Next week, Crexia will be running our first unconference focused on Social Learning. The term unconference will be used loosely here, even if these events have different formats depending on the organisers.
When we announced SLCONF last year, the original plan was to organise a traditional conference with perhaps 1 or 2 breakout sessions. However, following several suggestions from professional Learners and indeed our own internal changes, we decided to go the unconference way, albeit with 2 actual formal presentations on the day.
I have attended a few unconferences in the last year or two, and find them engaging, stimulating and conversational. I have been to both cool and chaotic unconferences. Personally, I’d prefer some order a structure, not some random decisions on what to do or discuss on the day. That’s what we shall do with SLCONF, as we are quite aware than several of our delegates (70% inhouse L&D professionals) may not have attendeed an unconference before.
Last week, #Trulondon, a very popular unconference within the recruiting space was held in London, and I followed some of the tracks on twitter. The event had some good feedback but after reading this post by Katie McNab, I started thinking a bit more around events content, unconference formats and what speakers, delegates and even twitter hashtag followers expect.
Katie spoke at our Social Recruiting Conference in June 2011, and I do understand her perspectives regarding conference content and their actual relevance to the ‘lives’ of an everyday in-house practitioner. Moreso, I connect with her comments regarding events with consultant-driven content and conversations.
This is something that concerns me when we work on our events – to ensure we strike a balance where people who ‘actually’ do the corporate day job can relate with what is being discussed and add their own input in presentations and tracks. Hopefully, we will get the balance right with SLCONF, where 40% of our speakers are from in-house roles. Looking forward to it.