Workshop Guidelines:

Workshops are in-depth sessions that combine instruction/information distribution with specific hands-on or ‘minds-on’ learning elements and tangible takeaways.

Things you may need to consider when designing a workshop session:

  • Learning outcome/s should be carefully articulated; the outcomes also need to go beyond “understanding”, “learning about” or “engaging with” – the outcomes should define the intended measurable additions to delegates’ knowledge base and/or skill set.
  • Presenter/s can be used for instruction (delivering content), but this should be balanced with facilitation (guiding delegates to connect content with their own experience/practice). You may consider using a combination of presenters with subject matter expertise plus a moderator/facilitator with facilitation expertise.
  • Hands-on or ‘minds-on’ activities should be included and designed so that delegates can connect the workshop content with their own role/work and/or reflect on their own practice.
  • Consider also designing for ‘beyond the workshop’ – equip delegates with something that helps them apply their new skill/s or knowledge (for example, a checklist or reference document, a template or action plan).

Learning lab guidelines:

Learning labs are expertly facilitated sessions designed to create a specific environment for achieving practical learning outcomes. Learning labs are designed to be as immersive as possible by creating a simulated workplace/field environment, using scenarios and role play or role-thinking, following narrative-based decision trees, exploring different horizon states using interactive forecasting, etc.

Things you may need to consider when designing a learning lab session:

  • Learning outcome/s should be carefully articulated; the outcomes also need to go beyond “understanding”, “learning about” or “engaging with” – the outcomes should define the intended measurable additions to delegates’ knowledge base and/or skill set.
  • Learning labs are a social learning experience and should not rely on presentations or formal instruction.
  • Learning labs rely on delegates acting or thinking their way through scenarios; they are suited to sessions seeking to explore decision-making, problem-solving, assumptions and biases, dealing with complexity, etc.
  • Learning labs can include the use of props, staging and role-players.
  • Time should be allocated at the beginning of the learning lab to set the scene and establish ground rules, and at the end of the learning lab to reflect on the overall process and highlight key takeaways/learnings.

Roundtable discussion guidelines:

Roundtable discussions are a forum for collective, in-depth discussions and problem-solving where participants and presenters come together as a community to share their experiences and insights.

Things you may need to consider when designing a roundtable session:

  • Moderator/s need to be both well-versed in the topic (to provide meaningful summaries and connections) and be effective at managing time and engaging different voices in discussion.
  • Include no more than 3 presenters as part of your roundtable session – most of the discussion should directly engage delegates.
  • Presenter/s need to provide concise (5 to 10 minute) presentations that lead into wider group discussion and problem-solving. Provocative ideas or ‘sticky’ issues are the best topics for presenters.
  • Room layout may be as one roundtable for a large, consolidated discussion; or as multiple roundtables for smaller, rotating carousel-style discussions.
  • Problem statements/specific challenges/issue-based scenarios should be used to meaningfully surface the experiences, insights and problem-solving contributions of delegates.
  • Time should be allocated at regular intervals (or at the end of the session) for the moderator/s to summarise the discussion and highlight useful/interesting insights.

Case study presentation guidelines:

Case study presentations are a forum for individuals and/or organisations to present research findings, project evaluations, policy or system analyses, etc. and to field audience Q&A based on the presented case studies.

Things you may need to consider when designing a case study session:

  • Ideally, case studies should feature innovative, illustrative or unexpected stories that prompt delegates to reflect on their own work, the work of their organisation, or implications for the sector more broadly.
  • All case studies in a case study session should share a thematic or practice-based link that is more specific/targeted than the overall conference theme.
  • Each case study should follow a similar structure and be allocated a similar amount of time.
  • Case study presenters should be encouraged to rehearse their presentation. Presenters should also be aware of the content of the other case studies being presented.
  • Adequate time should be allocated for audience Q&A – the greater number of case study presentations, the shorter the length of time allocated to each presentation.
  • A moderator/MC can be used to introduce each case study presentation, manage time allocations, highlight practical or thematic links between case studies and moderate the audience Q&A. The moderator should be well-versed in the content of each case study presentation.

Panel discussion guidelines:

Panel discussions bring together diverse speakers for a focused, moderated discussion on a specific topic, followed by audience Q&A.

Things you may need to consider when designing a panel discussion session:

  • Limit the size of your panel to 3 panel speakers and 1 moderator.
  • The panel moderator should be well-versed in the topic of the panel; they should also be briefed on the backgrounds and expertise of each panel member.
  • Sufficient time should be allocated to audience Q&A, either by inviting audience contribution at regular intervals or as a consolidated section following the panel discussion.
  • Time should be allocated at the beginning of the session for the moderator to introduce the panel topic and establish its importance, and to introduce each of the panel speakers. The end of the session should allow time for the moderator to summarise key points from both the panel discussion and the audience Q&A.
  • Be clear about what the panellists contribute collectively and individually, and design and refine questions accordingly; explore the use of a single question to generate multiple diverse answers versus multiple questions to drill down into the expertise of each panellist (or a combination of both).