Participatory workshops for teaching and learning in higher education and training
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This paper examines the potentials of participatory workshops in higher education and training. It originates in earlier experiences in South Asia, Africa and Europe with training and familiarisation workshops for PRA, and in more recent workshops to teach and learn about other topics. Participatory workshops need a minimum of perhaps 12 people and have been found feasible, and often better, with larger numbers in the range of 30-200 people. They can combine the economies of scale of lectures and the interactive learning of small seminars. Approaches, techniques and behaviours for large participatory workshops have evolved. Explanations of their apparent rarity in higher education and training include constraints which are physical - lack of suitable large rooms, organisational - problems of dovetailing curricula and timetables, and professional and personal - the traditional and embedded methods, mindsets, behaviours and habits of faculty. An agenda for action includes constructing more suitable room space, encouraging faculty to try participatory workshops, and learning more about what works best. Participatory workshops can be both serious and fun. Participatory workshops in this paper refers to occasions involving substantial numbers of participants who learn not only from being taught, but also from combinations of their own analyses, interactions, experiences, reflections and sharing. Much of the argument is presented in more detail in Participatory Workshops: a sourcebook of 21 sets of ideas and activities (2002) (referred to below as PW).