Workshop Design

Workshop Design

EPSON MFP image

How I Design a Workshop (or class, or talk)

I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.
~ Confucius, 450 BC

A number of people have been asking me about how I design my workshops and classes. Until I can write this up properly, enjoy this tweet-talk.


Ask what can people DO to meet the learning goals. This forms your exercises. Then ask, what is the minimum they need to know to do the exercise that helps them learn. This forms your lectures (which should be really really short.) Then weave in a bit of reflection to allow them to integrate what they’ve learned. Reflection can be in the form of Q&A, journaling or sketching. See this deck for more on using the three elements.

Most workshops have a “fiction” that holds the exercises together. This is a make-believe project to work on. It needs two things
* to have a context everyone can related to without deep research
* to ask people to do the things they need to do to learn.

For example, I like to do a grocery store delivery ap for teaching UX. Everyone has been in a grocery, food is something you’ve lived with all your lives, and to make the app, you have to understand IA (how food is organized) IxD (to be able to fill a shopping cart and place orders and interface. You have been hired to make a grocery store delivery app is a useful teaching fiction.


I lied, it’s 5X longer. Really, it’s crazy. People cannot be brief. Time bound them (5 minutes each!), and hold them to it.


Yes, you will ALWAYS start late.