“You had to be there”

When we’re told a joke or a tale that falls a little flat we may hear a sheepish response along the lines of “well, I guess you had to be there”.

The same is true elsewhere of course – gigs, movie premieres and theme parks to name but three. It’s whole point of live events. 

The best of these compel us to say this same phrase, but in a slightly different way: 

you had to be there

One other area where this applies is in the classroom. 

We can be there, but are we really there?

Like the tall story being shared, we’re often hearing it second hand – one step removed – even if we’re in the room.

Just watching and listening to lectures or demos can be tough. We miss the moments, the tension, the punchlines, the breakthroughs, the juice.

This is one of the biggest challenges for both traditional and online-driven education. 

We’re there, but we’re often not really there.

The good news is there are ways to make this better. 

Emotive, energetic teaching; compelling storytelling; hands-on activities; real-time feedback loops.

An experience where you tell other people, and tell them “you had to be there”.

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