Its back on the 24th February – the HEA #HEAchat and the #LTHEchat combo!

Both hashtags will be used during this discussion.

We have all been there. Sat in a conference room hearing the great ideas streaming from the presenters; ideas that strike a chord with your teaching practice or perhaps an answer to the problem you and your colleagues are battling with. We scribble on the Powerpoint handouts, swap cards with the speakers and pledge to bring that idea to life once back home. And then we go home, emails kick in, so do the assessment boards and teaching. The euphoria and buzz that comes from being part of a conference can fade pretty quickly.

This blog post is about the conference rear-view mirror; a call for reflecting on and effectively actioning the learning you will harvest from the HEA Health and Social Care Conference . We will be discussing the ideas in this blog post in our next twitterchat on 24 February 2016 20.00 GMT. This twitter chat takes place at the end of the first day of our conference so hopefully you will be buzzing with ideas that are ripe for embedding into your practice once you are home but:

  • How do you optimise the conference experience to ensure enhancement of your practice?
  • How do you best engage colleagues back in your institution?
  • What are the crucial steps from a conference attendance to the sharing of ideas and ultimately the enhancement of your teaching practice?

To unpick these questions we not only need to consider practical issues when we return to work but also the cultural habits within organisations that facilitate or hinder the adoption of new ideas.

In 2004 a systematic review was commissioned by the Department of Health which investigated the processes of diffusion, dissemination and the elements that determined whether or not a good idea gained traction within an organisation (How to Spread Good Ideas, Greenhalgh et al 2004). So what can help the transition from inspired by a conference to applying the ideas into your practice?

  • Making use of the formal and informal channels. Diffusion and dissemination are key mechanisms for distributing ideas across an organisation, however they do need active attention. Talk about the ideas you heard during the conference and how it made you think/feel about what is happening in your workplace both in scheduled meetings and over coffee. Linking back up with the networks you developed during the event is a good way to stay inspired and to interrogate how they kicked things off. You could always continue the conversation on !
  • Framing your conference experience. Often the quickest way to get an idea off the ground is to share your enthusiasm with others. The School of Health Care Radicals, led by Helen Bevan advocates social movement principles as an essential part of the change process. To help others engage, you must frame your message through story-telling that is personal, emotive and creates a sense of urgency. What is the conference story you will tell colleagues? And how will you frame it to achieve buy-in of both hearts and minds? Pictures, a twitter storify or you may have been inspired by our keynote Dr Kirsten Jack to explore poetry as a medium. We are also capturing the conference discussions via a graphic artist, Simon Heath – a great way to strike up a conversation with those who may help get an idea into practice. The critical task here is the match your frame with the person you are garnering engagement from – know your audience!
  • Matching the ideas from others to your organisational context. What works in one place may not work in another. The idea invariably will not directly parachute into your practice and match perfectly with your learners or your faculty. But working out the readiness of your organisation to pick up and run with this idea is a key consideration. If the match isn’t in place then a process of adaption is needed both of the idea and context. Inadequate adaptation is often why a good idea fails when situated in another context. The Habits of an Improver by Bill Lucas and Hadjer Nacer (2015) sets out the characteristics, required tenacity and importantly the methodology for increased success in embedding improvements.

So while you are at the conference prime yourself to re-enter orbit back into your workplace and ensure you find some reflection time to help you reinforce the conference learning. Ride on the wave of enthusiasm you are experiencing at the conference to make a resolution to put at least one new idea into action. Why not book a slot in your diary when you can catch up on the conference papers, share the idea with your students or add a reflective tweet to

Join the conversation to share how you best take a purposeful look in the conference rear view mirror to ensure that good ideas take hold

The next #HEAchat, which will be a combined Twitter chat with , takes place after our first day at the conference at 20:00 on 24 February 2016. The chat will therefore provide an opportunity for delegates to make connections, capture learning from the first day and identify the sessions you want to attend on the second day. So whether you are twitter newbie or an experienced tweeter, coming to the conference or an interested observer, check out the Twitter chat on 24 February at 20:00.

You can read more about how to take part in the chat here but it is very simple; just log on to Twitter on 24 February at 20:00 and look for the hashtags and to join the discussion. We look forward to hearing about your experiences and sharing ideas.

– See more at: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/blog/rearview-mirror-embedding-conference-learning-your-teaching-practice#sthash.maXHqAzY.dpuf

If you would like to join a future organising team, please get in touch with us via LTHE.tweetchat@gmail.com .

Chrissi and Sue on behalf of the #LTHEchat steering group and organising team.


Remember to set your alarms!

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About Stephen Powell

Academic Developer, Manchester Metropolitan University
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