You’re an expert on your beloved subject matter. You care deeply about your topic. You want to start designing workshops around it but are stuck and stumped. You’re a tad overwhelmed with where to start because you’re not a teacher. Here is a simple tool to make your learning and teaching engaging and meaningful!
I get lots of clients approaching me with the very same issue. Have no fear, for I have the secret sauce for how to get that juicy, intriguing content you’ve got stored in your noggin, out onto paper and into the beginnings of a hot damn workshop (or three).
And it’s not hard. It’s easy in fact.
The method I’m about to teach you has lots of benefits. The method:
- Is easy (yes, really)
- Is fun (yep, really)
- Makes you realize just how much content you actually have
- Helps you unring your bell (more about that in a second)
- Overcomes your bias (don’t worry, we all have biases when it comes to our beloved subject matter, what’s important is that you overcome it)
- Helps to make your content more inclusive and accessible to all learners
Why it’s so important to learn this method
As the Heath Brothers say, you can’t unring a bell. Meaning, in this case, once you know something, it’s hard to remember what it’s like to not know it. This makes for some tricky situations when it comes to teaching. When we aim too high and our content is too complicated learners get frustrated. When we aim too low and the content is too easy learners get bored. The result? Not a great workshop and blocked learning.
How to go about unringing the bell
Bias. We all have them as workshop designers and teachers. Here’s the key to understanding your bias. We tend to teach how we like to learn. That’s it. Your preferred way of learning is your bias. And if you don’t know how you like to learn, well, that’s a problem. It’s a problem with an easy solution however.
Quick! Think about a recent workshop, seminar, audiobook, blog etc. where you learned something. What type of things, from the list below, did you focus on learning? Pick the top two or three from the list of twelve and make a note of their number.
- I focused on learning how to do something
- Prioritized learning a new skill
- I wanted to change a behaviour
- I concentrated on learning a new way to feel about something
- It was important to me to link my learning to my vision, my purpose
- I wanted to gain some insight into my attitudes
- I focused on learning new information
- Prioritized learning a new theory
- I wanted to learn a new framework
- Focused on how to apply my learning
- I wanted a plan for what I was going to do differently based on what I learned
- Focused on what I needed to practice based on what I learned
It’s time to determine your bias with this simple S.A.K.E.© tool
While you were reading the list of twelve above, it’s very likely that some seemed a bit odd or strange to you, or things you hadn’t really focused on before. And likewise, it’s probable that some seemed super natural, like, “huh? of course! Isn’t that the point?!”
The point is we all go about learning differently. And like I mentioned, unless we look at our preferences, or biases, we’ll end up teaching to those preferences and biases. And that means learners who don’t share those preferences lose out.
Let’s swing back to the list of twelve. The statements are based on the S.A.K.E.© tool I created when I was looking for an easy way to help people who were beginning to teach how to start. S.A.K.E.© is an acronym.
S stands for Skills
- Learners who put skills first want to learn how to do something.
A stands for Attitude
- Learners who prioritize attitude want their learning to fit with their vision, mission and values.
K stands for Knowledge
- Learners who put knowledge first focus on information, theory, and frameworks.
E stands for Experience
- Learners who prioritize experience want to put their learning into action and have the learning ‘leave the room.’
Taken together they are a powerful combination … as long as each of them get included. That’s where our biases come in. Which of the twelve things were you drawn to? That will help you identify your bias or preference for learning.
If you focused on these you’re drawn to Skills
- Prioritized how to do something
- Wanted to learn a new skill
- Aimed to change a behaviour
If you focused on these you’re drawn to Attitude
- Wanted to find a new way to feel about something
- Linked your learning to your vision, your purpose
- Gained some insight into your attitude
If you focused on these you’re drawn to Knowledge
- Learned a bunch of new information
- Focused on learning a new theory
- Gained a new framework for your learning
If you focused on these you’re drawn to Experience
- Learned how to apply your learning
- Created a plan for what you were going to do differently based on what you learned
- Figured out what you needed to practice based on what you learned
Roadmap to powerful learning
Now that you know your preference, brainstorm what you want to teach. Get it all down in detailed format. Then go back and see which items fall into the S.A.K.E.© categories.
You’ll have a roadmap for where you shine or where you’ll automatically focus with ease. You’ll also have a map for where you’ll need to focus a little more light and make sure you’re including all four components.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead.
- There’s all sorts of ways to take in learning, even and including when we need to be bottle fed!
- Brainstorm your big, beautiful, juicy content that you’ve worked so hard to learn and now want to teach. Then see where your preference lies. You don’t have to have exactly equal numbers of S (skills), A (attitude), K (knowledge) and E experience but you should definitely make sure all of them are included. Here’s an interactive worksheet to help you do just that.
P.S. Check out my Workshops that Work online workshop so you can learn 4 steps to taking that beloved subject matter expertise of yours and start teaching it to others.
Jan Willem Ketelaar says
Great S.A.K.E. tool, the acronym fairly easy to remember! Look forward to using and applying it in my own training work!