In online courses, students often learn as much (or even more) from their peers as from the instructor.
I've seen it happen again and again: excited faces returning from a breakout room, just having had a breakthrough thanks to sharing their challenges and getting ideas from others.
So, how can you actively create these moments for your students?
Try running the Troika Consulting exercise in one of your Zoom sessions.
This is based on a real-life facilitation exercise from Liberating Structures and adapted by Michael Ashcroft. We've used it successfully in Minimum Viable Video.
Create breakout rooms of 3 people.
Each person will take turns being the "client," while the other two are "consultants" for that client.
The Troika then follows this process:
- 1 minute: The client shares a challenge or their thoughts on a question related to the course. Consider providing a concrete prompt to answer. For example: “What barriers are in the way of you creating videos over the next 3 months?”
- 3 minutes: The consultants ask the client clarifying questions to better understand their context.
- 3 minutes: Now, the client turns off their camera and mutes their microphone. The consultants discuss the challenge with each other, generating ideas, suggestions, and advice. The client doesn't participate but listens in.
- 1 minute: The client turns their camera and microphone back on and shares what was most valuable about the experience and their takeaways.
Then, it's time to swap roles and repeat the process.
I recommend having the instructor or course manager keep time and broadcast messages into the breakout rooms to help everyone stay on track.
What's fascinating is that students benefit not only from getting advice on their challenges but also from giving advice to others.
Often, the advice we give others is the one that we need to hear.
If you try out this exercise, please let me know how it went!