Social Learning


Like a lot of parents since COVID-19 became a global pandemic, I've been doing "distance learning" with my child. What my peer group and I have noticed, universally, is that a lot of kids who were great in school classrooms...are not doing well when removed from the classroom environment.

This isn't just due to one factor, of course, but significant elements that are missing--that are creating a learning gap for kids--are also creating training and working gaps for businesses and employees. Some of these elements can be looked at to make more robust, effective in-person events (when they happen again).

Learning concierge
In the classroom:
Children need a teacher figure or, at the very least, a non-distracted person who is dedicated to their learning; who is there to answer questions, give support, and who proactively reaches out.

Event application:
Having event organizers and trainers onsite who are not only available for questions, but who actively reach out and network with attendees to ensure that they're grasping key concepts (not just "having a good time").

Peer Groups
In the classroom:
Children learn better in peer groups. Solo learning can be intense and studious, but focus can come from the accountability of being in a group of peers. You owe it to your other students to pay attention, settle down, be active so everyone can hear and learn.

Event application:
Having people together, physically, in the same room creates an environment where success or failure can be won as a team. We often team up attendees for this reason; it's easy for one person to be lost in a crowd, but it's hard to escape accountability in a group of 10 WITHIN a much larger meeting.

Distribution of Responsibility
In the classroom:
Children work together on projects, boosting the collective knowledge of the group by bringing in shared experiences, objections, additions, and brainstorming.

Event application:
Interactive tasks, extra-general session work, etc., can be assigned or completed if given as a team project. Participants are able to do more and interact in a more dynamic way--producing FOR the event--if they're interacting together.

Changing up the Format
In the classroom:
Kids have multimedia, print, lecture, etc.; the typical day is broken up by a variety of sources giving information, connection to the outside world, self-directed research, and different topics that stretch their brains. They can ask questions, guide discussion, etc. It's a vastly different environment than an overburdened Zoom call or infrequently touching base with a teacher.

Event application:
No one is having fun being on 8 hours of Zoom calls a day to talk to their teams. Virtual events are still placing people in one environment; the computer screen. Just like most live events still place their attendees in one format; the PowerPoint presentation. Events would do well to change the physical environment and the variety of ways that information is presented and how people interact with that information.


While kids may or may not go back to school in-person in the fall, and adults may or may not return to in-person events, it's clear that they provide value that contributes to the success and learning of their attendees in ways that virtual environments cannot.
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