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Active Reviewing Tips
A C T I V E . R E V I E W I N G . T I P S Vol. 1.6 November 1998.
~~~~~~ A C T I V E . R E V I E W I N G . T I P S
~~~~~~ the free monthly newsletter linked to the web-based
~~~~~~ 'GUIDE TO ACTIVE REVIEWING AND DEBRIEFING'
~~~~~~ Editor: Roger Greenaway firstname.lastname@example.org
~~~~~~ Vol. 1.6 November 1998.
~~~~~~ From the editor ~~~~~~
GETTING 'INVOLVED' IN LEARNING
''You get out what you put in.'' (plus a bit more)
The core idea in 'active reviewing' is that the more you get
INVOLVED in learning, the more you learn. That's not very
profound, but it's surprising how often this principle is brushed
aside or misunderstood.
When 'left and right brains' are both tuned in and when 'body,
mind and spirit' are fully engaged in the learning process, there
are instantly more ways of learning open to us. More dimensions
of learning become available.
By involving more of our own personal resources we notice more,
take in more, process more, remember more and benefit more.
The more of ourselves we invest in the learning process, the more
we gain from it.
Each learner should spend as much time as possible at the optimal
level of involvement. That matters more than anything else. If
learners are not switched on, then any process you lead them
through (or 'urge' them through or 'facilitate' them through) is
just going through the motions. It hardly qualifies as
'experiential learning' if the experience is not engaging.
For the most effective learning from experience, learners need to
be fully engaged in the reviewing process - as well as in the
experience being reviewed.
You will need to look wider than 'active reviewing' for ways of
getting learners involved, but 'active reviewing' certainly
places a high value on involvement - before, during and
(especially) after the learning 'activity'.
~~~~~ REVIEWING IN ACTION ~ PART 2: HOW? ~~~~~
Here are some 'hows' to go with the 'whys' (as promised in the
last issue). You will also find a few more 'whys'!
Bring out (and give) positive comments about group and individual
performace during the 'first half'. Consider
revising strategy, tactics, positions, roles (or even goals!) for
the 'second half'.
During an activity individuals make a running commentary -
talking aloud about their experiences to a partner.
PAIRS (and PREDICTIONS)
At a break in the activity, learners talk in pairs about the part
they've played so far. They also look ahead and make predictions
about what will happen.
Use quick mid-activity questionnaires to help focus attention on
key issues for the second part of the activity. Refer back to
these during the end-of-activity review.
In preparation for a later review, observers take it in turns to
withdraw from the activity and make notes, or do
tape-recording or video-recording....
JOGGER CARDS (since renamed 'Goal Keepers')
This is an unobtrusive way of reminding individuals of their
goals or action points during an activity.
Each individual chooses up to three personal goals (or action
points) arising from a recent review e.g. 'I should speak up
more', 'listen more', 'not give up easily'.
Each person records each goal on a 'jogger' card (as in 'memory
jogger'). The cards are given to a team of observers. Ideally
half the group observe the other half in action.
During the activity, observers look out for individuals who do
not appear to be implementing their action points, and quietly
show them the appropriate card.
Any disputes about this feedback are postponed until the review.
Create time out during an activity, especially if you are working
outside in an inspirational setting. Give people space away from
the group and time for private reflection - away from observers,
questions and noise. A solo break for 5 - 10 minutes enjoying the
view or looking up at the sky provides a pause for thought before
resuming or restarting the activity. Such breaks often result in
special insights that may not be 'available' in the normal
setting for reviews.
CATCHING THE MOMENT FOR REVIEWING
There are limitless ways in which reviewing can be introduced
within the action, alongside the action or in 'mini-breaks'
during the action. All of these help to bring the worlds of doing
and reviewing closer together. They are also ways of 'catching
the moment' and providing reviewing opportunities close to the
action. 'Catching the moment' draws people's attention to things
that they might not otherwise notice or remember.
There will always be a place for reviews AWAY from the action and
AFTER the action. Such reviews can only benefit from the insights
gained from 'reviewing IN action'.
But some groups may learn more if you let them find their own
solutions rather than continually use reviewing to prompt
corrective action. When helping people to learn from experience
you have at least three opportunities - BEFORE, DURING and AFTER.
You should now have a few more options about how to generate
reviewing DURING the action.
Since writing this article I have revisited this topic many times
- each time from a different perspective. These articles are
brought together in Active Reviewing Tips 12.2
~~~~~~ Site News: New Pages ~~~~~~
• 'Solo Challenge' or 'Anyone Can Veto Anything'
• 1 0 0 . A C T I V E . R E V I E W I N G . M E T H O D S
This ideas list was available by autoresponder for a few days in
October and will be available again once technical troubles are
fixed. Meanwhile you can view a web page version at:
or you can download it as a zipped (.txt) file at:
(Paste the .txt version into your email programme if it supports
~~~~~~ Other Websites with 'Toolkits' ~~~~~~
4 of the best organised trainers' toolkits on the web:
[The other two toolkits have disappeared from the web since publiscation of this ezine]
Do you have any favourites you would like to recommend?
~~~~~~ Other Ezines About Reviewing ~~~~~~
In my search for other ezines about reviewing, the best I have
yet found is PowerQuotes. This is a short free daily ezine from
Kevin Eikenberry of the Discian Group. Every day you receive an
inspirational quote PLUS some reviewing tasks or questions to
help you make productive links between the quote and your own
Seeing an inspirational quote and then hunting around for an
experience to fit may seem a little 'back to front' if you are
used to starting with the experience and then hunting around for
phrases, metaphors, images etc. to help 'bring out' the meaning.
But a 'Back to Front' approach to reviewing can make a refreshing
change. With PowerQuotes you also get ideas about how to use the
quotes. The emphasis is self-development, but the ideas can be
adapted for group settings.
Quotes can be equally inspiring in a group setting. Just as with
picture postcards you can display or scatter a collection of
quotes and ask people to choose quotes that are (for example):
• closest to what happened
• furthest away from what happened
• closest to what you would like to have said yourself
• closest to how you would like things to be next time
Listen out for good quotes too and add some real quotes from
learners to add to your collection.
One way or another you will find 'PowerQuotes' a source of
To subscribe to PowerQuotes send an Email to:
with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.
If you know of good ways to use 'quotes' in reviewing, share your
thoughts for publication in 'Active Reviewing Tips'. Write to:
~~~~~~ FUTURE ISSUES ~~~~~~
• NEXT: Reviewing for Individuals, plus a chance to take part
in some real reviewing!
• Shapes in Reviewing: Using Circles
• Creating Fresh Perspectives: Why and How
• Disability and Recognising Ability
• Reviewing to Achieve Objectives
Here's 5 opportunities to 'get involved' - if you would like to
contribute or suggest links or references on any of the above
topics. You can do this anonymously, but I would prefer to give
you full credit for your ideas. It's your choice.
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