In the design of our professional learning experiences, we often wonder about follow-up. After all, even the best planned professional learning session, that is facilitated as perfectly as possible, results in less learning when the learning isn’t continuous. If we aren’t constantly building our skills around an idea, then we are less likely to see all the different dimensions of the idea, topic, or skill.
So, with that in mind, we’ve been exploring new and novel approaches to provide follow-up in the work that we do and learning sessions we design with our districts.
One area of follow-up we are experimenting with more regularly is that of the visitation. The general idea here is that by exposing learners to ideas in action, we’re helping solidify the foundational aspects that might have been explored during a “standard” learning session, and we are providing the sensory experiences necessary to help others see the learning in action.
While I might have previously thought that visitations could be a challenge to design and structure, this year I’ve learned that they can be quite easy, and with only a small amount of structuring and oversight, can provide tremendous learning returns to those engaged in them for follow-up.
I spent the better part of a morning going on one of these visitations with learners enrolled in our 20% Time workshop series. It was an amazing experience for me, as it helped me see in even more detail how a strategy such as this can have a tremendous impact on the learners we serve. I also observed, first-hand, the value of extending learning beyond our walls.
We never want to contain learning in time. We also shouldn’t contain it in spaces.
Visitations are just one form of follow-up, and I look forward to continuing to build my repertoire, and our agency’s, regarding ways to help learners follow-up on their learning.