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Education show-and-tell.

At the National Association of Realtors (NAR), Washington, D.C., members and staff from state and local associations this spring attended our first show-and-tell education forum. The program informs a national audience about existing resources and recognizes innovative programming. Since NAR comprises more than 1,800 local boards, 54 state associations, and eight affiliate organizations, it's easy to overlook or duplicate already successful programming. Educational materials from all areas of the organization showed that quality education can be achieved regardless of size or budget.

Promotion. We held the 2 1/2-hour forum toward the end of a six-day national conference. NAR's target audience included education staff and volunteer leaders from state, local, and affiliate associations. We ran announcements in two newsletters, plugged the event in committee meetings, and inserted notices in convention registration packets. Each education committee member also had 10 invitations to distribute at the meeting. There was no registration process or fee; the room was set for 200, and 120 actually attended.

Preparation. NAR education staff chose the programs showcased from responses to our call for programs mailed two months before the event. We chose programs based on subject matter, use of innovative technology, ease of implementation, size and budget of the organization, variety of learning formats used, and overall quality.

NAR staff worked closely with program presenters. We sent out guidelines for the five-minute presentations that asked presenters to include information on target audiences, what participants were able to do after attending, why programs were successful, and how others could implement them. We handled last-minute questions in a short planning meeting just prior to the event.

The event. After an initial introduction and brief roundtable brainstorming about elements of good education programs, participants broke into four groups, and each started in one corner of the room. There, three presenters were stationed at a display table with chairs set theater-style.

At the sound of a whistle, the presentations began. Each speaker delivered a five-minute summary of his or her program; with groups of 30, speakers didn't need to use microphones. We set aside 10 minutes at the end of the round of presentations for questions. At the next whistle, each group rotated to the next corner and spent 25 minutes reviewing another three education programs. The program continued until all programs were reviewed.

The full group reconvened in roundtables and discussed the merits of the programs they had reviewed. Attendees received a resource guide summarizing the programs on display, with names and phone numbers for more information. We also passed out a checklist of program planning criteria compiled from their brainstorming session.

Personnel. Although education committee members provided design input and the committee chair kicked off the forum, four NAR education staffers coordinated the function. Next year's program will need less planning, and volunteers will identify programs to showcase, be program presenters, and help market the program. One or two staff members will continue to coordinate logistics and provide on-site support.

Evaluation. All evaluation formns completed rated the program good or excellent. The assessment instrument asked attendees to list possible programs to showcase, so we already have suggestions for next time. More than a third of the audience requested more detailed information on programs showcased.

The program succeeded because it was interactive, featured members helping members, and provided a clearinghouse of good ideas.

Lori Dec is director of education sevices for the National Association of Realtors, Washington, D.C.
COPYRIGHT 1992 American Society of Association Executives
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Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Good Ideas; educational programs
Author:Dec, Lori
Publication:Association Management
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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