As I sit on the train going to what is potentially is one of the best general learning events of the year, I started thinking about what I learnt and did differently since last year. What will I learn at the conference? #cipdace17 (to see a list of the free learning sessions click here)
Since then I have been on several substantial training courses building up my awareness in a range of different areas. But what did I learn last year? What have I done with that learning? What will I learn this year?
You get what you focus on
When you buy a new car, jacket or phone. Often we think we are the first to have it. Then over the next few days, we see the product everywhere. Often the very same colour too!
We are looking for it so we see it. Learning is much the same. If you know what you are looking for you are more likely to find it.
If you know what you are looking for you are more likely to find it!
Reflective learning practice – What will I learn at the conference?
Earlier on in the year, I was invited by a business friend and author Robert Craven to a session called “check-in strategy Journal”.
In many ways, this publication is nothing new. It is all about PDPs for senior people in a business. The difference being that this time it is not about reflecting on goals and learning for the sake of it but to improve performance. The blinding obvious really, but very well executed and delivered with some great and powerful twists.
This reflection got me thinking. We spend a lot of money and time going to conferences. Listening to the great and good. Listening to wonderful case studies. But so what? We might find a useful supplier for that future project.
We learn more when we have a goal. The more specific the goal the more likely any learning will be embedded and applied.
It has been quite a while since I wrote down any goals for a conference, so for me, this is an important process. Not all goals, of course, have to be directed as outcomes from the content, but the people and environment too.
Using OKRs for learning at conferences
Rather than the rigid SMART goals, a better format for setting learning goals is the Objective Key Result – OKR
The basic formula is;
I will (objective) as measured by (this set of key results)
These may change over the course of the next 24 hours, but my initial set of goals are:
- I will learn to use live video as measured by confidence and progress in documenting sessions and lessons learnt throughout the conference
- I will broaden my knowledge of tools and processes available for coaches as measured by my ability to list tools and methods described at the conference.
- I will increase my network by engaging with people that are open to networking by spending time in the member lounge, as measured by the increase in LinkedIn connections
What are your learning goals?
Keep it simple, but write them down and make them public. This helps to make us accountable. More importantly, if others see our goals and can help us achieve them People like to help others if they see your goals and can contribute, they will.
What if you are not going?
The good news is that you can follow the twitter stream or published blogs. BUT just following blindly is more akin to “well that was interesting, so what?”. It can also be a big waste of time. So no matter if you are attending or following, have some goals. That way we are more likely to find what we are looking for. Big, wide goals like “to update myself” is unfortunately meaningless.