Tool: Facilitating Intentional Group Learning: A Practical Guide to 21 Activities

FSG, Hallie Preskill, Efraín Gutiérrez, Katelyn Mack
To develop an organizational culture that supports iterative reflection and learning, individuals need opportunities to share data, insights, and experiences with others. The way that learning and reflection sessions are designed and implemented can enable or inhibit the meaningful sharing of ideas and collective problem-solving. From quick informal 20-minute activities (i.e Mental Model Drawings and Think-Pair-Share) to systems-thinking and participatory methods for learning (i.e. Timeline Mapping, Actor Mapping, and Appreciative Inquiry), this guide highlights several approaches for designing and facilitating high-energy, inclusive, and meaningful reflection sessions.

Some connection points to RBP include:

  • Learning opportunities can be incorporated into already established meetings and gatherings; taking time for intentional learning doesn’t have to be time consuming or costly. It’s about allocating the time and space and creating habits.
  • To ensure that the habits of continuous reflection and good learning practice are solidified, it is important to establish and communicate a clear goal to all participants so that they understand how practice/ exercises are contributing to objectives and set expectations.
  • Aside from primary learning objectives, many of the activities outlined in this guide have secondary benefits which may include developing or strengthening relationships through building group cohesion, norms, trust, and collaboration. Others may strengthen data analysis, active listening, critical thinking, etc. Good facilitators are key to enabling this – being mindful of accessibility needs, the dominant culture and what may be required for less vocal perspectives to be brought to bear, setting an appropriate pace, and adjusting and adapting the approach as necessary.
  • Embedded in all activities is the notion that open and continuous reflection on the barriers and challenges facing teams, organizations, and partnerships, actually moves us away from “success/ failure” thinking and helps build trust to further the cycle of sharing, learning, and adaptation.

For the full post, please see here, and for more resources on iterative reflection and learning, see our Resource Repository.