Thursday 26 November 2020

Continuing adventures online

 I have reported my journey with regard to online development workshops previously on this blog; a journey from scepticism to enthusiasm. But now I am beset by doubts.

My doubts are not about the efficacy or practicality of the medium. I remain convinced that online workshops that are well-designed and well-run can be very effective, and very efficient, too.

No, my doubts are much more personal. It was brought home to me this week, when I was delivering a second Time Management workshop. Both workshops went well: participants had engaged in the 6 pre-call modules and came willing and able to discuss the ideas raised, their own practice and so on, and to develop plans to work on improving their time management. All well and good.

However, I was reflecting on how different the experience was. In particular, the pre-call modules (which I made available as videos, podcasts and written material, so that participants could choose how to engage with them) were stripped of most of the anecdotes, humour and little interactive elements that feature when I run the workshop face-to-face. I think that is the right thing to do, because I think those things would not translate well into the new media. But, and this is where my doubts come in, I also think that it is those things that distinguish my approach from that of many others.

I believe that one of my skills as a facilitator, and possibly my most valuable one, is the ability to create a safe and engaging learning environment in the room; I can pace the presentation, the telling of an anecdote, the use of small interactive elements, and so forth in a way that engages people and that they find helpful and memorable. 

So my fear is that, moving my work into the online space, stripped back to a series of quick and clear modules of learning, may make it indistinguishable from any other competent trainer.

Perhaps the universe is telling me something and that my future lies in coaching and coaching supervision, and specialist facilitation; and the days of running standard workshops is behind me. Or perhaps good enough workshops are good enough.

I think I'll wait for the feedback forms to start rolling in, and see what the participants have to say about my efforts.


With thanks to  Christin HumeNathan Ansell and Joshua Ness for sharing their photography on Unsplash

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