tually, artistically, and personally. The second thingis this: Associations mostly have it mastered, but we need to go out of our way to take some risk to our bottom-line budget. We don’t sell our keynotes with huge


sponsorships. Yet, we still find ways to extract dollars fromsponsors, but what we find is that attendees want events to be focused on the learningand not take time for vendor comments—sayingthat your lunch is sponsored by Vendor A, who has representatives at each table. We will move this concept of personalization to the next


latest new thing.We rarely hear what isn’t working.We need to build safety nets to have that level of sharing. When I get to 2020, more of our events will have an at-


CERTIFICATION MADE POSSIBLE


home core. There still will be an event, but rather than serving 2,000 people, we’ll figure how to touch 50,000 people. It may not be 50,000 paid registrations, but we need to have a way for our learning activities to go significantly wider and more viral. I don’t mean posting summaries of activities, but real engage- ment. I don’t have a clue of how we will do it, but I do know that there are new technologies coming.We need to experi- ment, start, fail, and learn alongthe way. In 2020, I will be 70 years old—hard to believe. It was great this year to have a group of “30 people under 30” at our conference advise us on learning strategies. They advised us that 1) people are changing as learners radically out- side of work, and we need to allow themto change as learners at work and in their asso- ciations; 2) people are learningfrom multiple sources and in multiple ways at once; 3) it is


level. I have a team nowworkingon a dramatic model. For our keynotes, here is where we are going to start—indicating who this session is for and who may not want to attend. Here’s a video to watch before you get there. This will cost money, but it will make for greater outcomes.


I know that many associations are offeringexperiential learn- ing— to take an actual case study, and provide a half or full day to work through to a solution. Let me give you an exam- ple. Skype is becomingmore important for job interviews. How do we help job candidates to create a Skype interview that may be 60 percent of the interview process? Imagine put- ting together a working lab where 50 people spend a day to build what that might look like. This year, The Masie Center will send video teams out in the


field to look at how specific training is done in different organi- zations. Let’s really take a look at what the first day for a man- ager ofWendy’s looks like. Or howdo you take someone in China and put them in a Starbucks even though they never drank coffee before? What we plan to do with our events is to take people to places that they could never get to themselves. For Learning2012, we’d like to provide an opportunity for


folks who have tried some solutions that have failed to find a safe way to talk about it. Meetings have everyone flaunting the


64 pcma convene April 2012 www.pcma.org


the blend that counts—Facebook or LinkedIn may help start a connection, but it is critical that we can eat, talk, and think together to really build relationships. Next year we will use the same concept with people over


[the age of ] 60.


Speaking more about learning from fields that aren’t related, how can we move from our current approach oflearning in silos to intersectoral learning? What I really want is to be with people who share a passion about something, not just share a role. So if you want to train a CFO of a nonprofit, don’t just connect that person with other nonprofit CFOs. Connect them with somebody who works with the IRS. In other words, learninghappens out of communities of diversity, not just out of communities of simi- larities. Online communities of practice have failed and so many SharePoint sites are empty. I want to be sure that at the end of the day, I know 30 people who do my job that I can call and that I have the kind of intersectoral connections that you just described. We need to design for that to happen. That’s why we earn


our dollars as meetingplanners—because we are very capa- ble of learning how to design those kinds of environments.


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