Giving Compass' Take:

• Getting Smart reports on the highlights of the Blended & Personalized Learning Conference hosted by Highlander Institute and The Learning Accelerator which include showcasing practitioners, modeling personalized learning experiences, and building networks. 

• What lessons can design thinkers takeaway from the main points of the conference? 

• Read about the team at Transcend, a company that helps build design-learning models. 

Hosted by the Highlander Institute and The Learning Accelerator, the annual spring Blended & Personalized Learning Conference holds a unique place in the education conference landscape. In addition to being excited about tools or strategies they had come across during the event, many participants shared specific conference design features that they intend to bring back to their teams, schools, and districts when running professional learning opportunities. Here are the three key components that participants found most compelling:

  1. Showcase current practitioners. At most conferences––and in many smaller professional learning sessions––educators learn from consultants or experts with little direct connection to current classrooms, schools or districts. At the BPLC, both leadership sessions and instructional sessions are led by current practitioner experts with a focus on sharing specific tactics.
  2. Model a personalized learning experience. Over time, the BPLC event has expanded from a focus on keynote presentations and workshops to a multifaceted program of activities to support the strengths, needs and preferred learning styles of diverse participants. Participants who ventured outside of a normal conference routine to explore different activities appreciated the chance to learn at their own level.
  3. Focus on building networks. Often, information is presented at conference workshops using a stand-and-deliver format. At BPLC, the focus is on collaboration, dialogue and tactical planning. From consultancies focused on a problem of practice to roundtable discussions on lessons learned to sessions centered on redesign, participants were encouraged to leverage the experiences of everyone in the room.

Read the full article about design learning by Cathy Sanford at Getting Smart