Action learning in Arabia: Adventures, Blog posts and More: Presentation at QS Maple

Today I presented at the 4th QS Maple Conference here in Abu Dhabi. You can find a link to the conference here: Conference website

The mission of the Conference is:
  • To provide a forum that promotes the development of higher education in the Middle East and Africa in the global context that stimulates international partnership.
  • To support the processes of institutional evaluation and upgrading that will lead to greater worldwide recognition of Middle Eastern and African universities.
There were some really great presentations from universities around the world... and of course I presented about my action or experiential learning projects which regular readers are familiar with :) I spoke about the lessons learned and gave some examples... 

Five lessons learned

  • Go over the theory - again and again and again 
Yes, I do PowerPoint - yes, presentations might be boring, but I try to use examples that "mean" something to the students. I also use the whiteboard a lot and write the strategic management process at least once a week!
  • Provide minimal guidelines/rules 
This might go against traditional pedagogy... but the more I tell them exactly what to do the less they think... and I want them to be active thinkers, looking for answers to their questions... I also empower students who "get it" to be charged with explaining it to others... Prepare for panic and prepare yourself for questions...
  • Trust/be patient 
OK, I almost always panic about the organisations of events - for example last week's poster presentations... and of course the event, project, field trip always exceeds my high hopes... They will pull it off... My students don't work like I do, but it always seems to come together...

Tweeting and then Instagraming my stress to aid communication!

  • Be open for the unexpected/ Live in the moment 
Well... regular readers know that this is a must. This photo explains it all... not photoshopped and yes those are bees, lots and lots of bees!

Trying to be brave in the mountains of Dibba 

  • Share (blog post)/Follow up
Then we go over the project in class... what went well, what could we change for "next time" and I write about it - to share with you my reader of course, but so that future groups can learn from past groups. Truly, they learn from each other much more readily than a middle-aged Canadian professor! (I know shocking!)

It was a great conference and I will need a few days to digest all I learned... I was also very happy to present what I do for the first time to an international audience and have it well received. All in all a great two days!

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