Reflection on Conference Versus Unconference

Pre-Attendance Reflection

This week will be a very interesting experience on the educational front as I attend a 1 day unconference and after a formal 3 day clinical focused conference. Leading up to the unconference is really exciting as the day has the usual venue, rooms, an outline of the day but also has online participants. The program is also not filled with presenters, just a few ‘key trigger’ talks and then who knows where the journey goes from there. There are facilitators to guide the process but the content and direction will be driven by the participants. This is so different to anything I have ever experienced before and makes for something really new to engage in as community of healthcare educators. The formal conference has the usual structure of location, rooms, set times for presentations, sponsored sessions and also social networking events. I have a copy of the 3 day timetable and have set out my itinerary of sessions I want to attend so I feel as I know what to expect. I am motivated to attend but am not sure of my level of participation in the formal conference, likely as a receiver of information.

My observation aims during these conferences are:

  • Room set up: how does this impact on dialogue opportunities.
  • The atmosphere.
  • Who gets to talk, is it across the floor or is the “guru” the only voice?
  • Facilitation style
  • Presentation styles
  • Online participation
  • Use of social media tools
  • Networking opportunities
  • Interprofessional healthcare collaboration or traditional hierarchies
  • Feedback from participants
  • Did I learn anything?

I will add my reflections post attendance in a weeks time after the events have finished. ‘Notes and Thoughts’ will be added on topics from the conferences on a day to day basis as well.

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