November 21, 2019
At a recent conference, I was lucky to be surrounded by the best in the business. We were talking about how much the education landscape has changed over the years and where we are now, given our accessibility, connectivity, and collaborative potential.
Eventually, our conversation centered around one, heartfelt question:
What do you really want in a professional learning experiences?
That desire for continuous growth may surface in the conferences you’re attending; the presentations you’re experiencing; the books, blogs, chats, and social media posts you’re reading; and the people with whom you’re interacting on podcasts or in groups like Voxer, Slack, or Facebook.
Do you have something to say? It’s nearly impossible to survive the edupreneurial world today, that is, unless your message is worthy and you can deliver it to people in a way that’s meaningful to them. It’s about being who you are and connecting with others.
What’s relevant? What’s helpful? What’s selling?
In our discussion, three schools of thought emerged:
- Conference session where you can’t stop thinking, laughing, and crying.
- Presenter that makes you feel good about yourself, your potential, and your goals.
- Book you take to the beach.
- Blog you read in your three spare minutes of time.
- Format featuring personal, powerful storytelling.
- Experience that leaves you embracing heartfelt emotions… and wanting more.
- Conference session loaded with takeaways you can use tomorrow.
- Presenter that’s been-there-done-that, and shares mistakes and successes.
- Book you keep on your desk to better your practice right now.
- Blog you read to transfer and extend current ideas.
- Format relating parts to whole, cause-and-effect, and problem-solving processes.
- Experience that prompts immediate implementation… for now.
- Conference session that goes deep, linking past to present.
- Presenter that’s usually better at connecting with data than people.
- Book that may read like an encyclopedia, steeped in aging, historical facts.
- Blog with large paragraphs you may skim through between snippets of originality.
- Format flooded with charts, graphs, case studies, citations, and contexts.
- Experience that you will love… if you love that specialized topic.
Each niche is powerful and has its place in education. And that’s why all three are thriving as stand-alone entities. For now.
There are enough people and organizations in our edu-spaces who need at least one of these kinds of resources in their professional collections. For the foreseeable future, content that leans strongly in one of these directions will sustain the test of time.
Yet, with the explosion of information and means for sharing it, scarcity in the edupreneurial market will eventually force the choosing of just one of these themes.
Do you see where this is going?
I mean, if you had to choose just one, which one would you choose, and why?
Perhaps, it depends on what you need to be better for your learners, colleagues, or team.
Personally, I’d have a hard time making this choice. Yet, I don’t always have the means to embrace all three at the same time.
Therefore, I predict that the best professional learning experiences in the future will integrate all three. They will be inspirational, practical, and full of research.
But what does this look like in action, and how can we exemplify this kind of professional learning experience?
While it’s no easy feat, some have already adapted their products to serve all three purposes. It’s honorable to be really good in one area. To thrive in two sectors is quite another venutre. Yet, to fully engage and excel in all three niches is a miracle, a dream come true to lifelong learners, and a potential box office hit in the market of all-things education.
Perhaps, the key to effective, marketable, professional learning experiences is to make sense of a rapidly changing world, and then using that to make a meaningful difference.
Maybe, it’s an all-in-one approach: figuring out how you can storytell the research to make practical changes. Today.
Or, maybe education’s not about the adults and what they need to be successful marketers. After all, is education a business? What about the kids and what they need?
What are your thoughts?