Our annual conference is our flagship education product. Naturally we want to maximize our investment and extend the reach of this great content.
Unfortunately, most associations are doing it wrong.
It’s time to forget about repurposing and embrace PURPOSING.
But repurposing is efficient and responsible!
Repurposing suggests we can efficiently reuse components of education that has been delivered (past tense done) for additional meaningful learning opportunities. And we can’t. Example: Captured conference recordings are not good learning opportunities. Why? Because what’s been captured was designed for a learner in a live classroom learning space. Can someone be determined and dig in to learn something from a capture recording? Sure – but they will more likely google the subject than sit through an hour long video of a slide deck. Once removed from the classroom and situated in a virtual learning environment, we have different expectations of how we want to interact with content. Captured lecture is not designed to be chunked out or accessible in online learning environments.
You can’t refold a crisp origami crane into a dragonfly – it won’t work. Each fold is put into place to achieve a particular design. Same with learning.
So you want an origami crane and a dragonfly. What do you do?
If your goal is to extend the learning of your conference, consider these opportunities.
1. Hybrid learning. Extend the reach of your conference to new audiences – perhaps your future live attendees. Craft a meaningful experience that incorporates not only streaming of select sessions, but live chat with those speakers and some hybrid-only content. Take a look at my blog on the PCMACL hybrid experience for inspiration.
Life cycle: This is an investment in cultivating future live attendees while extending the reach of the present conference. #winwin. You may also consider extending the learning via the desktop portal you create with your vendor partner for additional content drops.
2. Session tools. While attendees may request slide decks, what they really want are tools and resources. Instead of collecting PowerPoints and Prezis, request your speakers submit a tip sheet, job aid, checklist, how-to guide, model, or process distilling their insights into a useful resource attendees can use and share.
Life cycle: While these begin as conference session handouts, they become a powerful catalyst for workplace impact. Consider the potential referrals as tools branded to your association are passed around teams because of their value. Imagine the online resource library you could build with these tools that would become indispensable to your members. Think about how you could assess downloads to determine content priorities for future education offerings.
3. Touch points. Let’s free our education from product silos delivering one-offs and deploy learning that touches our members over a period of time through different channels – reaching them where they are. Allow all of your education vehicles to participate in threading your association’s content priorities through multiple touch points that beautifully highlight different facets of a subject through a variety of learning experiences. A few examples:
- Publish an article that leads to a live education session that’s followed up by a webinar punctuated by an email sharing a valuable job aid.
- Facilitate a social media conversation about a hot topic, host a thought leader session at your conference from which you derive a handy white paper that you can then distribute through your social media channels.
- Craft an online course that pulls participants together for a live skill-building experience, followed by an eMentorship that leads to a certificate.
The possibilities are endless!
Life cycle: You decide! Your touch points on a topic could be three or could thread throughout an entire year. Extend the learning from your conference by making it a part of a broader education delivery strategy.
A word about the elephant nearby
I don’t mean to beat up on capture products. I’ve produced conference capture products. Members ask for them and we think we need to deliver them. We don’t. This is not how we actively learn on devices. If you’re going to capture content at your conference, capture it with the future mode of delivery in mind.
- Consider capturing faculty commentary on their session. Pair the recording with an article or use it to stimulate a webinar conversation.
- Consider capturing hallway insights from attendees – testimonials you can drop throughout the year to build momentum for your next event – but also a formative assessment for your association to see what is resonating with your attendees.
- Capture how-to’s from your session speakers – brief clips distilled from their presentations that you can use to build a library of insights.
- Ted Talk style presentations transition well onto devices. If you’re delivering them, capture them for sure.
Extending your conference content is not about repurposing what’s been designed and delivered for the big gathering. It’s about pausing to plan in advance how you can capitalize on the gathering to draw out content you can continue delivering all year long.