Train the Trainers with the Living Lab and Faculty Commons:
Effective Workshop Design
This workshop was developed collaboratively by the Living Lab General Education Seminar and the Faculty Commons and was offered a total of 5 times in the Spring of 2015.
Objective. Introduce participants to an array of useful techniques that will help them provide a safe space for other faculty in their department to question, share, critique and develop over time.
Agenda – The agenda distributed to participants upon arrival
Facilitator Agenda – Agenda for use by facilitators, includes many details and notes
Worksheet Activity – Handout for use in the final activity of the worksheet (three questions to get you thinking about your own workshop design)
Considerations for Workshop Design – List of things to consider when designing a workshop. This list was developed by the facilitators during the design process for the Train the Trainers workshop. It is not intended to be exhaustive, but a working document.
Workshop Design Considerations – with contributions from workshop participants – This is the updated version of the list above, and includes contributions from all five Train the Trainer workshops given in Spring 2015.
Additional Resources for Effective Workshop Design
Also take a look at How People Learn: Bridging Research and Practice (National Academy of Sciences, 1999). A free PDF copy is available if you sign up on the NAS website.
City Tech’s General Education Committee site.
City Tech’s Faculty Commons site.
As noted in the Facilitator Agenda above, after each workshop the facilitators reflected (in writing) for 5 minutes on the experience. We then discussed these with one another, and read through the participant reflections, and decided on adjustments to the agenda or materials for future meetings. Here is a sample post-project reflection.
Logistics. The first meeting led to the greatest number of changes to agenda. Based on our experience, we shorted some activities, lengthened others, and added a section near the end “What did we just do?” in which we explicitly discussed the decisions behind some of our workshop elements. We also adjusted the Worksheet activity (rearranging the questions). While later meetings sometimes deviated from the adjusted agenda, we never felt we needed to update it again (there will always be some variation, but we feel we were lucky to get to a pretty well-balanced timeline after the first meeting).
General. I participated as a facilitator in 4 of the 5 meetings, and it was surprising to me just how different the same agenda could be depending on the group. There was a lot of variation in pace – and not always consistently across activities (some groups spent a long time in introductions, but moved quickly through group work, and so on). There was also a lot of variation in participant mindset and preparation Some had a very clear objective in mind, and were working towards it directly, while for others the workshop was a space to think about (& try to clarify) the objective itself. I appreciated the willingness of participants to throw themselves into the activities. I also really enjoyed getting to know some new colleagues from around the college – I had many conversations that opened my eyes to different facets of the City Tech experience. What fun!