I’ve been thinking about knowledge sharing, after attending a couple of conferences in a row and heading off to another. One thing missing in these discrete time-based events is that there is litle time for reflection. Most presenters hold back their knowledge in order to “deliver” it just before the big official presentation. This presentation is followed by some immediate questions & discussions and a coffee break. Then it’s off to see the next presentation. Reflection, if it occurs, comes much later, and usually after the participants have gone home.
I've encountered this issue, too, so I'm thinking that one way we could improve conferences would be to provide a "Reflection Session." It would be near the end of the conference and scheduled like any other breakout session. Instead of stuffing new information into people's brains, though, it would be a workshop for consolidating what they've already experienced.
- A quiet room with more of a coffee shop set-up--some tables with chairs, but also a few lounge chairs.
- Possibly some music, although that's such an individual thing it might be better for people to be invited to listen to their ipods.
- Some guidelines on reflective practice. Note, we would NOT discuss these. They would simply be available for those who were interested.
- Some tools for reflection--some small blank journals, some prompts for thinking. These Debriefing Questions could be good. Also the One-Sentence Journal--could be applied to each session the individual attended.
- Art supplies--some people are visual thinkers and it could be very cool to encourage them to use art to express what they've learned.
Of course, this is something of an introvert's dream of a reflective session, so I'm thinking it could be followed by an extrovert's debrief where we had people share one or two ideas they got or questions they have as a result of their participation in the conference. If we wanted to get really creative, it could be a sort of Ignite format--3-5 minute presentations on the most compelling question or idea you experienced.
What do you think? Would you attend a "Reflection Session" at a conference? How would you structure it and what would you include?