The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

Learning, thinking, and doing

Three members from LWRTonic attended AQR's "Welcome to the Games" workshop training day, instilling in them the confidence to move outside their comfort zone.

This was a day where I expected to learn how to approach, plan and deliver workshops where we were required to moderate in front of a client. I hoped to walk away with some practical top tips and also an education in mindset, as I can get pretty nervous before facilitating and moderating a group (especially with the added pressure of having a client present and keeping their objectives front and centre).

The training very much lived up to its name, and acted as a theme underpinning the activities we did and approaches we discussed. It challenged our thinking and enable us to get into a different, more playful headspace. All with the intention of better reaching the client’s objectives. Iain and Kate, our trainers for the day, greeted us on arrival. They had picked a quirky, unusual room populated with sofas which encouraged us to mingle and put me at ease and got me out of "work mode". Both key for getting into the right mindset to engage with the content.

The day was split into learning followed by doing. In the learning segment, we were taught not just how to think about and design a workshop, but also how to deliver it. This included reframing ice breakers and again, how to engineer an environment where the attendees, including the client, are enabled to think differently, leading to better outcomes. In the doing segment, we put the theory into practice by breaking into mini groups and planning our own workshop, plus — gulp — trialling an exercise of our design.

This worked brilliantly because it cemented the theory in a supportive space, while forming a memory of giving it a go. Iain and Kate were a truly dynamic duo. Ttheir styles were very complementary which I thought cleverly, if inadvertently, demonstrated that the aim is all to discover your own way of facilitating, moderating and subsequently being confident in the delivery. Their expertise was evident but made very accessible. They successfully created a warm, energetic and productive atmosphere conducive to learning and lasting all day.

I’d really recommend this workshop for anyone working in research across different levels and roles: the content was accessible, engaging and useful, the trainers were expert and friendly, plus you were challenged to go outside your comfort zone and try.

 

Esther Cameron
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