Session

Session 1 : Personalit & Learning Styles

Personality includes the strong predisposition to behave in preferred ways. Such behaviour includes thinking and learning and is manifested by something often called style. We each have a preferred learning style, which studies show is more strongly influenced by our personality and to a lesser extent by culture. Such styles can determine the effectiveness of how we learn – or ways we prefer to process information and experience new phenomena.

There are many theories or models of learning styles, but most of the more popular ones are consistent in these findings, that our genetically based traits of temperament and drives have a strong influence on how we prefer to think and learn. This session will help us understand more about our personality traits and learning styles which significantly determine how and why we prefer to learn in different ways.

Facilitation Technique: Birds of a Feather

A process whereby people with a special interest in a topic, meet to share their perspectives. They explore the various interests or expertise among themselves, thus affirming and enriching their knowledge of a topic of common interest.

Session 2 : Multiple Intelligences & Learning

Facilitation Technique: Story TellingMost people like stories, as they represent true experience that usually possess some meaningful learning. This approach has richness in its substance and can be varied to suit many situations. Careful choice of both story and the orchestration of how it unfolds are partly in the skill of the facilitator, but can equally be in the magic of the perception of participants. This technique is also powerful as it can involve participants emotionally or rationally or both – again dependent upon the situtation.

When we think and learn – sometimes we are focused narrowly and deeply, or convergently. Other times we see things more broadly, generally and may be multi tasking and more divergent. When we are focused acutely, such as in playing a game of chess or threading a needle, our range of intelligences is equally narrow, but applied intensively. When we are multi-tasking, we usually apply several intelligences. In fact, genius usually requires a great intensity of application within a limited range of intelligences, like maths, music or art etc. Whereas teaching, negotiating a business deal or driving around and showing a friend the beauty of the countryside, requires the interplay between many intelligences.

Facilitation Technique: Story Telling

Most people like stories, as they represent true experience that usually possess some meaningful learning. This approach has richness in its substance and can be varied to suit many situations. Careful choice of both story and the orchestration of how it unfolds are partly in the skill of the facilitator, but can equally be in the magic of the perception of participants. This technique is also powerful as it can involve participants emotionally or rationally or both – again dependent upon the situtation.

Session 3 : Whole-Brain & Accelerative Learning

This approach helps learners understand their brain and where different learning takes place, such as in the left or right cerebral cortices, or in the left or right limbic system (Emotional brain). Learners discover their natural cognitive and emotional styles and link them to the multiple intelligences model. A range of accelerative learning techniques is facilitated, primarily to enhance the understanding of the learning and promote a better and faster recall of learning. By also using multi-sensory stimuli, more intelligences can be used. This utilizes more of the brain. Integration of several parts of the brain through music, educational kinesiology and several other techniques can enhance understanding and recall, which are the core components of learning.

Facilitation Technique: Open Space Technology

This is a fast, inexpensive and simple way to improve meetings or enhance organizational change. The process starts with the whole group seated in a circle. Each group member raises an issue that they are both passionate about and willing to take responsibility for. These are posted up and members sign up for those that interest them. These are discussed, reported on and then prioritized. The ‘hottest’ issues are identified as action goals.

Session 4 : Cultural Influences in Learning

Human development occurs in a context which may be more or less multi cultural. We may even move from culture to culture. No matter which, we receive a cultural programming and ‘absorb’ many cultural ways of thinking, learning and behaving – often at a subconscious level, so initially being unaware of certain beliefs and practices. Culture can be likened to the ‘water in which the fish swims’. We take it for granted until we are removed from it! It becomes a comfort zone.

The challenge is appreciating which cultural values and norms enhance or inhibit our learning. Equally we must know also our own unique personality and learning styles and how to capitalize or blend in with the cultural context in which we are learning. This session will explore how the power of culture can dominate or overshadow us and sometimes blind us from who we truly are or want to be. The session will also attempt to agree on some learning strategies that may work.

Facilitation Technique: World Café Approach

Comprises multiple small groups of 6 to 9 people who each meet to discuss an issue or a challenge. Each group meets for 20 – 30 minutes and then rotates to another table. One group member (‘the host’) remains behind to welcome the next group. They give a brief summary of the preceding ‘conversation’ to the newcomers, who in turn add some new perspectives to the topic. After each group has visited other tables, the table host will share the composite of learnings with the entire group. It is particularly useful when you want everyone to contribute.

Session 5 : Blended Learning

‘Blended’ learning is the combination of several different delivery modes, which may include E-Learning/Web Based learning, use of the CD Rom with a mix of various event based activities. These can include face-to-face, classroom or one to one coaching, with experiential and reflective learning. There is no magic formula but Motorola University found that learning effectiveness decreased when the ratio of self-paced e-Learning to group interactive learning exceeded 40%. The American Society and Training and Development (ASTD) and US National Institute for Instructional Technology (NIIT) have categorized blended learning into three models:

  • Skill-driven learning - which combines self-directed learning with facilitator support, to develop knowledge based skills.
  • Attitude-driven learning- which mixes reflection on experience guided by a facilitator towards new or changed attitudes towards behaviour.
  • Competency-driven learning - which blends the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for improved work performance.

Each of these three models incorporates a range of techniques which the facilitator helps ‘blend’ to increase the effectiveness of learning.

Facilitation Technique: ORID

This method can be used to help people clarify their thinking. It uses four levels of thinking: ‘O’ is for objective where the group balance external reality with internal sensing. ‘R’ is for Reflection where the group members internalize the significance of the objective. ‘I’ is for Interpretation where the group explores the challenges more deeply. And ‘D’ is for Decision Making and Actions. While it is a simple formula, there is power in this simplicity and its logic, especially for the ease of recall by group participants.

Session 6 : Health and Learning

There is an old saying, “A healthy body leads to a healthy mind.” And the mind is in the brain. So maybe we can create another quote, “A healthy brain leads to a healthy mind.” One question that is important to answer, however is, what health is? Webster’s dictionary defines it as “having a sound and vigorous body and mind; “being mentally healthy”; “the absence of illness.” Another question to be entertained is, how we can maintain a healthy brain and sustain this until we ‘leave’ this planet? This session will explore the many ways we can answer this and importantly, if there is a strong correlation between brain health and learning. For example, Prof Stephen Hawkins, the brilliant physicist obviously has a brilliant mind but his body is totally paralyzed. Therefore, while we hear about the importance of Aerobics or Brain Gym, what really is the secret behind a healthy brain and learning, especially if there is no body that needs exercise!

Facilitation Technique: Share A Method

As the title suggests, people come together to each share one or more methods. These methods are usually related to small or large group facilitations but may be related to solving a problem or planning a project. If for example, 7 people each share 7 methods, a large repertoire of methods are quickly gathered. Usually group members will bring one or two page summary of each method in hard copy.

Session 7 : Action/Experiential Learning

The Chinese character for the word learning has two parts – first, it is to study and gain knowledge, and the second part is to practice daily. The impact of ‘doing’ is integral to learning and thinking, which may be particularly suited for managers and busy entrepreneurs. While action learning has a proven track record, it seems not to have been taken up as a popular approach. Perhaps some of the reasons why this is so can be explored during this session.

Facilitation Technique: Appreciative Enquiry

It examines the history and stories of people, groups or organizations with a positive perspective. It enables groups to focus on positive elements and influences in order to develop positive plans, goals or visions for the future. It is a facilitation technology that excites and energises people toward a success orientation and outcome. It is particularly useful in change management.