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Meetings and Meeting Agendas as Learning Environments

NextThought Studios Staff — October 31, 2018

Learning Design


Most people who work in organizations are familiar with and are, sometimes, resigned to the reality of meetings. Unfortunately for many employees, meetings can become tedious and counterproductive over time.

The negative attitude of meetings

There are a number of factors that contribute to this devolution in people’s attitudes toward meetings, including: 1) an excessive frequency of meetings, 2) the absence of a consistent meeting structure, 3) discussions that exceed their useful time limit, and 4) a lack of participant interaction.

A negative attitude toward company meetings poses a risk for organizations, for no matter how they are handled, meetings nonetheless remain a primary mechanism for keeping everyone moving forward on a strategic path.

A solution

One solution to this dilemma is to refocus the way meetings are perceived and to begin to conduct meetings as learning environments.

Meetings can become spaces where pertinent information is shared, useful feedback is provided, and innovative organizational evolution occurs. Treating meetings as learning environments will help participants visualize and maximize the different learning possibilities that can occur in an upcoming meeting, as well as ensure that everyone involved has a successful experience.

An example

Consider the following meeting agenda LEM from a recent gathering of the new Council for Online Learning Excellence (COLE) established by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

  • - Inform participants about COLE and its mandate
    - Determine opportunities and organizational needs
    - Establish immediate and intermediate goals for the council
    - Identify initial projects and project managers

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Objectives for meetings

Bucky Dodd, our COLE Chair, and I also had specific learning environment objectives for the meeting:

  • - Create a participatory environment – we wanted to emphasize this would be a council for “doers” as opposed to “talkers”
    - Instill in COLE members a sense of ownership with goals and initiatives
    - Work toward clear deliverables and responsibilities

With these objectives in mind, we opted to provide an overview at the beginning of the meeting for contextualization, and then we worked out a pattern that could be repeated for the rest of the day to get participants engaged in an iterative planning process. This involved planning and generating ideas in small groups, presenting them, and then having the larger council membership provide feedback. Moving beyond our face-to-face planning session, we wanted to extend our work and communication that day into an online space.

We were fortunate in that many of the members had participated in a similar hybrid engagement model last year, and we were able to build on those experiences.

The meeting was a tremendous success. Participants were highly engaged and welcomed the opportunity to take ownership.

Looking back at our learning environment model for the meeting, the value of working with a visual model becomes evident. Moreover, because we were focused on our meeting as a learning environment, we were able to identify agenda opportunities we likely would have otherwise overlooked.

NextThought Studios Staff
NextThought Studios Staff

The NextThought Studio team offers high-quality post-production services that create positive learning experiences for students, trainees, employees and more. Our varied video production services can help you create solutions that provide optimal information retention and skill acquisition. With expertise in everything from corporate video production to producing educational and learning videos, NextThought Studios can create a video experience to meet any client's needs.

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