One of the reasons I love conferences is that they represent a unique opportunity to fully immerse ourselves in learning and skill development. In today’s fast-moving world, it’s rare that we can step away from the responsibilities of day-to-day work to focus on developing our own knowledge and skills. Since that opportunity is so rare, it makes it even more important for us to get the maximum benefit from the experience. One of the ways I like to do that is by adding a pre-conference workshop to my conference experience.
Pre-conference workshops are great for taking a deep dive into a topic that you want to learn more about. They provide an outstanding opportunity to develop and practice a set of skills related to a competency.
The value of pre-conference workshops extends well beyond the workshop itself. One of the reasons I like to add a workshop to my agenda is because the workshops enhance the learning from the conference. This post explore a few ways adding a workshop to your conference plans can set the stage for maximizing the value of your conference experience.
Putting Yourself in “Learner Mode”
I often find the start of a conference to be like stepping on to a treadmill that is already operating at a runner’s pace. As soon as the first session starts, you’re in a mental sprint, jumping from session to session and topic to topic. That’s not easy, especially when you’re switching from your work-mindset to a learner-mindset.
A pre-conference workshop helps with that tremendously. Because the workshop lasts all day, it provides an extended point-of-entry into the conference experience. The deeper you dive into the topic, the more your mindset shifts into learner mode. By the time the conference officially kicks off the next day, you’re already in learning mode and are better prepared to hit the ground running when the accelerated pace of the conference begins.
Boost Your Networking
One of the main benefits of a conference experience are the connections that are formed via networking. Those relationships extend the learning beyond the end of the event and become an ongoing source of learning and friendship.
When you attend a workshop, you’ll spend a full day (sometimes more) working and learning side-by-side with peers that share similar interests to your own. You’ll forge connections and develop relationships that will extend into the conference, which is especially helpful if you are attending the conference on your own. The workshop connections can also expand your overall networking, as the connections made during the workshop are a natural source of additional connections during the conference.
Fortify Your Foundation
When you attend a conference, the knowledge and skills shared at the sessions you attend are added to whatever knowledge and skills you walked into the event with. A pre-conference workshop adds to and strengthens the foundation upon which your conference learning will be built. A strong foundation also adds context to what you learn in conference sessions.
It All Starts with a Great Workshop
Of course, the biggest reason to attend a workshop is for the workshop itself. At this year’s mLearnCon Conference and Expo there are ten different pre-conference certificate program workshops, each of which provides an opportunity for deep exploring of a topic with an industry expert. You’ll also have the ability to connect with peers, develop skills to use in your job, and set the stage for an incredible mLearnCon conference experience.