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March 10, 2008

Workshop Take-aways

After a bit of a hiatus (in other words, having a baby), I gave a half-day workshop at Cornell University Library on Friday. Here is a list of individuals' workshop take-aways that many of them gave me at the end of the session:

Needs Assessment

- Take 1-2 stakeholders to lunch to get feedback on course
- Have a conversation with faculty
- Find the right questions
- Ask why the students want to attend the workshop
- What is desired outcome? This is workshop title or description
- Frame as deliverables
- Engage client
- Refine the interview, process with faculty
- Ask “Why? What’s the point??
- Get from the client what/how does success look like.
- Concept of “delivering? on x, y, z outcomes - you’re giving the client something

Brainstorming Content
- Group brings ideas and their points of view
- Make this a group activity
- Great way to cover everything. I missed a lot on my own
- Not to analyze, just say it
- I like brainstorming in a circle (taking turns). Seems to prompt responses
- Work with co-workers to discuss. Can this be done with faculty? [Answer: Yes, if they know the content fairly well.]
- Be open to all ideas! Facilitate process.

Filtering Content
- Don’t overpack the session with information
- Look at what I plan to present and divide by need-to-know and nice-to-know
- Importance of limiting/focusing on goal -what I can deliver.
- Focus on need-to-know because nice-to-know will probably fall by the wayside
- Get to what’s important
- Be strict. More B’s (nice-to-knows) than A’s (need-to-knows)
- Breaking topics into different categories
- Focus on need-to-know, not nice-to-know
- Be ruthless with A’s and B’s
- Classify and eliminate
- Space facilitated discussion (from the brainstorming) to avoid anger over Boolean cut (as an example)

Task Analysis
- Delineating steps focuses us to ask whether the students have the necessary background knowledge
- Look at my existing exercises and break down tasks more; have a student do them beforehand to test
- It’s hard to figure out what your actual goal is
- Painful process to figure out what the learner has to do to be successful
- Change level of task based on what learner already knows
- Have realistic expectations, actions, and steps
- Try to imagine 3 modules per 50 minute class

Others
- Emphasis on moving from lecture to users teaching each other
- Design content for pre-class and post-class handouts/worksheets/web pages
- Content presentation can be done by students
- Give handouts with gaps. Reveal answers later (mystery!).
- Learners can present content
- Renewed enthusiasm for integrating information competency into curriculum
- Awareness of the need to discuss this more within the system as a whole and the need to advocate for a change in the model system-wide

Obviously there are many steps we didn't cover in a half-day session. I focused on some of the most difficult steps which often can have the biggest impact on the final library workshop design.