Being a participant at an educational conference is a great way to learn something new. Still, it is important that you find your own way to learn at conferences.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Go through the materials thoroughly
At big conferences, there are a lot of speakers and discussions running at the same time. You are one person and cannot attend everything. What you obviously can do, is get all of the available materials. This way, you will be able to decide whose blog to subscribe to, whose Twitter account to follow, and which of the speakers is simply not interesting for you.
2. Talk to people
At conferences, listening is a great way to learn. But if you communicate with other participants, you are going to learn much more.
3. Talk to salespeople
Not everyone likes to talk to salespeople. But the thing is that some salespeople know lots of interesting and useful stuff, so it may be useful to talk to them and have their contacts.
4. Spend some time not in sessions
There is even a term ‘unconference’. It means that at conferences people can gather in group and set their own topics for discussions. Try it! For instance, once I heard a group of people talking about plagiarism checker services and sharing their thoughts on websites to check for plagiarism. The topic was not on the schedule, it was ‘unconference’.
5. Do not ignore social media
Like it on Facebook, or in other social media, join group chat in Twitter, etc. It will help you follow what is going on and speak the same language with other participants.