Wild writing reflections from L&D Connect unconference #ldcu16

As ever with these things it’s less about the process and the right way to do things and it’s more about enabling people to experience learning through different methods they may not be familiar with. What constantly amazes me when I come to an unconference is always that people are so pleasantly surprised at how well it all just works.

You come to this morning thing and not sure what to expect. You’re asked to co-create an agenda and make sense of your own thinking and take responsibility for your own learning, and then you’re into the discussions. People’s insights are amazing. They take them into all sorts of directions. No-one’s an expert, no-one is the best pracititoner, or the most influential, or the learning leader, we’re all equal and we all have a shared voice. How empowering is that? How much shared value is there in that? How do we cultivate that in our daily lives? What difference would there be if we tried to do that more?

And here we are. A group of people, some 20 people in London. Most don’t know each other, most are here because they’ve been attracted by a desire to test their L&D experience and do something different with it, to push their own boundaries, to learn what’s going on. And I think back to 2012 when we did the first unconference. 4 hours long was all we did that first time, and today we’ve spent a whole day together.

People’s sharing through digital technology has been really great to see too. Give people permission and the acceptance of their thoughts and tweets and they’ll contribute – not because they’ve been instructed to, but because the design has been inclusive, it’s been acceptant, and it’s been healthy. People’s individual needs are taken care of by them owning what they want and what they choose to share with others.

How do you do this? How do you purposefully set about challenging what you know and letting it just wash over you? An experience like an unconference fundamentally is about being allowed to act like an adult and be fully accepted as one. We’ve used a variety of facilitation techniques to help us over the day. It almost doesn’t matter what that is or how we did it. What matters is that it was created, it was designed to be amazing.

I have big love going out to Michelle Parry-Slater, my London co-facilitator. Fiona McBride, Julie Drybrough, Phil Willcox and Joey Stephenson. Together we’ve created something cool. We’ve done something unique and we can take credit for helping shift and change the conversation when it comes to learning event delivery and experience. There is important learning there for L&D practitioners from all walks of life. This group of people that have helped to do this are amazing and inspiring and I’m proud to have them in my life – both as friends and as fellow professionals.

Is this what wild-writing is meant to be? Has this stream of consicousness followed how this is meant to go? Am I breaking some kind of accepted methodology? When you’ve read this,  how have you felt? How has it moved you? Does it evoke anything in you? For me when I write like this, it’s free. I’m not constrained. It’s just sharing as I’m writing.



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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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