Experiential Learning Ideas to Engage Event Attendees

Experiential Learning Ideas to Engage Event Attendees


The ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius once said: “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”

The simple idea of learning through doing – also known as experiential learning – has long been recognized as a beneficial approach in education and the classroom.

Experiential learning approaches:

  • Accelerate learning by bridging the gap between theory and practice by letting learners apply what is being taught
  • Increase engagement levels through collaboration
  • Enable personalized learning

But the benefits of experiential learning extend well beyond the classroom, especially within meetings and events. 

Planners applying these experiential learning principles and ideas to their events and meetings increase engagement with attendees and boost learning retention.

And with event tech like mobile conference apps, it’s easy, affordable and scalable to put these experiential learning theories into practice, whether it’s for small corporate events to large-scale training meetings – and everything in between.

Drawing on observations by The National Conference Center and The Browne Center, here are three experiential learning trends and how to apply the ideas to engage attendees better and enhance their event experience.

Trend #1: Learning by Choice

One effective approach the two groups found is to give participants a mix of session types to choose from, allowing learning to be tailored to the needs of each participant.

Many planners already offer different types of content, like general and breakout sessions, in-depth product or tech talks, and even different types of networking events. Another way to go beyond is to let event and meeting attendees drive presentation topics or direction – think of it as a “choose your own” presentation approach.

One example: push out a simple poll or survey pushed through a mobile app, allowing session participants the opportunity to influence the order or topics covered in a presentation. A subtle shift from listening to the presenter to giving participants a voice in learning by choice amps up learning engagement and retention.

Trend #2: Learning by Shared Experiences

Another concept the groups identified is the effectiveness of learning through shared experiences. When everyone is collectively involved, it takes participants out of their comfort zone and fosters peer-to-peer learning.

One way to apply this experiential learning approach is by using a mobile app to enable peer-to-peer sharing. For example, many speakers use Evenium ConnexMe to let attendees post comments or questions, which are then displayed on the main screen. With live session feedback/annotation, other attendees can answer peer questions – creating a shared learning experience.

Trend #3: Learning by Doing

The National Conference Center and The Browne Center found participants are more engaged when they actively pose questions, solve problems and be creative – in other words, just like the wise Confucius said, learning by doing.

Getting event or meeting attendees to participate in role-plays or problem-solving scenarios is often easier said than done. Encourage attendees to get together and practice by embracing the networking function of your mobile event app.

Whether groups are organized by job description, mutual connections, company, or job tenure, using an app’s networking feature is a great way to bring together groups to mix and mingle and tackle a challenge.

Experiential learning isn’t a new concept. But event and meeting planners who think more like educators and incorporate learning by choice, learning by shared experiences and learning by doing can enhance the overall event experience.

Interested to learn more about using a mobile event app like Evenium ConnexMe to enhance learning and information retention at your events and meetings? Contact us to schedule a demo!

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