Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Conversation

My past experiences doing a lot of public presentation thought me one great lesson about comprehension and learning. During those periods I did, on average, around three (3) presentations a week. The topic varied between MSC, eLearning and KM. At one time I was also teaching KM in a graduate program. The greatest realization was the more I talked to people about a subject the better I could comprehend the subject matters. Last week I was alerted to a blog by Nancy Dixon on conversation. He cited a research by researchers at University of Michigan on conversation. I copied below what she cited.

“In these meetings individuals exchange their data, conclusions, reasoning and questions with others. Although the cognitive benefits to the receiver of such an exchange are apparent, there is evidence that it is the speaker who makes the greatest cognitive gains from the exchange. Individuals organize information differently if they are going to present it to others than if they are trying to understand it solely for their own use. It is in the act of speaking that people tend to organize cognitively what they know.”

This is what I have been experiencing through those years of teaching and presenting. Furthermore, according to Nancy Dixon this finding also implies that whenever one listened to somebody talking or presenting it would be helpful for the listeners’ cognition if they talk about it. Which actually put more conviction to the idea of having unconference format for conferences. Instead of having one way presentation done by conference speakers we open up opportunity for participants to have a dialogue, discussion or just allow time for them to converse about what had just been presented. Dixon also blog about this phenomenon and urge speakers instead of at the end of their presentation ask the audience if they have any question to turn to each other and discussed for a while what he or she had just presented.

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