What’s a Workshop?
The Workshop Project is a great group or individual project for any course. A workshop is usually a short and specific learning experience for a small group of people lead by an expert on a particular topic. Workshops have specific learning goals and should be a “hands on” experience for the participants. Ideally, each workshop participant should leave being able to do something new that they couldn’t do before the Workshop started. Participants should also be given resources to take their learning to the next step.
A workshop would typically follow this format:
1. Welcome in Introduction
o Introduce yourselves and get everyone’s name (No shame in Name Tags)
o Outline the learning goals
o Go over the plan for the time (including breaks if it’s more than 1 Hour)
o Possibly include a short inspirational/funny video
o Show the participant what they are trying to learn
o Don’t show off too much, just enough to make the participants say “wow, I want to do that too”.
o Teach the participants the skill*.
o You should have some sort of written instructions to guide them that they can access after the workshop
o Consider breaking the skill up into small steps with time to practice in between instructions
o Give the participants time to practice the skill while you are there to help them
o Be ready with extra challenges in case some participants can already do what you planned.
o Be ready with an easier activity in case your plan ends up being too difficult for the participants
5. Wrap Up and Next Steps
o Go over the learning goals
o Offer any final tips or pitfalls to watch for
o Give the participants resources to further their study
o Get feedback from the participants
*Teaching someone a skill can be tricky business, there are many different strategies to consider and some will be more appropriate than others depending on your topic and your audience. Here are some ideas you could use:
Direct Instruction- You talk, they listen. Probably the least effective strategy, but it can work.
Guided Practice- Break up the skill into a series of smaller steps and walk the participants through the steps one at a time. Ideally with an few other experts around to help when someone gets stuck.
Discovery- Create activities that allow the participants to develop or discover the skill for themselves. This leads to deeper, longer lasting learning but is less predictable and might lead to time issues.
A good workshop probably will use a combination of all three of these.
Design a workshop that will teach a group of participants a specific skill. Run the workshop at least 2 times with two different sets of participants so that you can improve it.
Stage 1: Teach Yourself
Spend some time practicing what you will be trying to teach. Think about how you learned the skill and how you might teach the skill to someone else. Make notes about pitfalls or things to avoid as you go.
Stage 2: Planning
· Establish a specific learning goal that describes what the participants will lean to do.
· Get to know your participants. Will they be kids? Teachers? Parents?
· How many participants can you handle?
· What will you do to teach the participants the skill? Test your plan on some students or family members to see if it will work.
· Put together an agenda for the time.
· Will you need money?
Once your plan is complete, make sure to go over it with your teacher
Stage 3: Create the Workshop
· Generate any resources you will need. Make sure to test all your ideas as you go.
· Create and send out invitations.
· Book a space to run your workshop in.
Stage 4: Game Day
· Arrive early and test all equipment.
· Greet participants as they arrive.
· Work through your plan
· Make sure your behavior is professional and engaging
Stage 5: Reflection
· Think back on what went well and what could be improved. Before you are too hard on yourself, remember there are lots of factors that are out of your control. It could be the next time you run the workshop circumstances could be totally different. (For example, a computer glitch or a fire drill can completely railroad your plan)
· Complete the project reflection for your course (or the one below)
Design and Planning
1. You have clearly established learning goals for your activity written in appropriate language for the age of your participants.
2. All aspects of your workshop are centered around the learning goal. (Invitations, decorations, layout of the space…)
3. You personally have been an active member in group discussions around the schedule, the budget and other planning.
4. Everything is ready to go and tested before the workshop.
5. All aspects of your group’s activity help to reinforce the learning goals.
6. You welcome your participants as they arrive and get their names.
7. Your language and behavior remains professional.
8. Participants come away with feeling that they have met you learning goals.
9. You have participated whole heatedly in all activities of the day from set up to clean up.
10. Your project reflection is complete and shows that you have a good understanding of what went well and how to improve for next time.
Meet the SC for 85%, to exceed the SC you can:
· Go out of your way to make participants feel welcome and comfortable.
· Have contingency plans in place for when things go wrong.
· Create an exceptionally creative or original activity.
· Present your workshop outside of the school.
Create a documentary video about the project that includes both planning footage and footage from the day. Something like The White Rabbit Project. Get a friend to take videos and pictures while you present the workshop.
Answer these questions (about 50 words each, pictures and diagrams are welcome)
1. What was the primary goal of your workshop? What was the main activity or strategy you used to meet your goal? (How did you teach the skill or idea?)
2. Do you think your workshop was successful?
3. What did you learn about teamwork and collaboration? Or if you worked alone, how did you make sure that participants had enough support?
4. What was something good that happened that you didn’t plan?
5. What advice would you give the next group/person running this workshop?