A New Approach to Learning at OpenWorld 2017

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Blog | Oct 2, 2017

A New Approach to Learning at Oracle OpenWorld 2017

In an Oracle announcement in July and a Forbes article in August, we learn that Oracle has teamed up with the Stanford Center for Design Research this year to bring new, collaborative learning opportunities to Oracle OpenWorld 2017. Changes include a new, more participatory session format and a redesigned exhibit hall aimed at fostering conversation and active, collective learning.

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Larry Ellison's Keynote at OpenWorld 2016

Collaboration with Stanford Center for Design Research

In an effort to bring the latest collective learning research to OpenWorld attendees, Oracle has enlisted the help of Tamara Carleton and Bill Cockayne of the Stanford Center for Design Research (SCDR). Carleton explains that applying their findings on collective learning to OpenWorld sessions holds the potential to transform passive audience members into active participants while guiding speakers into "more of a coaching role."

Rethinking the session format

Applying what they learned from SCDR as well as the collective learning sessions of OpenWorld 2016, Oracle is experimenting with new approaches to sessions this year. Their rethinking of the conventional lecture format is backed by a sobering statistic: we remember 80 percent of what we participate in, but only five percent of what we passively absorb.

Roughly 200 OpenWorld sessions will adopt a new, collective learning approach. Oracle is helping participating speakers transition to the new format in the months leading up to the conference. Oracle's Senior Director of Events Scott Ewart tells Forbes that presenters will have "lots of opportunities to master these new styles over the coming months," and they are eager to apply it in October.

Driving the new session format is the aim to transform session spaces into collective learning environments. Oracle not only wants to foster more interaction between speaker and attendees in these new environments, but between the attendees themselves. Tamera Carleton of the SCDR envisions attendees actively sharing "their own stories and ideas" under the new format.

Of the thirteen session types Oracle is adopting this year, nearly all of them involve a high level of attendee participation. Here are a few of the most notable departures from the conventional session:

Flipped Session

Clearly reflecting Oracle's plans to turn the tables on the old approach, this new session type has two-parts, giving attendees the opportunity to apply what they've learned to "real-world challenges."

Home Room

Under this aptly named session type, attendees with a shared interest will have their own space to gather and share ideas at the beginning and end of each day.

Make Your Case

Adopting a workshop-style format, this new session type will give attendees the opportunity to tackle Oracle case studies and apply their knowledge with a direct, hands-on approach.

Journey Mapping

This highly participatory session format has attendees walk through an entire customer journey in order to foster a more complete understanding of their customer's point of view.

Brain Snacks

Breaking the one-to-many mold entirely, this session type has attendees engage in a "series of 1:1 conversations with fellow experts."

Game On

As its name implies, this session type groups attendees into teams in a "game show environment" that fully embraces a participatory, "learning through playing" approach.

Fireside Chat

The relaxed, conversational approach of this session type lets attendees and specialists let their guards down and cover topics in a casual, natural, unstructured way.

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A session from last year's OpenWorld

The Exchange

Oracle's new approach extends beyond their session formats to encompass a top-to-bottom redesign of their conference exhibit hall. Appropriately named The Exchange, Oracle's redesigned hall is built to encourage more conversation and a greater exchange of ideas. Oracle wants The Exchange to be a natural extension of OpenWorld's new, active learning sessions, rather than a detached area for a separate activity. Among The Exchange's redesigned booths, you'll find new, creative spaces for connecting, meeting, sharing ideas and engaging in active learning.

Emerging technologies

With 114 sessions devoted to Artificial Intelligence (AI) and 88 to the Internet of Things (IoT), Oracle is also embracing emerging technologies more than ever this year. Alongside AI and IoT, look for more interactive demos and exhibits enhanced by Virtual Reality (VR) at The Exchange.

Conference details

Oracle OpenWorld 2017 is being held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from October 1st through 5th. There's still time to register if you haven't already. Then join us for dinner and drinks while you're there. We look forward to meeting you and sharing ideas and solutions.

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