· thoughtworks-university

TWU: Session Design - Measurable goals

We’ve been spending our time recently preparing the sessions for the next ThoughtWorks University batch and one thing Sumeet has encouraged us to do is ensure that we have a measurable goal for each session.

In our case that means that we need to design our sessions with the intention of the grads being able to do something rather than understand something after the session.

It’s very difficult to measure whether someone understands something and from what I’ve noticed having a goal of someone understanding something can encourage you to put in more than is strictly necessary.

Sumeet pointed us to Cathy Moore’s action mapping which talks about the need to create some sort of action from the learning opportunity that we’re providing.

She also talks about the need to avoid brain dumping and I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to do this if my goal is for someone to ‘understand topic x’.

I’ve found it quite difficult to work out how much information and context we should be providing but our current thinking is that providing just enough to allow the grads to work on their project while encouraging them to seek out more information when they need it will be the most effective approach.

On a somewhat related note, after a recommendation by my colleague Jim Barritt I’ve been reading through Gerald Weinburg’s ‘Becoming a Technical Leader’ and I quite like Weinburg’s advice around this:

When I write a book or an essay or a novel, or give a workshop, I measure my success by one simple test: When I'm finished with them, do they care less about the subject? If the answer if yes, I've failed.

I’m not sure how measurable this one is but it certainly encourages you not to make the session boring!

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