While sitting in my hotel room pondering all things Agile, I have settled on a new theory.
I have formed the opinion that some training should be nothing more than questions and discussion among students and a facilitator.
This seemed to work well in the TV series Kung Fu and in a documentary I saw the other night (the documentary mentioned that Alexander the Great was tutored by Aristotle in).
So we can safely assume it works well for individuals and probably for small groups. But what about facilitating larger groups?
According to Agile theory and a book called Wisdom of the Crowd, having more people with diverse backgrounds should provide more fertile ideas and learning than having an expert sharing his or her knowledge with the group. It should also be better than just having a small group chatting and challenging ideas (ie using the Socratic method).
But another show on the history channel showed some angry mobs running around burning things, and my experience is that it is harder to facilitate large mobs than small groups of students.
So there is a level of risk involved in having a large group launch into discussions and questions without guidance.
Unfortunately, as I sit here flicking through the TV channels the hotel has provided me with, I am unable to find a documentary that can help me with a well researched approach to facilitating large mobs. So formal research and ongoing investigation seem unable to assist me in solving this problem.
Instead, I have turned to the Einstein approach of thought experiments.
What if we ran a workshop like this?
- Get two facilitators so we can call it “pair facilitation” and therefore know we are being very Agile.
- Divide the day into 5- 6 learning iterations plus a couple of special ones.
- The “pair facilitators” run the day except for some topics where the group may pick someone else to lead the discussion.
Rather than make this an even longer article, I will add add the instructions for each iteration as comments. But the short version is
- Initiate and speculate iteration to plan and prioritise the day
- 4-6 explore and build iterations to teach/learn/discuss
- A closing iteration to turn the lights out
Now I just need a mob to try this on so we can either prove it was a dumb idea or hone it into a cool workshop.