It’s always a great day when a diverse group of professionals, focused on education, gather for a hands-on workshop. Amazing things always happen and the interactions among participants at our inaugural ILED workshop for Oklahoma faculty and staff was certainly no exception.
Here are a few notes and images from today’s fun event!
- Designing a vacation
We begin our workshops by introducing everyone to Learning Environment Modeling. We do this by having them design something that is familiar to everyone. In this instance, we used “a vacation.” We provide a sample design in the participant workbook and then have everyone design their own versions of a vacation. Our group today was diverse — representing higher education, law enforcement, and healthcare — as were the different ideas about how to plan a vacation.
At the end of this exercise, participants share their designs and we curate their efforts and discuss them.
2. Discuss group design projects
The next step in the workshop is to have the different groups discuss and select projects that they would like to work on in the workshop. In this activity, the different groups exchange ideas and identify one or more projects that they would like to design, or problems that they are trying to solve.
As with the previous exercise, we curate the different project ideas for everyone to see and discuss.
3. Designing Learning Environments
Once we have contextualized participants through these initial activities, we then provide a more in-depth presentation of Learning Environment Modeling and the different components of our toolbox.
One of the biggest challenges educators face is a lack of a common language for designing and communicating their ideas. LEM was created addresses this specific need, and in the workshop we’re able to show people how easy it is to get started. One of the activities we use is a game with ILED Design Cards. Each group selects a random care, which contains an activity that they must design. Here’s an example of one group’s design card on Job Shadowing.
This group selected a card for an Original Writing Assignment.
We like to say that LEM is Fisher-Price simple. That’s why workshop participants can begin designing for the Design Card challenge so quickly and easily.
Here are final group designs for this activity.
The Learning Environments Design Experience (LEDx) involves 4 phases — Discover, Understand, Envision, and Build. In the workshop, we take the ideas shared during the Design Card activity and use these to discuss how we can apply LEM for both diagnostic and design purposes.
We also talk about the advantages of analog and digital tools in the design process. Our experience is that analog tools work particularly well in the early stages of the design process, while digital designs become more valuable as we work toward more formal designs.
5. Group Project Design
Once everyone has gained experience with LEM and LEDx, they’re ready to return to their group projects and begin the actual planning and design process for these.
This work begins with the Focus Board, a LEM worksheet designed to help groups define the desired outcomes and parameters for a learning environment.
The Focus Board allows groups to get into the details of their project design work.
In the end, of course, all the hard work paid off and we ended up with some great team designs. Here are a couple of examples.