Launch the Learning
This is the third part in a five-part series focused specifically on professional learning facilitators.
Too often, we take all of that excitement and energy we have built up leading up to our professional learning engagement in the way that we have "Primed the Experience" for our learners and we've "Ushered them into the Space" in a way that promotes growth, and then, what do we do, but dump a bunch of logistical information on them - where they can find the restrooms, when we're going to have breaks, where all of the different things are located within our learning space.
Instead, during your launch, I want you to consider ways you can keep that momentum and energy going straight into your learning together. So, the first thing that I want you to do is facilitate an inclusion activity. Ditch the icebreakers. We don't want anyone to feel iced out, and we certainly don't want to break anyone this early in the session. The intention here is to draw your learners in. Make them feel included as a part of the community. So, whether that be sharing out about a prompt that you may have given them in your invitation or the ways in which you were investing them prior to the session, or presenting a neutral activity that makes everyone feel as though they're standing on equal ground, there's an opportunity here to facilitate learning in a way that brings people in and makes them want to stay.
Second, I want to make sure that you are establishing the goals of your session - going back to the session's purpose and also co-creating norms together as a community of learners. What does it mean to show up here for each other? To participate in real and meaningful ways?
Third, I want to make sure that, as much as possible, you are avoiding logistics. If you have a wifi password to share or if you want to make sure there's a clear vision of what the schedule is going to look like, capture all of that information on a single sheet that can sit in the middle of each of the learner's tables so that they have the information they need to feel empowered, but also it's not detracting from the energy that you have worked so hard to build up.
And then, once you're ready, dive right into the learning. Have opportunities to explore and refine practices together, with you there as a facilitator and a guide, in a way that invites others' voices to be heard and amplified in the space as well.
I can't wait to hear about all of the ways that you are "Launching Your Learning" that makes your learners feel included, sets goals and norms, and provides space to explore some of those new strategies and approaches together. Please share with me on social media @thelearningloop so that we can continue growing together.