Therefore, I am always disappointed when a trainer or facilitator begins their session or workshop with this request: "Please turn off your phones and mobile devices before we get started."
In Dave Kelly's article, Backchannel Learning in an Organizational Setting, he confronts this common occurrence and explains why these trainers and facilitators should stop fighting the technology wave that has already arrived and embrace it instead. And I completely agree.
He goes on to relate another common occurrence that I personally partake in when attending conferences and workshops - using Social Media platforms during the sessions to relay what is being learned to others not in attendance. I adore Twitter for this reason (among many others). This fantastic interaction is referred to as 'The Backchannel'.Many teachers, trainers, and presenters have been resisting the use of mobile devices during their sessions. To quote a famous Star Trek line, "Resistance is futile." The influx of smart phones is only going to continue, so resistance only delays the inevitable. It is also shortsighted, as the usage of mobile devices during sessions is not a risk at all; it is an opportunity.Simply put, learners are now walking into your session carrying the ultimate engagement tool right in their pocket.
Coming up at the end of this month, I will be tweeting for and from the Canadian Society of Training and Development's 2012 Conference and I can't wait. I, along with many others, will be tweeting the gems we learn for anyone to see via the hashtag, #CSTD2012. As Dave Kelly points out in his article, this backchannel learning is an amazing opportunity despite all the unfortunate resistance to it.
I embrace and encourage the use of smartphones, Social Media and backchannel learning whenever and wherever possible. How about you? What experiences have you already had and what were the outcomes?In addition to the content shared by those organizational employees in attendance, non-attendees can also learn from the content shared by everyone else attending the conference. For larger conferences, there could be hundreds of people sharing their learning via the backchannel.It is in this open sharing that the true power of the backchannel emerges. You can definitely get an understanding of the themes, trends, and concepts being shared at a conference by reviewing the postings of attendees shared through the backchannel.
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