BYTE workshops can be anywhere from one hour to several hours long. They are all adapted from our master workshop plans to fit the needs of group or community. However, all BYTE workshops follow the same structure. We find this structure works well because it creates a workshop space that is comfortable, engages participants, and intersperses workshop content with energizers and breaks.
- Creating the space
- Formal introductions
- Community agreements/ground rules
- Ice Breakers / Name Games
- Clean-up/check out
So what does that mean? Let’s break it down!
Creating the space for the program is really important. This includes not just creating physical accessibility and comfort in the space, but also creating a welcoming atmosphere and ensuring that people treat each other with respect.
- Not all rooms are easy to rearrange, but do what you can. For large group actives, make sure the room is set up so that you can sit in a circle and everyone can see and hear each other, and no one is left out
- For small group actives, try to set it up so each small group can have room and privacy to do their thing. Use separate rooms, hallways or corners of rooms.
- Play music before the workshop
- Welcome all participants as they enter the room by making eye contact and having an open and relaxed body language/posture.
- Ask them their name and maybe a little bit about themselves or how they found out about your training
- You may want to give some of the participants minor tasks like setting up chairs to make them feel included
Each trainer should introduce themselves (or each other) as well as your organization and the particular training that they will be taking that day.
Have a discussion about the rules that the group feels should be respected amongst each other for the day and explain the importance of these rules. This is called a Community Agreement. Setting up a Community Agreement is key to establishing a sense of ownership over the training. Write down each agreement and make sure the entire group is comfortable with the selection. This will help create a space that builds trust and makes people feel safe.
- The goal with ice-breakers is to get people feeling comfortable and open. Often ice-breakers will make people do silly things to break down social and behavioural barriers and get people laughing together.
- Always explain ice-breakers clearly and give everyone a chance to play
- Take the opportunity to play an ice-breaker game that involves the participants telling their names, or a ‘name game.’ Try to remember as many names as possible; participants really feel valued when you remember their names.
It is important to take breaks. People need them to process content, rest their brains, and regain focus. Taking a break every 45 minutes to one hour is a good idea.
The content and activities of any workshop should be interactive. Activities can range from brainstorming sessions to art projects and group challenges. It important that every activity be fun and engaging, but that it also have a take-home message that can be discussed and debriefed.
Energizers are games that bring the group’s energy up. There are all sorts of different energizer games, but the aim is to find one that meets the group’s needs. If a group has a lot of energy to use up, try an active game. If there is tension in the group, use a team-building energizer to bring the group together.
- Debriefing should happen after every activity. It can be a long or short process depending on the content and the goals of the learning outcome.
- It is important to have the debrief questions drafted beforehand.
- It is important to create a space that is conducive to reflection and sharing. Bring an open mind and a genuine interest to this space.
Evaluations at the end of a workshop give facilitators a chance to get specific feedback and a chance for reflection.
- It’s always important to leave the room or facility that you’ve used clean and organized. If you’ve had to rearrange the furniture (which is likely), make sure you take note of how the room was arranged beforehand and return it to its original state.
- Don’t forget to thank whoever provided the space!