I had a blast this morning facilitating (with a serious power assist from Velvet Chainsaw's Jeff Hurt) one the Really Live Chats in the PCMA Convening Leaders Learning Lounge. The topic was "designing meetings for learning," or something like that—in true chat form, we meandered around a bit.
The format was pretty cool. The Velvet Chainsaw peeps had recorded (some recordings more polished than others) a bunch of really interesting people saying some really interesting things about meetings, brains, learning, and how grown-ups perceive the world and each other. We would watch a video, or more likely, a short snip of a video, then talk about it, brainstorm, spark ideas off of each other, gain insights or just commiserate when we couldn't think of ways to get at a specific issue.
As one person said, it was great to have the option to do something informal but not totally unstructured, as a break from the more formal breakouts going on elsewhere.
I haven't had time to put my thoughts together too coherently, since I haven't had a whole lot of time to stop and reflect on what came out of that Really Live Chat (one of the things we did talk about a lot was the need to build in reflection times so our brains have time to digest what we're learning, but to do it in a more organic way than just say, "stop and talk amongst yourselves"). But I will say without much reflection at all that I love the format, and having the videos to get discussions started, and then tying what they talk about into real-life examples of what we do and what we now would like to do, is one example of a well-designed meeting component if you want people to learn rather than just hear content.
What I would love to do is, once the videos are posted (which I hear they will be), is to sort of reverse-reverse engineer the format and try to maybe put together a Google+ hangout or some other easy, informal way to continue the conversations as we learn more from the Big Brains, and/or bring new folks into the discussions. We only viewed maybe two full videos and a piece of a third; there is so much more there to talk about and we only have so many hours here in San Diego (did I mention the absolute hugeness of the content on tap here? Not just in the Learning Lounge and general sessions and breakouts, but there's also the co-located Virtual Edge Summit's plethora of interesting-sounding deep dives into hybrid, virtual, 3D, and who knows what else meetings?).