You are greeted at the door by Xavier and are asked to take a seat wherever you would like. The tables are joined to create a large square, with various seating options such as chairs, standing space, and stools around the shape’s perimeter. All participants can see one another from each seat, and Xavier sits among the group to share the presentation. Posters displaying positive messages are hung on the wall. Floor lamps were brought in to illuminate a corner where natural light does not reach. The temperature was controlled at a comfortable 72 degrees.
Xavier calls out a friendly, “Welcome” and invites participants to share a bit about themselves and their children in an open forum. Pictures from participants’ phones are shared widely.
After introductions, Xavier asks participants to share why they enrolled in the course and what they hope to gain. As the participants share, Xavier points out how the course agenda, learning objectives, and expectations will align with the participants’ needs. As a group, the class completes a brainstorming activity to define class participation expectations.
Xavier explains that the schedule is flexible. Alternative activities are available on the back table and multiple ways to complete the tasks are acceptable. Participants are encouraged to take breaks as needed. Xavier created an electronic file to share along with printed information.
Next, participants are offered multiple ways to engage in their learning. Some participants select an individual reflection activity; others watch and debate a segment of a documentary film. Those that selected the small group activity brainstorm ideas on sticky notes before creating a word-cloud pattern of solutions. As Xavier monitors the groups, he notices several participants step away for a moment to check their phones. Others use their device to share information. Xavier comments on the observed behaviors, pointing out how these strategies can be effective learning tools.
A 45-minute lunch break is provided. Xavier encourages a ‘working lunch’ to create and share knowledge with their peers. He posts choices of activities on the board for those that wish to participate.
As the day comes to an end, Xavier leads an interactive activity to recap the course’s learning objectives. Next, he offers five minutes of personal reflection before asking participants to write a Call-to-Action statement that will describe how they will use their new knowledge at home. During this time, Xavier briefly meets with each student to discuss strategies for implementing their Call-To-Action. As Xavier distributes the exam, he reminds the participants that this final activity only intends to help him, and the learners understand their progression towards the course goals. What counts are the strategies they will take home with them. Most learners appear unpressured by the exam and begin.
As Xavier was designing his course, what learner characteristics did he consider and why?
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