This is my forth post about the Natural Sciences training that we ran last year for subject advisors across the country. You can read more about the project goals and design (part 1), the programme and resources created (part 2) and how we assessed and exposed key misconceptions in the different knowledge areas (part 3).
At Siyavula, we believe in constantly asking for feedback from a group both during and after a workshop. What often comes to my mind when reflecting on feedback are examples from biology where one can get positive feedback loops and negative feedback loops. Both are necessary for a healthy individual or ecosystem. The same is true for any process where you want to constantly be tweaking, making adjustments, finding a balance between different needs and expectations and using the feedback to respond and evolve. Closing these feedback loops is crucial in developing a successful, sustainable, long-term process.
Open communication is also vital to building and maintaining a community of practice. By keeping the lines of communication directly open with your participants, and following up with correspondence, I believe you also help to build relationships which will last beyond the physical interaction at a workshop. This will have a long term benefit in creating a community that is willing to share and learn from each other. Following is a summary of some of the feedback that we received, via email and in the post-workshop survey, and some reflections on the success of the various sessions throughout the workshops. Personally, I also find it a consolidating process to write all of this down, which is why i have written these blog posts, as it allows me to reflect on my own experiences as well.