Skip navigation

Alexa, Where Have All the Lifelong Learners Gone?

An emerging conference trend we’ve discovered is that fewer attendees are going to general and concurrent sessions. For years we’ve preached that attendees vote with their feet first and their wallet second. If your sessions are attracting fewer than 65 percent of participants at any given time, your conference education needs an upgrade. 

Now, we realize there’s more to the story. Our attendees are losing their ability to problem solve and innovate. If they don’t know the answer to something, they Google it, ask Alexa, or watch a how-to video on YouTube. Conference organizers feed lazy learners with tip sheets and PowerPoint decks. But that stifles the brain’s health.

In the book, Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, the authors point out that adults are delusional about how we learn. 

Learning is very effortful. In order to get something out of a learning experience, our participants first need to have a mindset of curiosity and the adaptability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. Secondly, they need to understand that if they don’t wrestle with the content and connect it to their past experiences, learning and sense-making won’t happen. No learning means no application, no job improvements, and a weak conference value prop.

Growing curiosity is the first step to getting more participants to show up and embrace lifelong learning.

Reprinted with permission from Velvet Chainsaw's Sticky Conference newsletter.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.