Leading Learning Workshops

Today was a fantastic day leading a collaboration and learning workshop in Ohio for humanities and social science adjunct faculty, blending methods from Open Space and Lean Coffee to facilitate the workshop. Not having a strong sense of the faculty needs initially, I hosted several Lean Coffees across different cities in Ohio where this institution maintained sites this past February and March, as well as an online Lean Coffee, which was quite interesting, and successful, I must say.

This drove several projects and lead to stepping it up a wee bit from the small Lean Coffees to this workshop. Was it truly an open space event? Not really. Was it a large Lean Coffee? Not really. As usual, I picked my favourite things about the different models and threw them in a pot … and we made an excellent stew.

Starting out with freshly made espresso, we started with the Lean Coffee way of everybody noting topics of interest and put them on the wall next to the empty Marketplace.

Also in the Lean Coffee way, I combined duplications as people clarified the topics, and then we all dot voted the final contending topics.

Based on the popularity of some topics, I made a space across multiple time slots and tables, matching them with topics that had fewer dots.

Originally I had planned for each table and each 30 minute segment to do a Lean Coffee style facilitation, but since they had already written and synthesized their topics into themes for the Marketplace, we discovered that writing up new topics at each table was redundant, so they simply referenced the original post-its that went up on the wall that contributed to the building of the themes.

This experience resulted in several recommendations for ideas / strategies within the topics, networking, and overall a very positive workshop. It was excellent to hear the following comments during the closing reflection.

  • Good fellowship and networking
  • Desire for update on their ideas from this event when the next event takes place
  • Take the very popular topics from this workshop and work up more formal keynotes, webinars, and other training
  • Realization that they were not alone and developing a support structure
  • Enjoyment that they drove the topics and agenda

…and then, there was the so simple and so important observation with a couple faculty members and I where it’s valuable to model, as we did today, what we expect them to do in the classroom.

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About Marian

My passion is centered around ensuring effective learning experiences that improve people's lives. Developing a learning mindset is my ultimate goal whether working with academic programs or corporate training; formal or informal learning practices. It is my belief that our potential for agility is limited only by our capacity for learning.

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