Friday, July 17, 2009

Open Workshops: Seeing What Sticks

The past couple of days have been open workshops.

The setup:

1 classroom, 12 computers.

People can walk in at anytime. The past couple of days - we've been open between 9am and 4pm (though 1 over-enthusiastic content creator met me at the classroom door at 8:10am this morning).

Support team - me (the trainer) + 1 technical person OR 1 content consultant.

How it works:

People bring their work with them and ask questions as needed.

If they want me to hand-hold while they perform a task, I do it.

If there are technical questions that I can't answer, the technical person helps.

Any troubleshooting or reporting of problems can happen right then and there.

Anxious folks become a tad less anxious.

Work gets done.

Everyone is (a little more) happy.

Impact on education:

Actually doing the task is where the real learning comes in - for all parties.

The student gets a chance to find out shortcuts and how to troubleshoot his or her own issues. Learning as needed.

The trainer/instructional designer (me) learns what made sense and stuck and what didn't. She also discovers what could be added and subtracted from subsequent training sessions.

The technical staff learns what works and what doesn't. They also find out what the common technical hiccups are and how to fix them.

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Open workshops are grueling for the support team because there are many demands for your attention - even with two people.

As the "face" of the project, you get the brunt of any bitching feedback. And I will be the first to admit that it is tricky to handle comments on things you and the rest of the team can't "fix." I've had days on previous projects where "It's not personal" has had to be a mantra. This particular project, not so bad. I don't know whether it's because I've had a lot more support than I'm used to from the project team or whether I've finally developed a thicker skin.

Now that the formal "training" portion of the program is over and we are focused on support, I am starting to do the Evaluation portion of the ADDIE cycle. I'll be sitting with the project team on Monday to figure out how best to tackle maintenance training.

This weekend, I have an appointment with my couch to rest my gimpy ankles (developed tendinitis running and jumping rope - I am not built for speed) and overtaxed brain (developed from 7 straight 9 hour business days of classroom work).

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