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Bringing Design Workshops Online (Part 2)

09 Sep
never stop learning (part 2)

We recently finished the second day of our largest virtual design workshop to date.  Everyone is using the Zoom breakout rooms and MURAL tools effectively—it was a pretty quick learning curve.  No need for an icebreaker on this second day, so we got straight to work.

We brainstormed on ways to apply gaming technology to our topic—Diversity and Inclusion—and our goal: “Design a transformative, empathy-inducing, learning journey —  consisting of a series of short sessions/events/activities, and experienced over time —  that leverages technology to advance diversity and inclusion globally  by creating profound, hit-me-in-the-gut, learning moments  that affect real change in attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.”

Learning Something New

We developed some amazing ideas and options. Can’t share them yet, as we’re still under a non-disclosure agreement (but stay tuned, we will share our discoveries!), but we did learn some more interesting things about conducting workshops entirely online.  Top among them: small group breakout sessions need to be set up and managed differently from an in-person workshop.

Our Learning Experience Designer, who was facilitating the workshop noted,  “When I’m  facilitating an in-person workshop, I can easily incorporate breakout group activities by myself. But online, I needed someone to manage the technology of the breakout rooms.” It required coordination with the technologist in advance to set up the teams and ensure each team had access to the instructions and their whiteboard area. “In person, I can scan the room to see whether teams need assistance.”  Without being able to see body language or hear the conversation buzz in the room, we had to find alternative ways to discern team participation.   

As a result, we pushed the issue of feedback. We conducted polls, asked individuals for input and feedback, and worked hard, and successfully, to create a safe environment where we could freely explore options, ideas, and even “what-if” wishes.

Next Steps

Next we’re sifting and organizing the input we gathered, and convening a smaller team to pull everything together into a cohesive design concept.  We’ll let you know how that goes next.

Dwight Johnson