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Are you meeting your audience's expectations? What research has to say may motivate you to redesign your next presentation. Scroll to the bottom article for this article.
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Adult Ed 101: Pedagogy vs Andragogy
   Most of us teach the way we were taught. If you remember being super bored in class, you should ask yourself if that’s really the best approach. 
   Pedagogy is for children. It’s the way most of us were taught. Children learn by being told. Teachers control learning agendas. They don’t know what they need to know to accomplish their goals.
   Andragogy is for adults. You have a pretty good sense of what it is you want learn and how you want to learn it. You have enough experience to both teach and learn something new at the same time. You probably learn better by doing and reflecting on your experiences than from being lectured to for an hour.

Which one of these approaches best reflects your teaching style? 
Would you be bored in your own session?

Catch and Re-Catch Attention
A good rule of thumb is that children have as many minutes of attention as their age in years. In my experience, this growth curve stops at about age 5.
You’ll be lucky to have an adult's attention for more than 5 minutes.
So plan for something different every 5 minutes. Start with a story, then make people read, then interact with each other, then present a 5 minute mini-lecture. Cycle through these learning modalities.
You’ll find that you’ve kept more of their eyes on you and less on their phone screens.
Remember the last time you had to bob your head around the tall guy wearing a hat sitting in front of you so you could see what was at the bottom of someone’s slide?  
Keep all of your content in the top 2/3 of your screen.
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Why your last CE was awesome (or not).

Do you know what audience members love about your sessions? Have you ever taken time to actually listen to someone's critique of your teaching? Can you articulate exactly why you keep seeing the same faces time and time again - or why you never have repeat attendees? 

In this research, interviewers sought high detail feedback from a group of continuing education leaders. CE leaders are responsible for their own continuing education and providing for the education of others. Therefore, it’s critical for them to seek out the best CE events for themselves - and to know what makes or breaks a CE experience in the eyes of the participants.

I mean, we all want to be invited back, right?

Recent interview research of continuing education leaders points out five things needed for effective continuing education experiences. Here the findings are summarized and expanded with takeaways for your next teaching event:

  1. Respect for a wide variety of backgrounds. Continuing education leaders specialize in a wide variety of subject matter, and often attend conferences to learn something outside their field. Speak plainly enough so that an outsider can keep up without it seeming like you’re speaking to kindergarteners in the eyes of your intended audience.
  2. Each attendee has different motivations. You’ve probably heard that most conference attendees are either hostages, vacationers or overly eager. Most will stay interested if you offer new, useful ideas. If someone on your staff wants to present, make it easy for them by offering to pay for them to attend and present. Offer some release time from regular work for them to prepare their materials.
  3. Offer a variety of experiences. Live presentations are not the only game in town. Presenting effective webinars minimizes time away and expense. But it also limits focused learning time and networking opportunities. Learn the differences between what works well in person and what works well in a webinar – webinars are a different world.
  4. What constitutes a good experience. These interviewees noted that the best sessions helped them improve their work performance. This is the essence of professional development - filling in gaps in work performance. Plan your next teaching session with a specific performance goal in mind for your learners.
  5. What constitutes a bad experience. Don't be guilty of these things. Keep in mind that a bad experience will stand out more in a person's mind than a good experience. Bad experiences are more likely to be talked about year after year. Bad experiences mentioned by the interviewees:
    1. Presentation slide decks were outdated or looked outdated
    2. Presentations were too institution-specific
    3. Bad speakers with no public speaking training or experience - think, "um, uh"
    4. Audience members knew more about the subject than the presenter
    5. Sponsored sessions only pushed products, not information
    6. Resistance to doing new things once the attendee was back “home”

Margaret Bacheler (2015) Professional Development of Continuing Higher Education Unit Leaders: A Need for a Competency-Based Approach, The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, 63:3, 152-164, DOI: 10.1080/07377363.2015.1085799  http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07377363.2015.1085799

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