Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The Subtle Practice of Noticing our Learning

Last week I ran a short workshop on facilitation for 8 people within our organization. Four days after the workshop, to follow up with them and tap in on their learning, I sent an email with three questions:

1. Have you noticed anything in your work that we talked about in the workshop (that you might not have noticed before)?

2. Have you done anything different or differently based on something you heard or learned at the workshop?

3. If you were going to conduct the workshop, or if we were going to do it again, what is one thing you would change?

I was very surprised that one person wrote back saying that she had not noticed anything new after our workshop. As a facilitator, what an opportunity this response provided me for reflection!

How could this response give me some new insights about learning? How could I redesign the workshop so that I get a different response to this question in the future? What could I do differently? I thought of three things:

1) I could find out more about people's experience with facilitation prior to the workshop (I asked them this in the first 15 minutes of our session). Then I could make sure that there is something new in there for everyone. This still might not help them see something new in the few days after our session if they do not find themself in a "facilitated" context.
2) Perhaps I could wait longer to ask this question, or ask it several times. So that people have more time to link what we talked about over to real situations.
3) Or I could ask a different question: I could embed the notion that participants will notice something by asking, "What is one new thing you have noticed in your work that we talked about during the workshop?" Then they can actively look for an example, and by looking they will probably find one, perhaps more, and create a longer learning process for themselves and potentially more value from their participation.

Maybe with all the "noise" going on around us, we just don't notice these small learning moments sometimes? Noticing them definitely takes practice...