I was falling into the trap again. I agreed on the pattern ‘input followed by conversation’ because of the promise the input (about 45’) would be conversational. It wasn’t, at least not in my understanding. It would have been with little buzz groups engaging the audience. But asking questions is not doing the job.
I promised myself to be more ‘stubborn’ next time I facilitate a learning event. Either the input is short or conversational or we do it the flipped way.
In the teacher trance, we all become attached to explanation and answers, and the surprise of discovery becomes a threat. But discovery is what really imprints learning.
Let’s flip the pattern:
The flipped way brings participants’ stories and questions to the table first: What they know about the topic; what they experience; what they find challenging. In a first conversation the audience formulates jointly a few key questions to the speaker.
The speaker – expert, keynote speaker – is listening first. As resource person she or he is responding to questions and thoughts from the audience. Through this flipped setting the resource person gains a sense of who is sitting in the room and can give her/ his ideas and messages (if necessary) a final turn to really match the participants’ aspirations.
The preparation of the workshop’s invitation starts with a clear understanding of what participants bring to the table in terms of experiences and challenges. By reaching out to the participants before the workshop the organizer gains a clearer picture about their expertise, needs and questions. It’s a task of matching/ shaping the organisers intention with participants’ expertise and needs with the resource person’s potentials.
It is long before participants entering the room that I do my job by advising the organizers to design the most stimulating and engaging workshop. As facilitator it is my task to connect participants and to open the space for meaningful conversations.
It is through conversation that knowledge flows directly from person to person, learning takes place, insights are gleaned, connections are made and relationships are built.
I really want to see and facilitate more flipped inputs. What’s your experience?
- Design for successful learning events – three essentials
- Space for conversation needs preparation
- The power of the chairs, or how seating influences conversation
- A workshop is more than talking