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74 sticky notes, 45 minutes, 18 people, 1 awesome workshop.

Moodle-Mahara Meetup 2013 - Workshop: What do people want from such an integration?


This design thinking workshop (designed as described here) started out a fizzer with the flipped online component failing to gain traction. However the face-to-face component was very energetic and great fun. I had to redesign the workshop at short notice to integrate the pre-workshop activities into the F2F session. Once that was done the design proved itself, generating some fresh ideas and concepts - for example Christine Brown (University of Wollongong) thought of the government department TEQSA (Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency) being a stakeholder in the Mahara-Moodle integration. Kristina Hoeppner, who triages wishlist items, identified some ideas as not yet in the tracker like features for TEQSA reporting. (You can find Kristinas' post about the day here).

Danny Munnerley and Matt Bacon successfully use fun techniques in their design thinking workshops such as groups giving themselves names at the start of design challenges and also having a blind vote for the group with the best ideas at the end of the workshops. I incorporated these techniques and the participants really found both the group naming and blind judging a lot of fun. As people were leaving at the end people said the whole session was lots of fun and productive. One person also commented that they loved getting to know the people in their groups. Below is a full write up of how the workshop proceded, including photos. By the way, having the groups write ideas on the sticky notes and put them up is a great way of recording the ideas and are then easy to photograph.


The stages below are derived from the excellent "75 Tools for Creating Thinking"

Stage 1: Introducing the workshop - Setting the scene (Moodle-Mahara integration) and what is design thinking (the process)

In this phase of the workshop it was important to restate the context or focus of the workshop, that is in this case we are looking at how Moodle and Mahara should come together. Moodle is a learning management system, primarily teacher driven, and Mahara is a personal learning/portfolio space that is primarily (some may say ideally) individually/learner driven. So what would someone in an LMS want to do with their portfolio system from the LMS. What would a person in Mahara want to achieve in the LMS from Mahara? Why, when and how should these systems talk to each other? That is what this workshop was about.

The design of the workshop was described as being in 5 stages, each about 7 minutes long. In these stages we:


 the stakeholders

Imagine the stakeholders


everyone blind votes to decide the winning team.

Stage 2: Brainstorming the stakeholders - as individuals jot down all stakeholders you can think of - one per sticky note.


Stage 3: Teaming up - Form teams based on key stakeholder - and talk about what defines this stakeholder group. 

What happened next is that each person had to choose which stakeholder mattered to them most (or to their institution, etc). Then people were asked to form groups based on the stakeholder they chose - e.g. all the people interested in the Teacher stakeholder formed a group. I had asked if they preferred small groups or larger groups and they all opted for smaller groups - of about 3-4 members. Next they each had to pick a team name, consequently each stakeholder based group now had these names (everyone had fun with this):

One person decided to go with Government so we called her "group" Govna.
Once the groups are formed we quickly move to group discussion as teams come up with definitions (5-10 characteristics) of their stakeholder groups. Characteristics like general age, ICT skill levels, level of internet access, etc, anything that might affect their involvement with Moodle, Mahara, and the space between them.

This process resulted in the following definitions:

Stage 4: Three wishes.

Based on the characteristics of the stakeholders in relation to the Mahara-Moodle integration, each team now has to invent 3 wishes that they believe the stakeholder groups would come up with.

Stage 5: Brainstorming solutions.

Each team now generates ideas, and here is what they came up with:

Stage 5: The verdict.

Each group is asked to pick a persuasive speaker and pitch their stakeholder, their characteristics, wishes, and the top three (or more) solutions the team came up with, they had to do this in one minute per team do to the workshop time constraints. Based on a blind vote and tallying of hands the winning team is announced.

And each receive a Mahara Mug from Kristina Hoeppner courtesy of Catalyst NZ

(If you would like to know more or comment please use the comments area. I'll hope to add some testimonials/feedback at some stage.)


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