A key question for me is:
How can we effectively disseminate the content of external conferences when we return to our work settings?
It is important to ensure the transfer into practice, the sharing of ideas and materials with others so that the ripple of benefit from the event gets wider and wider. In the current FE financial climate, this is of greater and greater importance because it really costs a lot to send anyone, anywhere…
In many colleges, I think the follow up and implementation process after conference attendance is weak. We don’t seem able to close the loop on a consistent basis so that more people than the individual can benefit.
Tips for disseminating conference content
- When people are booked onto the event, there is a commitment made to dissemination. Once the person has attended, someone (curriculum manager, HR or CPD manager?) has responsibility for following up to agree whether that dissemination should be:
- A written summary of the event’s key messages
- A mini presentation to a team meeting
- A cascaded training session
- A talk through of resources with a coach/ trainer/CPD person who will be sharing it more broadly
- A slot at a swap shop, Teach Meet or show and tell workshop in college
- A sharing session with a specific buddy or group
- Devising some materials for the intranet, for classroom use
- Be observed/filmed using some of the approaches in practice
- The loop needs to be closed by tracking whether the actions have been completed. Using a central online form for staff development bookings, dissemination and evaluation feedback is an easy way to do this. Deadlines for review should be fixed at the outset, with reminders into diaries for key parties, otherwise the follow through can just drift…
One college I have worked with tasks their HR/Staff Development administrator to follow up with individuals and find out what has been done since the conference. This involves phone calls, quick meetings or just email contact. Key questions can include:
What key messages did you take from the event?
What impact has this event had on your practice with learners? How have they benefited?
How have you shared practice/materials/information with colleagues since the event?