• Allison Rodman

Socially Construct New Approaches

When we talk about "socially constructing new approaches," as a facilitator, we need to take a step back and give our learners the structures, tools, and time necessary for them to lean in. This includes four specific components that I want you to think about, both in your design and your facilitation:


  1. First, we want to give learners an opportunity to collaborate with texts and videos so that they're not just getting the content from us, as a deliverer, but instead are able to make sense of that content together through social construction.

  2. Second, we want to give them time and space to share strategies and examples. As a facilitator, we may share some of our own, but we don't want to dominate the conversation. We want to employ some protocols as well as some structures and, when possible, note-taking tools so that learners are able to gather those ideas from each other, capture them in a space they can use for reference later, and be able to envision what they might look like in their own space.

  3. Third, we want to give some time for learners to apply their learning. Too often, within the course of our professional learning sessions, this element gets relegated to the last five minutes or ends up being a quick share out as we wrap up a session. Instead, we want to carefully design and provide action planning tools that allow learners to move the ideas and the strategies that they capture from thought to action. So that the responsibility for integrating those opportunities, or those strategies, doesn't get stuck in their own schedule after the session, but instead, is carefully integrated into the session itself so that learners are able to take action the very next day.

  4. Finally, the fourth component, as we think about providing space for learners to socially construct new knowledge, is that we want to give just a little bit of time or even more, if we can, towards the end of the session to enable individuals to pause and reflect. Many of the learners in our spaces will not process knowledge through conversations, but instead, learn more intrapersonally and need that time to be able to reflect and think about what all of those new ideas mean for their own individual practice.


I hope this gives you some guidance as you think about ways that you can dedicate both time and space to enable your learners to socially construct new approaches. And I can't wait to hear from you on social media about what this looks like in your professional learning sessions. Please share with me @thelearningloop so that we can continue growing together.