After being unable to run a facilitated learning workshop with the Nature Nutters group (7-12) I went to Aberdeen for an event and ran the workshop for a group between the ages of 18-35.
I found that the best way to encourage discovery was through asking questions when participants asked me a question and only passing on my own knowledge when they really requested it. This gave them the space to answer their on questions on the subject. To set up the space all I did was suggest a topic and a direction for the discussion.
I found that I had to really listen to how the participants asked the questions and think it might be hard to design a electronic facilitator to encourage this same sort of learning method.
Prior my workshop I gathered natural objects which I passed around the group to enable them to study the object and gather insights from them. Some of the participants struggled with this and felt slightly nervous about sharing their insights and thoughts until trust had been built up within the group. I feel for this to be truly successful it requires quiet personal time to gather true insights from objects as this is void of judgement of others.
Unfortunately we only had time to go through working out what we need to survive and how animals and plants have met their survival needs through their design and ran out of time to create our own survival ideas based on our insights. But believe that the whole process is a good platform for this to occur in the future.
Below is a Sample of the insight sheet I developed (originally aimed at kids aged 7-12 years).
Surviving in the Wild
You went out for a walk with your friends in a woodland you don’t know very well, there were so many paths to choose from and you soon found yourselves lost! No one can remember the way back to the main path, and it’s starting to get dark…
With no idea when you might get home, or if you’ll be able to find the path again, you start to look around.
What might be useful to look for if you’re stuck for the night?
You know there are animals in this wood, you’ve seen a herd of deer through the trees in the distance. How do you think other animals and plants survive in the wild?
So, how would you survive a night in the woods? Can you draw a picture of your ideas?
I began the insight sheet with a story to engage participants in the activity as it has been noted that individuals enjoy stories. The use of a story allow me also to set the scene for the learning process to begin and provides direction for participants.
I decided to end the insight sheet with the opportunity for participants to express themselves creatively and visually as I hoped this would allow them to feel more comfortable to digest the information we had gathered in order to produce a new insight or if they could not express their insights through words(especially younger participants).