A learning process consists of the standard elements described in detail in the During section. No matter if it lasts several days, several hours, or only one hour, the working conditions need to be clarified, or learners need to be enabled to involve their qualities, curiosity and expertise.
At several stages of a longer process they also need opportunities to reflect on their questions, or assess their learning. Similarly, at the end of the process a final reflection should take place, now focusing more on the learning outcome, its relevance for their future and on the evaluation of the learning process they were involved in. Finally, learners and facilitators need to describe the learning outcome or competence development.
Five Process Dynamics in a Workshop or Training
Planning a workshop or seminar means taking into account different process dynamics. The learning as an activity is curricular, the group dynamics is evolving, the topical concept is structured, creative thinking requires methodological alternation.
#1 Curricular Nature of Learning
The first is the curricular nature of learning as a circle between experience, reflection and conceptualization, Therefore, a process needs to foresee place for regular experience and regular reflection/assessment. In this picture, the red stripes symbolize regular self-observation and reasoning phases.
#2 Divergence and Convergence
Second, a learning process is oscillating between two opposite ways of thinking. Divergent thinking opens the mind to different impulses - rather open-ended and explorative. Convergent thinking is narrowing our thinking. It's logical and directed toward a conclusion or result. The interplay between divergence and convergence characterizes the whole process and also explains the dynamics in smaller units on a micro-level. One approach to satisfy dimensions is to mix and alternate methodology.
#3 Content Order
Third, the order of the topical aspects of a learning event shapes the process, often in a linear way. The topical string is often the only clearly-described program aspect. For example, in a program schedule this includes key aspects of a day, of a part of a day, or of a unit.
#4 Group Dynamics
Fourth, the group dynamics need to be taken into consideration. In particular, when a group is starting together, the phases of group development claim their space from group formation to storming, then norming toward finding into a performing mode. In order to achieve this, consider the idea of Cooperative Learning, team building measures at the beginning and recognize, that probably higher group performance will be possible during the later steps of a process.
#5 Competence development
At the end the workshop, lecture or longer educational programme should support the participants' acquisition of competences. Check:
- Do the planned elements address the most relevant specific (sub) competences - knowledge, skills, attitudes or values?
- Does this plan empower participants in the sense of supporting self-development and does it offer enough qualitative opportunities to participation and co-creation?