Poster Lab: a new tool for meetings

Poster Lab: a new tool for meetings

Poster Lab is a quick training tool that can prove useful for meetings.

1 – How Poster Lab was created
We have developed a training model called Poster Lab – a name inspired by the posters of scientific and medical conferences – in cooperation with a training company, some external collaborators and the support of researchers and professors of Macerata University and LUISS.
It is a learning unit able to self-adjust and self-learn and consists of both on-line and in-class activities. A group that learns while working and, in turn, becomes a training group that produces while learning.
It is a flexible, quick but efficient tool, that can be used as a workshop in events or meetings, as a module in traditional training programs and as an independent project.

2 – The model
The model is based on the most important theories in the field of training and of company culture of the last 25 years: Zygmunt Bauman (liquid room), Henry Levy (collective intelligence), Derrick de Kerckhove (connected intelligence), Howard Gardner (multiple intelligences), Joseph Novak and Toni Buzan (meaningful learning), Rudolph Arnheim (visual thinking), Dee Hock (distributed leadership), Schwaber and Sutherland (scrum agile project management), Nonaka and Takeuchi (learning organization), Vincenzo Petruzzi (gamification), Fontana and Vogler (storytelling).

3 – How it works
Poster Lab works this way: the topic of discussion is displayed on a mental map, a flow chart or any other kind of visualization, on a paper or electronic poster. It is a virtual environment in which one must register to interact with the topic.

Poster Lab: a new tool for meetings

On a specific day the registered members meet up in a room with a host/facilitator who interacts with the participants, a tutor managing the technological part and a testimonial telling a case related to the topic of discussion. The meeting lasts 40 minutes.
The host begins explaining the methodological aspects and then plays a short video (7 minutes maximum), to take stock of the situation (see photo – during the video participants can keep sending posts).
Immediately after, the testimonial tells his case using presentation slides or videos, for about 10 minutes (cover photo).

The activities of the poster lab revolve around an interactive whiteboard (IWB). The whiteboard is controlled by the host using the touchscreen and by the tutor using a computer. The participants download an app on their mobile devices in order to interact with the whiteboard, send their questions or messages. Questions and interesting ideas are then displayed on the IWB as virtual post-its (photo on the right: the host selecting the messages of the participants on the interactive whiteboard).

4 – The discussion
The host starts a discussion aimed at sharing ideas and clearing up any doubts. This part lasts about 15 minutes. In the last 5 minutes the host picks up all the post-its that may be relevant for the online part.
The tutor records all the messages that are subsequently evaluated. The most creative and inspiring ones will be rewarded (gamification).
During the conclusion, the host reminds the participants that from then on the activities are continuing in the virtual community. The participants can download all the materials and interact in a forum to further developed their knowledge about the topic.
The class can be part of a bigger event, such as meetings or courses, or a stand-alone experience.

5 – The results
Poster Lab has made its debut in the event “Exploring Elearning”, during which 450 participants took part in 36 poster labs, each of them repeated more than once.
In this first phase we noticed that:
– all the posters had the same quality standard
– 40 minutes are enough to create something interesting to keep working on
– the model can be used singularly or as a part of a bigger event
– it can also be used for meetings and quick projects