In international development we don't often get a chance to meet face to face (F2F). When we do it is important to make the most of that time. It is also useful to continue some activities online after the F2F. This page talks about ideas for using online tools to prepare for, maximize and follow up from F2F meetings.
Blended designs work when there is a need to reach people who are in different locations. For example, for the World Bank Group conference “mobilizing knowledge networks for development”, we wanted to include as many people as possible, while realizing that many would not be able to afford to fly into Washington DC. Hence, we chose a blended design.
It is important to design the whole conference concept with the view to blending the F2F and online modes as seamlessly as possible. It is well worth using multiple really good facilitators for the F2F component, as well as others who will moderate the online components, and then taking the time to ensure that everyone understands how to include the online participants. Design the conference to be very interactive in both spaces, so as to keep people engaged and encourage them to share their experiences of the topic. That way, you will learn far more than from a couple of “sages on the stages” who speak for the whole time.
From the experiences at the World Bank:
As described above, the conference “mobilizing knowledge networks for development” at the World Bank, June 19-20 2012 was a blended event. Using AdobeConnect not only allowed the online participation, but captured everything. The event can be found here:
To see the actual sessions, click on “sessions materials and recordings”
Built into the event was a knowledge fair. Each day, there was an extended lunch break of two hours, so that participants could take their lunch bags to the atrium. There they could gather in impromptu groups at small tables to eat and chat, then visit the 30 booths (see under “knowledge fairs” for more details).
(URLs, photos, podcasts, we should perhaps think of a sub-classification of resources)
Blogpost by Joitske Hulsebosch: Facilitating the transition from online to face-to-face conversations and vice versa (April 2013)
Conferences, blended, online, f2f