Workshop Outline: Facilitator’s Notes

1. Introductions and workshop overview. (5 minutes)

Icebreaker: If you could invent a technology, what would it be? What would you say to people who were afraid to use it?

The facilitator will note that with computer and information technologies (ICTs), the inventors probably were not thinking or focused on the negative effects, yet so many users express hesitation and anxiety towards it. In having ownership over a technology idea, participants will be able to consider the effects of technology on society from another perspective–that of creator versus user–which will lead to a discussion of technology concerns.

Points to make:

  • We are all technology experts in some way, although during the workshop it should be acknowledged if someone is not comfortable or confident in using a specific technology.
  • Participants will be able to address community and technology needs. The focus of the workshop will be on developing a communication-focused plan utilizing currently used or new technologies rather than on learning how to use various technologies.
  • I am present to facilitate dialogue and brainstorming. The workshop participants know the inner workings of the organization, making them the experts.
  • It is completely acceptable and perhaps more beneficial to view determined solutions as results of trial and error.

2. Participants will work on a handout independently to assist in relaying their needs and concerns, determining the causes of concerns, and listing solutions that they have tried or would like to try. (15 minutes)

Questions on the handout must address issues of both communication and technology. They may include:

  • Who are some people either within or outside of the organization that you would like to find more effective ways to communicate with? What is the purpose of the communication?
  • In what ways do you currently use technology to communicate with those within and outside of your organization? What is working?
  • What are some challenges that have negatively affected communication? How have you tried to overcome these challenges? What has or has not worked? Why? What may help?
  • List all technology used at your organization (devices, hardware, software, online applications, etc.).
  • How has digital technology affected you and your role at your organization? List advantages, disadvantages, and challenges.
  • How has digital technology affected your organization? List advantages, disadvantages, and challenges.
  • How have you tried to overcome the disadvantages and challenges? What has or has not worked? Why? What may help?
  • What are some tasks that could be improved? What do you think would improve carrying out those tasks?
  • What are your short-term goals (1 week to 1 year)?
  • What are your long-term goals (over 1 year)?

3. Participants will compare responses with their team members. (10 minutes)

During this time, the facilitator should be catching up on notes from the previous activities, noting participant reactions, responses, and interactions.

4. In a class discussion, participants will share their needs, concerns, and goals with each other, receiving feedback from one another as the workshop facilitator provides minimal input. (10 minutes)

If they are willing to share, participants will take turns sharing their answers to question #1, then #2, and so on. Participants in teams will note how their answers differ from one another. The facilitator will take notes of key findings, especially the aspects of their answers that are similar.

5. Break (5 minutes)

6. The workshop facilitator will provide a brief overview of a range of digital technologies that may assist with communication. More details on certain technologies will be provided based on participants’ ideas or requests. (20 minutes)

The facilitator will pass out a handout with descriptions and listings of typical uses of some digital technologies. Examples of some communication technologies include: email, listservs, online videoconferencing, discussion boards, chat rooms, custom-built websites, social media, Google applications and much more. More details on certain technologies will be provided based on participants’ ideas or requests.

Participants will be asked about their knowledge of the new and emerging technology and ways that they may see it as beneficial to their organizations.

7. Participants will take turns reading the logic model and action plans aloud to the class. (15 minutes)

A handout may be created from these sources: (logic model) and (action plan)

Points to make:

  • A logic model, which in itself is a communication tool, overlaps with an action plan, yet there are differences—an action plan guides implementation and often uses a timeline and task outline to describe how a goal will be accomplished. It is usually created after a logic model, which illustrates the effects of actions taken (Schmitz & Parsons, 2004). I will provide paper and digital templates for both models and mention Lovely Charts as well.
  • Such plans should be created in groups for a shared understanding of goals (The Innovation Center, 2005).
  • Both models should possess enough detail to be understood by others, however, the focus for today is on brainstorming and sketching out ideas.

8. Teams will discuss their issues, priorities, and how they would like to proceed in order to work toward developing solutions. They will then begin work to address their needs by developing a logic model or action plan.  (40 minutes)

The facilitator will provide both hard and digital copies of both types of plans in case participants prefer one over the other. Templates examples may be found here: (logic model) and here (action plan)

During this open studio time, the facilitator will remain present to answer any questions that the participants may have, yet approach teams from a supportive role without steering participants into any particular direction. At the same time, writing detailed notes about the workshop as a whole, including what worked and what did not seem to work. The facilitator may also decide to follow-up with participants later, perhaps through a survey in which they may remain anonymous.

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