Participants were identied and registeredfor the workshops by email, via email groupsknown to the HDA, up to three months inadvance. The only requirement was that theparticipants should have some experience inundertaking HIA, and preferably (althoughnot essential) some experience in the subjectarea being discussed. Participants were askedto volunteer case study material suitable forpresentation at the workshops.
Numbers and timing
Thirty-one people attended at least oneworkshop, with a range of 9–14 participantsat each workshop (several people attendedmore than one workshop). For variousreasons a small number were not able toattend each workshop, despite havingbooked. The workshops ran from 9.30am to3.30pm, with the rst half hour for arrivalsand coffee.
Use of a facilitator
A central component of the learning frompractice method is the role of a facilitatorwho can draw out responses from the wholegroup and encourage debate and discussion.At all four workshops an external facilitatorwas contracted to undertake this role, andto provide advice on how to structure theworkshops based on the evidence about howpeople learn.
Structure of the day
The aims of the workshops were to:• Identify examples of projects thatdemonstrate aspects of promising practice• Identify particular elements and processesthat need to be in place to make suchactivities successful• Actively disseminate and share this learningwith those who are in the process ofplanning and providing similar provision• Test the learning from practice workshopmodel and assess its benets for futureapplication.Each workshop had a similar structure:• Welcome and introductions• Rationale for and outline of the day,including background information onthe theory of the learning from practiceapproach, and topic-specic background• Aims of the day, both HDA’s andparticipants’ aims• Learning from practice case studypresentations, each 10–15 minuteslong, detailing a practitioner’s personalexperience of working on a specic topic• Group clarication of the denitions/ understanding of the topic being discussed• Facilitated small-group work to discuss anddraw out learning from the case studiespresented, and from participants’ ownexperiences• Group discussion on the benets topractitioners of the topic under discussion• Group discussion where lessons learnedfrom the morning were distilled into ‘whatpromising practice looks like’• Action planning by participants aboutchanges they may make to their practice• On-the-day evaluation forms completed.A full explanation of how the workshopswere run, including background and rationaleinformation, is given by Gowman
Evaluation ndings (Crozier, 2004) and our reections
The evaluation reported that identifyingparticipants for the workshop using regionalcontacts and email contact lists worked well.Nearly all participants valued the networkingfrom these meetings (Crozier, 2004).
The evaluation reported that between 12and 14 participants at each workshop was anappropriate number to undertake the maintasks required, particularly when it cameto splitting into small groups. The authorsrecalled that lower numbers than this (eg oneworkshop with nine people) interrupted theplanned structure of the workshops as it wasnot easy to split into two separate groups todiscuss the two case studies presented.
Learning points from running the workshops