Table of Contents

Case Study: Continuing the Learning after a Conference Session

Here's a story of how one organization turned conference inspiration into post-conference action.

Last fall I had an opportunity to deliver a pair of presentation skills sessions at the Arkansas Early Childhood Association Annual Conference in Little Rock. Everyone I encountered during the few days that I was in Arkansas showed me an amazing time, the session participants were engaged throughout, and then I got on a plane and returned home. What did the participants do with the concepts I’d taught?

Recently, I exchanged a few messages with one of the conference organizers – Michelle Pounds – and was amazed to hear how they had extended the learning from my sessions. It can serve as a model for how organizations can get the most out of their investment in sending people to a conference, maximizing the possibility that the learning is applied in the real world. Following is a brief description of what Michelle and her team did to keep the learning going, written in Michelle’s words:  

My family likes to travel together.  We’ve taken several international trips, all of which have been wonderful.  But planning a trip is hard work!  And even though we are all full-grown adults, they look to me as their travel agent.  I’m expected to know flight information, train schedules, museum hours, dining options…even the weather forecast!  I spend a lot of time making sure everyone gets where they are going at the right time while wearing the right shoes.  When I was invited to go to Turkey with my godson’s school, a trip fully planned and led by their Turkish principal, I jumped.  You mean I get to take an amazing journey and all I have to do is show up and partake?  Woohoo!  It was nice to spend my time fully engaged and enjoying each moment instead of worrying about tomorrow’s schedule.

As a full-time trainer, I spend a lot of time playing travel agent.  I focus on the logistics of the learning journey and not the engaging moments along the way.  It’s not that I don’t want to be in those moments, but someone has to make sure the projector works.  So when I have the chance to go on a guided tour with a knowledgeable leader, I jump!

One opportunity my colleagues and I have is a one-day Trainer Track at our annual state conference.  Each year we bring in a guest from across the country to serve as our learning guide, most recently we invited Brian Washburn of Endurance Learning.  We relish this time to spend as trainees rather than trainers.  It’s like Christmas!  But let’s be honest.  It’s hard to maintain that enthusiasm once you’re headed home, especially when your inbox continued to fill up, the next deadline is looming, and your family actually missed you.

So what’s a well-intentioned trainer to do?

We needed a way to continue our journey.  And we needed a guide to do it.  So, I reprised my role as “travel agent” and set about creating the second leg of our trip.

The Conference Itinerary

First, we had to determine the best way to reach our destination.  Our goal was to make sure that what we’d learned didn’t stay tucked away in our bags.  We needed to provide a way for participants to review and reflect, and to share what they had learned, how they had used it, and how it went.  We were already offering online training and had the platform in place, so we created a new online course.  We then set up discussion boards for week-long online discussions that were based on each conference session. These one-week courses were scheduled three months after the conference to allow time for processing and incorporating new ideas.

Conference Tickets

Everyone who attended the Trainer Track was invited to join the discussion. A “ticket” was necessary to get into the discussion boards, and it was only good for the specific conference session(s) they attended.  During the week that the course was open, participants could access the course at their convenience and post as often as they liked.

Hagia Sophia

We started each session with the “must see” attractions.  For example, Brian’s discussion on PowerPoint.  How could we not talk about that?

Miniaturk

We also made time for side trips, because sometimes the best stuff is off the beaten path!  Everyone needs a chance to share what they thought was significant and most influenced their work.  To do this, we included questions like:

  • What new idea(s) did you try?
  • How did it feel?
  • What was the outcome?
  • What (if anything) will you do differently in the future?

post-conference learning

Making Connections

While it’s important to connect learning and practice, this journey was about more than the application of content.  Through these discussions, we were able to reflect with our peers, learn from each other’s experiences (and mistakes!), and connect personally and professionally with other trainers from across the state.

Unpacking

All the great souvenirs we collect during our journey do us no good if we leave them in our suitcases.  We need to put them out where we are reminded of their significance, where others can see them and encourage us to share our stories.  We seem to crave these opportunities to come together as peers and discuss our work.  These follow-up sessions helped us do that.

Much like life, learning is a journey and not a destination.

Instructor-Led Training Resources

These are some of our favorite resources to support everyone involved with instructor-led training.

Training Delivery and Facilitation Competency Rubric

A rubric is a way to assess performance with a standard set of evaluation criteria. The next time you need to assess the performance of someone delivering training (even if that someone is you), you may find this rubric helpful.

The Role of Co-facilitators

Co-facilitators play an important role in a training workshop. The most obvious benefit is that when you co-facilitate, you get a break from leading the

18 Instructor-led Training Activities

Engaging, intentional, face-to-face and virtual instructor-led training activities can make the difference between a session that helps learners to apply new skills or knowledge and one that falls flat.

Articles Similar to Case Study: Continuing the Learning after a Conference Session

facilitator competency rubric
ILT & VILT
Brian Washburn

Training Delivery and Facilitation Competency Rubric

A rubric is a way to assess performance with a standard set of evaluation criteria. The next time you need to assess the performance of someone delivering training (even if that someone is you), you may find this rubric helpful.

instructor becomes the pupil with kassy laborie and zovig garboushian
ILT & VILT
Brian Washburn

Turning the Tables: From Trainer to Student

As people who have designed and delivered effective training, Kassy Laborie and Zovig Garboushian know a thing or two about good learning experiences. So what nuggets have they gleaned from a 9-month course that they’re both attending, and that all of us should consider when designing our own programs? Today’s podcast answers that question.

John Crook on role play
ILT & VILT
Brian Washburn

Is this the world’s most effective role play?

When it comes to your training participants, two of the dirtiest, or perhaps scariest, words you can say during a session may be: role play. In today’s podcast, John Crook, Head of Learning at Intersol Global, offers some thoughts on how to make role plays more authentic and robust.

Subscribe to Get Updates from Endurance Learning

Brian Washburn, Author

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll send you the latest updates from our blog. Thanks for following!

training facilitator evaluation rubric - page 2

Download the Facilitator Evaluation Rubric

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the rubric to help you assess the skills of someone delivering training.

Grow your L&D Career Today!

The Foundations of L&D course through the L&D Pro Academy provides the concepts and practical experience you need to grow your confidence and abilities as a well-rounded L&D professional.

Enter your email below and we’ll be in touch with an info sheet!

L&D Pro Academy

Find Your L&D Career Path

Explore the range of careers to understand what role might be a good fit for your L&D career.

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the What’s Possible in L&D Worksheet.

What's possible in L&D

Let's Talk Training!

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll get back to you soon.

Download the Feedback Lesson Plan

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the lesson plan as a PDF.

feedback lesson plan
MS Word Job Aid Template

Download the Microsoft Word Job Aid Template

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the Word version of this template.

Download the Free Lesson Plan Template!

Enter your email below and we’ll send you a Word document that you can start using today!

free lesson plan template
training materials checklist

Download the Training Materials Checklist

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the Training Materials Checklist.

Subscribe to Endurance Learning for updates

Get regular updates from the Endurance Learning team.