The bottom line is that I am in almost total agreement with Dave and Johnnie. I would love to see richer, more engaging conferences with a variety of presentation and interactive sessions as they suggest.
The problem is that is that most commercial conference organisers are not ready for this. And its not just KM conferences :-) My idea is a simple one. It is to add a short conversational element to the traditional lecture style talk which form the majority of sessions at any conference.
To move FROM presentation + no time for q&A TO presentation + reflection + conversation + q&a
This is only meant to be a baby step in the direction of better learning events. My hope is that once conference organisers realise how effective this format can be it will give them the courage to go further. Time will tell.
Interestingly, in Googling for other people's views on conferences, I found this post by Nancy Dixon from 2009. A Rant on Are There Any Questions? This is how she starts
Every good speaker knows that at the end of a presentation, you have to leave time for questions.
Hogwash! Leaving time for questions is the worse learning process we could have invented.
We've all been brainwashed into the pseudo learning theory that asking for questions at the end of a presentation makes it a better learning experience for the audience. Wrong!
If you feel like me you will love this video Chicken chicken chicken but see it through to the "Any questions?" session at the end :-)