Scenario: Cohort of online facilitators seeking to integrate Liberating Structures activities into their learning delivery with the goal of better meeting learner needs and increasing learner engagement.
- Introduce approaches to online facilitation of LS activities via an online experiential course
- Acknowledge and address participant concerns about applying an LS approach in their online facilitation
- Have participants prepare for possible consequences emerging from their online facilitation of LS activities
- Drawing Together
- Using Padlet -- in groups of 3 -- participants draw their individual response to the question: What is your biggest fear about facilitating an LS activity online?
- Using a Troika approach -- participants group into successive 2s and consult to interpret the drawing of the 1 -- consultations take the form of comments under each drawing in the Padlet
- Each triad reports back to whole group in the course LMS -- acting out the fears interpreted in the form of an improv discussion forum thread
- Critical Uncertainties
- Using the text tool in red font on a whiteboard in a Collaborate web conference -- participants make a list of uncertainties in response to the question: What factors are impossible to predict or control their direction as you facilitate LS activities online?
- Using the text tool to change to blue font some list items -- participants prioritize the most critical factors in response to the question: Which factors threaten your ability to facilitate successfully?
- By circling two blue items -- participants select the two most critical and most uncertain items
- Facilitator takes a screenshot of the whiteboard to save as an artifact and then opens a clean whiteboard -- facilitator draws grid on whiteboard with more of/less of X and Y axes -- one with the most critical item and the other with the most uncertain item
- Participants divide into 4 small groups -- each group takes one quadrant of the grid -- groups are sent into 4 breakout rooms
- In the breakout rooms -- each group writes a thumbnail scenario for their quadrant and brainstorms 3 strategies that would help the group operate in that scenario
- Facilitator takes screenshot of each group's whiteboard to save as artifacts
- All groups meet back in the main room -- report on their scenarios and strategies to the whole group
- Whole group sifts results to identify robust/hedging strategies
- Facilitator uploads all artifacts to LMS
- Min Specs
- Using a Wiki in an LMS -- participants make a list of all the do’s and
don’ts to pay attention to in order to successfully facilitate an LS activity online
- While screen-sharing the Wiki page In a Collaborate web conference -- participants sift through the list one item at a time and strike-through every rule that gets a positive answer to the question: If we broke or ignored this rule, could we still successfully facilitate an online LS Activity?
- Participants reduce list to the absolute minimum needed to successfully facilitate an LS activity online
Notes: the activities above:
- would constitute part of a course on facilitating LS activities online
- would take three separate sessions to complete
- are conceived of as building on each other sequentially -- i.e. the thinking and outputs generated in Activity 1 would constitute the inputs to Activity 2, etc.
Here are my thoughts on Asif's LS activity, and in particular his LS invitation.
Asif's activity is to introduce and encourage the use of LS activities by facilitators of online courses in an experiential course, and he lists up some excellent ideas for the course content for the class to try. I understand LS invitation is to evaluate the effectiveness of the LS activities presented during the online classes. This part is not clear to me. I feel the question could be expanded to include some personal feedback.
How can LS activities be facilitated in online environments? ==> What experiences have you had or observed during the course that you feel enhances engagement with the cohorts, and which do not?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts to my feedback and your viewpoints as well,
The way I understood Asif's LS design is that a cohort of online facilitators intends to use LS activities into their learning delivery with the end in view of meeting learner needs and increase learner engagement.
The purpose of this design is three-fold: (1) to introduce approaches to online facilitation; (2) acknowledge and address participant concerns about LS approaches; and (3) provide participants an opportunity to prepare for possible consequences emerging from their online facilitation of LS activities.
Asif also outlined 3 LS activities that he intends to use, namely: (1) Drawing Together; (2) Critical Uncertainties; and (3) Min Specs, including detailed steps how to implement these 3 LS activities.
I particularly liked the fact that Asif proposed to use different technology tools (ie.g., Padlet) and other Learning Management Systems (LMS) features (e.g., Wiki) to execute his LS activities. These will provide participants an opportunity to play around and use other tools, technology, and techniques in their facilitation skills, thereby increasing learner engagement.
There seems to be a disconnect, however, between Asif's steps and the invitation question that he posed: "How can Liberating Structures activities be facilitated in online environments? ". The invitation question is being answered already in the LS steps that he outlined. I understand where your comment is coming from and I share the same view. Asif may want to "tighten" the invitation question to make clearer for the cohort of online facilitators to have a clearer understanding of they are about to do.
Thanks, Doug, and I look forward to your views on this.
Hello Rey and Doug -- I really appreciate you taking the time to look through my ideas and providing your feedback.
You've both noted a disconnect between my invitation and the LS activities themselves -- accurately highlighting my own uncertainty about what an 'invitation' is and what it is meant to do.
After reading your responses I took some time to look through the invitations proposed in other triads -- my reading of those is that the invitation is akin to the 'learning outcome' in a traditional activity -- it prepares the participant for the experience by identifying the purpose/expected result of what they are about to do.
I think that part of my confusion derives from the fact that I have proposed a course rather than a single LS activity -- which I guess means that I should really have at least three invitations: one for each LS activity in the course.
I also took a look at the blurb at the top of this (Design with Liberating Structures) microcourse -- and my reading of this is that it serves as an 'invitation' at the course level. Using that as a model, below is a 'tightened up' version of my (course-level) invitation:
You're familiar with Liberating Structures as activities that can help unlock participant engagement, focus and creativity in your group facilitation. But you're unsure how Liberating Structures can work in online environments. Come explore and experiment in this online course where you can work through some of the challenges of and strategies for facilitating LS activities online.
As an added note -- a bit of personal learning that I take away from your feedback is a deeper look at my tendency to get excited about developing (learning) activities without devoting enough thought to the best way of engaging participants in those -- which in a way runs counter to the philosophy of LS (as I read it). I wonder if there's an LS activity or two that could help me strengthen that weakness.
Thanks again for your views -- I found both of your responses very helpful.
Asif, mind if I take this question about invitations of yours to the Open Forum? There is probably a lot to discuss here today that other people might be wondering about too. Or please take it there yourself, which would be an even better option if you have time. If you're interested, that is! I see the invitation as more of a question prompt than a learning outcome...
Thanks Beth for jumping in -- 'question prompt' adds another wrinkle and leads me to conclude that I haven't quite figured this out yet.
I've taken the question to the open forum as you suggest -- great idea rather than struggling on my own -- looking forward to seeing what others think.
Yes, you've understood my comment well. I also like how that Asif integrated 3x LS and proposed using different technologies. It is great to see this level of engagement with online facilitators.
One of the most valuable lessons I learned from this study session is that the success in the value of the feedback rests with the clarity of the invitation question. I also feel by "tightening" up the invitation question, Asif will receive some very exciting feedback!
Thank you for sharing your thoughts as well,