"The means is dialogue, the end is learning, the purpose is peace." ~ Founder Dr. Jane Vella

Blog

Quick Checklist of 5 Tips for Engaging Webinars

Comments

What do you do when you have 50 minutes to teach a topic and your only access to the learners is a chat box?  Before you press send on your slide deck, check out this quick checklist that might spark a little extra engagement for the participants of your next webinar.  If you want a more thorough look at a learning-centered approach for developing a webinar, check out this post from Dwayne Hodgson Certified Dialogue Education Teacher.

1.  There are engagement activities scheduled before, during and after the webinar.

A participant packet sent out ahead of time can include a pre-webinar reflection on the topic, space for writing during the webinar, and a post-webinar suggested activity such as planning to talk to a colleague about what was learned.

Tip: Remind participants at the beginning of the webinar to print the packet and write on it if they haven’t already.

2.  Your webinar agenda slide lists what the participants will do during the webinar.

It is sometimes easier (or a habit) to start with a list of the items you want to cover. Writing down what you want people to do after the webinar can help you decide what they will need to do during it.  It can also help you eliminate unnecessary content when you have a short time with busy people.

Example webinar goal: Participants will use a new resource guide during the month following the webinar.

Agenda:  During this hour, you will

  • Examine how the guide can help you in your daily work
  • Discover how each resource in the guide can aid your daily process
  • Take a first step in improving your daily process

3.  Engagement activities help learners connect with what they already know about the topic, introduce new content, and apply it to their situation. 

The Global Learning Partners 4-A model (Anchor, Add, Apply, Away) is a foolproof tool for learning that lasts.

Examples: 

  • Share in the chat box. What good practices do you already do that have the most impact on improving your daily process? (prior knowledge)
  • Answer the webinar poll on your screen: Which of the tools in the guide are you most interested in learning about. (new content)
  • Share in the Q&A Box.  What is a next step that would have the most impact for your work in improving your daily process? (action or next step)

4.  Your slide deck includes graphs and limited text in plain language.

The adage “Less is more” was never truer than for webinar slides.  A quick search of “death by PowerPoint” can yield some good ideas on getting your message across with the least amount of text or with graphics.  Just keep going through your slides and striking out unnecessary words. Speak conversationally to your audience using “you” (see examples in #3 above).

Tip:  More in-depth content can be shared in a separate document; your webinar platform may be able to have it right there ready to download.

5.  Your reflection questions or engagement questions use powerful or appreciative open questions for critical thinking and deeper connection.

Appreciative inquiry deliberately asks positive questions to ignite constructive dialogue and inspired action. Small tweaks can add an appreciative approach to your engagement questions.   You may need to leave a few extra seconds of quiet time for participants to think before moving forward.

Example: 

Open question:  Share in the chat box:  What do you already do to improve your daily process?

Appreciative open question: Share in the chat box.  What good practices do you already have that make the most impact on improving your daily process?

You can learn more about a learning-centered approach in your online learning activities in Global Learning Partners courses and our extensive collection of blog posts from our international network of practitioners, teachers and other experts in similar fields.

 

Rachel Nicolosi is a member of the GLP core consulting team and recently completed several client projects which required webinars to spread good ideas within a state and across several states looking to adopt best practices and learn from each other.  She says that having a practitioner on the webinar who has had experience using the content being shared is one of the best options for getting participants what they need to know to help them take the next step in applying the content.

Leave Comments

Active Learning Held in High Esteem at One of Nation’s Top Medical Colleges

Comments

The University of Vermont College of Medicine set a goal to fully embrace “active learning” by the year 2019 – and they are succeeding!

When the College received a generous alumni gift, they wanted to make sure to invest it in the most impactful ways. Their research showed that, in order to become the best medical school in the nation, they would need to replace their traditional teacher-centered approach with an evidence-based learning-centered approach. They are now a model for engaged, active learning. You can see it in their curricula, their space, and their overall culture of teaching.

Visit this site to take a closer look at HOW the College of Medicine is undergoing a transformation. Here you’ll find 1) a description of active learning; 2) reasons WHY the school is committed to it; 3) WHAT methods are replacing lectures; and 4) a video on the learning environment. As one of the nation’s oldest medical schools, facilities were built for a much more “teacher-centered” approach – but this video illustrates how they repurposed space and used technology to be more student and learning-centered. This is awesome!

We also recommend taking a moment to enjoy this short NPR Interview  with Dr. William Jeffries, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education at the Robert Larner M.D. College of Medicine at the University of Vermont.  In the interview, Dr. Jeffries reflects on his own realization that lectures were not the best teaching approach. He offers a beautiful example of how to teach pharmacokinetics using this new approach, while acknowledging that the principles of active learning apply to all topics taught in the medical school.

“We’re finding out a lot from the neuroscience of learning that the brain needs to accumulate the information but then also organize it and create an internal story that makes the knowledge make sense. When you just tell somebody something, the chances of them remembering it diminishes over time. But, when you are required to use that information you are likely to remember it much better.” 

For more insights into the benefits of active learning on learners, teachers and community, contact Dr. Jeffries: (william.b.jeffries@med.uvm.edu). To discover more about what a learning-centered approach might look like in your organization, sign up for a Global Learning Partners course or some one-on-one coaching with a member of our core consulting team.

 

What does UVM’s experience say about how to elevate active learning in your setting?

* * * * *

Val Uccellani crafted this short blog. Val is a co-owner of GLP, Inc., a member of the Board, and a Senior Partner, as well as coordinator of GLP’s consulting services and certified practitioner network. Needless to say, she’s thrilled to discover places like UVM that are paving the way for a revolution in learning!

Leave Comments

Thinking Forward Together: Helping Organizations SOAR!

Comments

Why do 60 to 80 percent of organizational change efforts fail?[1] Most fail because they do not engage those most impacted by the change and therefore do not generate the energy needed to create the change desired. The practice of Appreciative Inquiry encourages us to: “Imagine an organization where there is a shared vision, and everyone helped create the plan to move towards that vision.”

Global Learning Partners Certified Dialogue Education Teacher (CDET), Jay Ekleberry, has guided numerous organizations through a powerful, Appreciative Inquiry-based SOAR (Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations, Results) process. Through this process, an organization employs a variety of methods and connects with as many stakeholders as possible to:

  • identify current strengths,
  • name ways to build on those strengths, and
  • co-author, with its community, how those strengths and opportunities inform what the organization should aspire to be.

The shared accountability and commitment created during the process provides the energy needed for the change effort to have impact after the process.​

This dialogue-based process has been proven successful across a wide range of both for-profit as well as social-benefit organizations, large and small. One inspiring case study of the Thinking Forward Together process comes from the Wisconsin Union. Through the process, the Union worked closely with the broader community to define a strengths-based vision for their future and create results measures that they renew annually.

Recently, The River Food Pantry completed a SOAR process that included development of new succinct statement of their Mission (what we do), Vision (what we reach for), and Values (what motivates us). Using an appreciative and inclusive approach, the team named aspirations and goals for each aspect of their priority work together.

Data now confirms what we knew intuitively: positive emotions resulting from a focus on strengths can promote an upward spiral toward optimal individual and organizational performance.[1]

There are a variety of ways to engage in the SOAR action research process, from a one-day summit to an extended, multi-month data gathering effort. Each organization needs to decide for itself what will work best given its context.

Two things that make the SOAR process work for any organization are:

  1. Scalability- Appreciative Inquiry, and the SOAR process, have proven to be scalable to any size organization, having been successfully applied to small staff local community programs up to immense human systems like the US Navy and the Canadian national healthcare system.
  2. Approach- Every SOAR process should be customized for the human system using it – this is not a one-model-fits-all process. One of the axioms of Appreciative Inquiry is “as many people at the table as possible.” SOAR is best accomplished when an organization commits to learning the principles of the process and conducts the inquiry while creating a variety of engagement methods throughout the process. 

 

Who do you know that can benefit from this sort of process?

* * * * *

Jay Ekleberry has been a Certified Dialogue Education Teacher (CDET) with GLP for many years. Recently, Jay completed his tenure at University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he guided the Division of Social Education’s organizational development processes, assisted in student leadership training and directed a variety of non-credit programs. He is the co-creator of a two-day course “Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry” that he has facilitated for many groups over the last decade. The course (of course!) is grounded in principles and practices of dialogue-based learning as taught by GLP.

For more insights into guiding such an approach in your organization, or to inquire about support for that process from Jay, email him at jay.ekleberry@wisc.edu .

[1] Journal of Change Management, 12/2011, Volume 11.4

Leave Comments

Creating the System: We Make the Road by Walking

Comments

I have the honor of working with Matthew Norman from Barcelona, Spain – a colleague and Certified Dialogue Education Practitioner (CDEP). He is teaching pastors in his church community how to use Dialogue Education in designing and delivering sermons. This is important work! Part of the content for the course is about the system we call Dialogue Education:

I suggested as part of the LNRA, that Matthew invite the pastors in his course to name and describe the best sermon they ever gave and to identify the things they did to make that sermon work so well. These factors from their experience could then be added to the content of Matthew’s course.

I have often said context is content: What these pastors bring to learning the elements of Dialogue Education from their wide experience of preaching is vital! I see that each time we teach a course using Dialogue Education we create the system by using it in a new context. Learning tasks are then custom-designed for each particular group of people, in their unique situation. That’s why we need to do a solid learning needs and resources assessment: to discover WHO needs WHAT and WHY. That is the context: the content we must learn thoroughly before we design and teach!

What an immense responsibility we carry into every classroom or workshop setting – we make the road by walking. Dialogue Education is an emerging system, evolving under our hands as we design and teach in new contexts. Please share your stories and indicators of learning, transfer and impact – we need to celebrate and learn, together.

I take immense delight in receiving learning designs, challenges, questions and celebrations. Thank you to all those who have been emailing me over the years! I continue to be here for all practitioners at janekvella@gmail.com, and offer my time to you with great joy!

 

What question do you have for Jane?

*****

Dr. Jane Vella is a celebrated author, educator and founder of Global Learning Partners. 

Leave Comments

Getting People Talking When Working in Rural Africa

Comments

Every teaching or meeting situation is unique and offers its own challenges. I work in rural Africa and have found the follow seven tools especially helpful for engaging community members.

  1. Use appreciative inquiry. In every community some things have worked well. It is therefore important for facilitators to appreciate and build on what is already working. In this way people are encouraged and feel ownership of the new initiative. People will talk about what is working and feel pride in it – start there. Resistance will be minimized, and next steps may be relatively easy to imagine.
  2. Agree on pre-set rules or a set the standards. Before any community meeting, facilitate a conversation about meeting rules or agreed protocol. For instance, begin by informing the group that “no answer is wrong, and no question is stupid.” Rules may include “no walking around during the meeting, no phone calls and no mini-meeting during the training.” The most important thing is that the rules come from your participants and are agreed to by everyone. Checking in on these rules from time-to-time can help keep them top-of-mind – one good time for this is at the start of each day in a multi-day event.  
  3. Manage the power in the group. Your ability to manage those with power or privilege in the community is crucial to the success and participation of others – some of these may include the chief, unit committee member, the rich, and men. Your event stands to risk being high-jacked by the most vocal or privileged unless you have strategies for equalizing this power. Some ways to do this are: solo work, pair work, small group work, and inviting in specific voices at specific times i.e. “Let’s start by hearing from those who live past the hospital, and then we will hear from a few people on the other side of the river.”
  4. Use energizers. People come to meetings and events with many things on their mind and with different levels of energy. Make use of energizers to keep participants active and engaged. They should be purposeful and easy to execute. However, sometimes it is helpful just to have some fun and be a little less focused on the goals of the day. Learning takes energy, so monitor it carefully.
  5. Schedule events at participants’ convenience. Meetings should be scheduled at the preferred time of the community members, especially to suit women to encourage their participation. As much as possible, market days should be avoided since most women go to the market daily. If market days are selected as the best time to meet, keep the discussion short and focused. It is better to have a successful 1-hour meeting than to have a half-day session with little participation.
  6. Share real-life stories. There is no better way to get people talking than through story. Invite them to share a personal story with a partner, to share through a proverb, or to create a song with a small group. Stories are powerful tools for learning and can take many forms.
  7. Ensure safety. If the community members don’t feel safe they will not want to share much with those at the event. Greet them as they arrive, check in with them often, ensure they know why they are invited and their input is of value, and engage them in meaningful ways.  

 

What tips or tools can you add to this list?

 

Augustine N-Yokuni (an-yokuni@canadianfeedthechildren.ca) is Ghana Program Manager of Canadian Feed the Children, based in Ghana.

Leave Comments

Page 1 of 52 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›