How about stopping for a moment, taking a break from your everyday life, and letting yourself have the chance to think and reflect on issues that matter?
Last September, I had the opportunity to do that by joining Dare to Learn as a social media manager. Dare to Learn is a festival aimed at celebrating and re-thinking learning; it is an event for all those curious minds that understand and value the importance of learning. But what is a learning festival at the end of the day? What is Dare to Learn?
From a very broad and structural perspective, Dare to Learn is a festival that offers participants the opportunity to network with people, participate in workshops, discover new companies, and listen to different kinds of inspiring, informative and revealing speeches. The festival is taken to the next level by incorporating elements such as the Scandinavian Global EdTech Start-up Awards (GESA) and the very first Hacking Higher Education (HHE) Finland. Having such a rich programme ensures everyone will find the correct activities for themselves.
Is that all? No, it is not. If we look at the very core of Dare to Learn, we will find that the biggest reason for attending such an event lies in the experience that you will have and the learnings that you will take. Each person will experience the event in a unique manner and will leave with unique learnings. I believe that this will depend on multiple factors ranging from the activities that each person decides to attend, up to their current life situation and emotional state.
For me Dare to Learn was enlightening, inspiring and assuring.
I left the event only knowing that I had no other option than coming back next year. Why? Let me share you the five things I learnt by attending Dare to Learn 2019:
- The world needs more events like this one.
Dare to Learn is more than just your standard type of conference. What I personally liked the most were the conference’s themes and the different workshops. In 2019, the conference’s themes were learning as strategy, learning individual, and learning organisation. The different workshops gave participants the opportunity to create and reflect right on the spot, for example, Tampere Universities facilitated the workshop What if higher education was built from scratch? As the name suggests, participants brainstormed how would the higher education looked like if they had the chance to build it all over again starting from scratch. If you are the kind of person who wants but often struggles to talk to new people, this kind of workshops would do the job for you. Regularly, you would have the opportunity to work or discuss topics in groups. Thus, easing the process of talking and meeting new people.
- Everything is changing and developing faster than I thought.
People can easily get locked in their everyday life. This routine may leave people without the time or the curiosity to wonder: What is happening around the world? What is happening in other industries? It was very refreshing and surprising to get a taste of how different industries and businesses are moving into the future. Dare to Learn offered the opportunity to discover different types of businesses: from those who are proposing a new approach to education to those who are inventing new tools to facilitate discussions.
- Dare to Learn is your safe space to try new things.
As a social media manager, I had the chance to be part of the event for a total of six months. During that time frame, I got the chance to test everything I wanted without worrying too much if the outcome was not necessarily the best: from drafting the social media coverage plan for the event to developing my own personal projects (Dare to Learn Vlog). Dare to Learn allowed me to develop in a space where I felt comfortable testing and even comfortable going out of my confort zone. In other words, it made me feel comfortable about learning and executing, which in turn allowed me to learn even more.
- You are not alone.
This was one of the main messages during the conference. Learning is not always easy; it may actually be scary at times. However, that is totally ok. It is ok to feel scared and it is ok to feel sometimes insecure. The most important part is to acknowledge this and to still take action remembering that you are not alone – there are others who are also facing the same struggles. I repeat it one more time, so it is not forgotten: you are not alone.
- People need to talk more, share more and reflect more.
It is incredible how many great ideas people have, how much they know, and how much they have to say about different topics. The biggest problem here is that they are not talking; they are not sharing their ideas – often including myself. The last lesson I learnt was about how important it is to have spaces that facilitate conversations among people that may not necessarily know each other. It is fantastic everything you can learn from others if you just have the appropriate atmosphere that encourages you to talk and that allows conversations to happen.
Looking back at the event, I cannot be other than grateful for having had the chance to be part of the Dare to Learn crew. I honestly believe that it does not matter whether you attend the event as a volunteer or as a participant, if you love learning, are curious to learn new and want to experience a totally different kind of event, Dare to Learn will not disappoint you. In fact, you may even want to come back year after year – just as it happened to me.
Savonia University of Applied Sciences