external image info.pngINFORMAL Workshops

Over the Shoulder Learning ... what does it mean?

"Over The Shoulder Learning is the informal, spontaneous workplace help-giving interaction that is often used by people to learn from their colleagues how to use part of a computer application."
Simply put, it is people in small groups, explaining new tools to each other and thinking about what might be useful in their work.

Nancy White says that: "I always try and promote the people and process stuff, but the reality is that tools are often the 'door opener' to the process conversations because they are more tangible. So being able to "look over the shoulder" as someone uses the tools in a social context would be really useful."The great advantage of receiving explanations from other members of their team (rather than say from systems engineers or formal trainers) was that the help was available as it was needed, that the explainer would understand what it was that the learner was trying to do in terms of the office’s actual work, and that the explanations and examples would be understandable.One of the chief advantages of getting help from colleagues is that there is so much shared context. The helper can choose examples related to the work that the system will be used for, and pitch the explanation at the appropriate level based on what is known about the recipients prior experience and expertise.

FORMAL Workshopsexternal image info.png

  1. Topic identification (Today we will talk about...)
  2. Main points- Identify session objectives (in the participant’s handouts.) – Create a list of main points to discuss, and then break down each larger point into details that you want to communicate to your audience.
  3. Relevance to participants (How might learning about this topic be useful to you?)Visual aids – List the visual aids, if any, you'll use for each point. If you need technical support, this helps the people providing it to determine where they need to focus their efforts.
  4. Material presentation (the actual content of each
  5. session)
  6. Discussions and activities – Take time to list exactly which group discussions and activities you'll have at which point in the workshop. How much time will you allow for each exercise? Make sure your activities are appropriate for the size of the group, and ensure that your venue has the resources (for example, seminar rooms) needed to run sessions.
  7. Motivate participants (to practice what they learned during and/or between sessions)

external image alarmd.pngTiming
  • 1-2 minutes Opening (goals and purpose)
  • 4-6 minutes on the Content that you're providing them (made relevant to their interests or concerns). You can use different formats: presentation (eg. Keynote, Powerpoint, digital poster, paper, etc.)
  • 26-30 minutes Practical Work (interactivity); creative and useful exercise
  • 3-5 minutes Q & A
  • 1-2 minutes Summary andclosing that reiterates the most powerful thing you want them to leave understanding
    Some tips for the facilitators external image victory.png

Involve participants

  • • Begin on time
  • • Use positive feedback early, frequently and specifically
  • • Engage participants by reading aloud or writing on board/flip chart
  • • Stop and discuss frequently
  • • Facilitate summarization
  • • Direct questions to individuals
  • • Maintain balanced participation
  • • Express expectations for regular attendance
  • • Maintain good boundaries and minimize self-disclosur
Repeat and Reapply

  • • Use concrete relevant examples that apply to real life situations
  • • Invite general and personal examples
  • • Apply multimodal learning
  • • Give emphasis to main learning points
  • • Encourage note taking
  • • Utilize recitation
  • • Support and reinforce participation
Motivate and Engage

  • • Provide recognition
  • • Circulate
  • • Use adult-to-adult interactions
  • • Demonstrate a positive attitude and enthusiasm
  • • Emphasize strengths and encourage hope
  • • Employ creative methods
  • • Recognize individual stages of change
  • • Use creative and interactive exercises to motivate and engage
Reinvolve and Close

  • • Respond constructively
  • • Provide immediate prompts
  • • Cue to return or remain
  • • End on time• Provide support regarding attendance and encourage return to next session