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How a research conference created new learning: a case study

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Purpose ‐ The study presents preliminary findings from research begun at the 2005 Academy of Human Resource Development International Research Conference held in Estes Park, CO, USA. The qualitative case study captures what new learning occurred as a result of the conference and how the new learning at the conference occurred. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The qualitative case study used conceptual foundations grounded within critical theory and focused on learning organizations, communities of practice (CoP), and knowledge generation. Findings ‐ Participant reactions documented on approximately 1,000 data forms were categorized for this preliminary study as critical perspectives on HRD where typically underrepresented voices critiqued the conference, CoP as relationships between theory and practice where participants reported that theory to practice was a rich research topic, and learning organizations where results indicated that the academy benefits through conferences in terms of creating a learning organization. Research limitations/implications ‐ Preliminary results were based on preliminary analysis of data forms only. Future reports will include in-depth analyses of data forms, and results of interviews and other collected data such as journals and observations. Practical implications ‐ Findings are important to conference planning and evaluation that seeks to create and sustain new learning. Originality/value ‐ The study is the first of its kind addressing the way conferences can influence the creation of new learning and how learning occurs.
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Keywords: Conferences; Knowledge creation; Learning organizations; Learning processes

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006

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