Unconference unboring

I attended my second unconference yesterday.  I had a slight feeling of being on the outside as I walked down Brick Lane eating my salt beef and gherkin rye lunch.      Unconference = unstructure, unexpected and unything goes.  I like it.

Learning and Development Unconference #LDCU was a group of L&D and OD people coming together to share views, opinions, and see where the conversation went.    With some broad discussion topics to start the afternoon, I only knew people that I had met/seen/spoken with on-line, people had not come together before, but it felt like community.  It felt good.

Unconference creates space for discussion, participants create the agenda, and no one has to do anything. Participation possibly fluctuates, but the subject matter for discussions is steered by the people there so energy and interest appears to remain high.  Unconference is probably uncomfortable for people who desire structure and guidance, although from discomfort often comes opportunities for learning.

I suppose the most stimulating part for me apart from meeting some interesting and exciting new people, and seeing @naturalgrump as more than just a head in the sand,  was the discussion by younger members about how much there was to learn from the more experienced/mature people there and the recognition that the younger members have much to offer their older colleagues.  It stimulated thought about ways to increase collaboration as changing demographics, labour demands and economics reshape the workplace over the next 20 years.

I think there is an opportunity to rethink how we view learning and see it as an exchange; develop a mutuality so that difference creates energy and doesn’t polarise generations.  The teachers need to be taught, the learners need to lead, everyone is both a teacher and a learner.

What do you think – or need to unthink??

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8 thoughts on “Unconference unboring

  1. A really interesting point about demographics and something that I mull over often. With retirement ages shifting every upwards and younger workers finding it hard to get into employment I fear there is an increased risk of confrontation between the generations. How we facilitate that in our economy and within our organisations will be a real test. It sounds from your experience that some, if not all, can see then benefit of collaboration over confrontation.

    Great first blog.

    Neil

    1. I am thrilled that you have both read and commented.

      I have had so many people tell me they “don’t do this stuff”. I give it back to them and ask them about the phone and the TV – they do that – engaging with social media is an evolution along from that. Got two 85pluses on skype recently!

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting Mark. Great article too. I do fear an increasing polarity is developing, and I think about the mess that we have with who holds the power. Elders particularly are so vulnerable already, and we know that the 50 somethings are already struggling to get work in my view because the decision makers are social media devotees. Ageism, for young and old, is our looming challenge.

  2. Interesting point about everyone being teacher and learner. I think unstructured learning has huge potential if organisations can get over the inherent risks. Above the discussion, it sounds like this was an opportunity for you and other participants to learn about learning and experiment with new formats. Great blog!

    1. Thanks Jas for visiting. I think that many teachers, particularly of young children, already know that learning is a two way exchange. I read an article recently, that I’ll remember where it is and post it, that talked about curation of content as opposed to design. I think it could be exciting!

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