Growing Mismatch Undermining Effectiveness of Conferences and Learning Events

There has been a lot of research underscoring the importance of using interactive approaches to content delivery and catering to diverse learning styles. So why do traditional methods prevail at conferences and corporate meetings?

Last week, I was excited about the opportunity to teach a workshop at a university. I ended up disappointed when I encountered what Julie Coates has described in her book Generational Learning Styles as:

"....a growing mismatch between faculty and students in terms of teaching and learning."

They were a group of very vocal corporate trainers and adult educators. "I am a traditional learner" one of the youngest participants announced. She resisted any approach that was a departure from tradition.

On a feedback form, another participant wrote:

Creative approaches are getting in the way of my learning.

Yet another participant who had recently been hired by a college to teach young adults, kept talking about using overheads, blackboards and white boards.

"I don't have to cater to their learning styles. If they don't listen to me, I'll fail them."

Old School Instructional Methods


While a new generation primed for highly engaging content is working its way through universities and hitting workplaces, some conference planners, trainers and educators are stuck in old paradigms.

How widespread is this mindset? What has been your experience at learning events you've recently attended?

Photo Credit: cdsessums

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