Facilitator Journal | Issue #0409, September 15, 2009
I'm sure you've designed or used activities for your trainings and workshops that just seem to work out great everytime. Then occassionally, with others, perhaps you've run into trouble. Last January, when facilitating the third run of our Journey of Collaboration workshop, I was frustrated by this one activity that never seemed to work out right. Thinking about where it might be going wrong inspired me to look at the activity from several different dimensions. Upon doing that, I came up with what I call the "Activograph," a graphical representation of the aspects I think are most important for any learning activity. This week's article Designing with the Activograph explains this tool and how you might use it to design or improve your activities.
Facilitating at a Distance coming September 28th: Essentials of Teleclass & Virtual Meeting Facilitation. This class is for those of you wanting to offer a teleclass but don't feel you have all the skills and knowledge you need to do so, or for managers working with distributed teams that require you to facilitate virtual meetings. See details at the end of this issue.
Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration Workshop. We'll be breaking the ice (literally) on our next Journey of Facilitation and Collaboration Workshop the week of January 11th in Madison Wisconsin...check out this opportunity to learn an Integrally Informed Approach to Facilitation and Leadership. Click here for details and registration. We find that a sufficiently large huddle at this workshop helps keep us all warm at this time of year in Madison!
Designing with the Activograph
Consider multiple relevant perspectives when designing learning activities.
I'm sure you've designed or used activities for your trainings and workshops that just seem to work out great everytime. Then occassionally, with others, perhaps you've run into trouble. Last January, when facilitating the third run of our Journey of Collaboration workshop, I was frustrated by this one activity that never seemed to work out right. Thinking about where it might be going wrong inspired me to look at the activity from several different dimensions. Upon doing that, I came up with what I call the "Activograph," a graphical representation of the aspects I think are most important for any learning activity (see figure below).
Upon sketching out this aid, I saw that it could be used as a simple tool for quickly assessing the quality of any facilitated activity from multiple perspectives.
I subjectively plotted the strength of each of these variables against the problem activity I mentioned, and I ended up with the following diagram.
This quickly showed me a couple of things. First, the graph was a bit deformed. Several important characterisitics of the activity we severely lacking. In this case those were Participant Readiness, Activity Instruction, and Competency Correlation. In addition, the emotional component was too intense based on the placement of this activity in the workshop. This analysis inspired us to change the placement and the objective of the activity
which helped make it far more effective the next time around.
Now for a more detailed explanation of each of the variables in the Activograph.
Participant Objectives (O): Learning goals of participant.
Skill Readiness (S): Readiness of participant with regard to knowledge and skill to reap optimum benefit from the activity.
Competency Correlation (C): Alignment of activity to teaching objectives or competencies.
Practical Instruction (I): Knowledge necessary for participants to carry out the activity.
Individual Practice (P): Degree of opportunity for participants to practice the skill for which activity is designed to enhance.
Practical Application (A): Aspect of activity offering participants opportunity to consider how they will apply learning in the future.
Activity/Instruction Congruence (AI): Degree to which activity reinforces prior instruction.
Emotional Readiness (E): Emotional readiness of participant to reap optimum benefit from the activity.
Certainly, your assessment of each of these variables in entirely subjective. However, thoughtfully considering each one of them will help to assure you've considered the most relevant and important dimensions and will increase the likliness of its success.
Are you having problems with some of the activities you've designed? If so, trying applying the Activograph to see where you need to make adjustments. Please share your learning with me by replying to this email.
This Week's Offer
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