As I’ve attended classes and presentations and conferences over the years, I’ve come to realize how poorly many learning experiences begin. Typically a learning experience starts with a brief welcome to those who are present and then jumps right into the first lecture or demonstration. Clearly no thought is given to how to set the tone for the event. Perhaps even more frustrating is the idea that the learning experience can’t start until everyone arrives physically in the same place. I’ve reflected on how much more valuable face to face learning experiences could be if we would put some thought into preparing our learners for the experience before they come together in person. Today I saw an approach to starting a learning experience that DID take these factors into consideration. To launch the Learning 2006 conference, Elliot Masie created a video-based orientation segment to prepare the learners for participation in the conference. Take a minute to look at this orientation and think about how much more effective a learning experience can be by taking the time to preparing learners ahead of time.