Instructional Skills Workshop & Facilitator Development Workshop

Internationally recognized, the Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) is an intensive 24-hour (4 day) program that introduces participants to a learner-focused, evidence based framework for teaching, which they implement and reflect upon through a peer based feedback cycle process. The ISW draws new and seasoned instructors from across the disciplines including graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, sessional instructors and full time faculty and staff.

Through developing and delivering three, ten minute micro-lessons, program participants practice:

  • Constructing and implementing learning outcomes
  • Writing useful and practical lesson plans
  • Conducting participatory lessons
  • Developing creative ways to make lesson content relevant to learners
  • Using basic techniques to pre and post assess student learning
  • Implementing reflective practice to enhance teaching
  • Giving and receiving effective feedback

Faculty members who have completed the ISW, are interested in enhancing their educational leadership skills, and supported by their faculties and/or departments to do so, are welcome to take the Facilitator Development Workshop. Similar to the ISW, the FDW is an intensive 24-hour program that trains individuals to facilitate the ISW program. Along with demonstrating expertise in the ISW program framework, FDW trainees gain competence in leading and facilitating the peer feedback cycle and the reflective practice process. Following the FDW, participants complete their training by facilitating an ISW in an apprenticeship at the EDU. Once training is complete, individuals join our expanding community of ISW facilitators and are supported to organize and offer the program in their departments or in conjunction with other faculties or departments.

Related Documentation and Materials

Since January of 2014, 145 individuals have participated in 8 ISW programs. We currently offer approximate 3 programs per year and consistently have a wait list of at least 10 individuals. As the Facilitator Development Workshop graduate list continues to grow, it is expected that faculties and departments will take leadership on the delivery of the ISW program within their units.

Since the summer of 2014, 8 faculty members have been trained as ISW facilitators. FDW training is typically offered once per year and we consistently have a wait list of interested individuals.

Growth Word Cloud
Word cloud from ISW Facilitators’ Gathering, December 2014, answering the question: What is the value of the Instructional Skills Workshop?

Assessment Strategies and Results

All ISWs are evaluated by participants upon completion of the program. These surveys include both quantitative and qualitative data.

A University of Calgary Teaching and Learning Grant is currently investigating the development, implementation, and evaluation of an online ISW program.

Reflection and Impact

Through critical reflection, and peer feedback and support, the ISW offers a transformative learning experience. The program is useful as it:

  • Introduces (or reiterates) the idea of teaching by design through creating lessons that are aligned to learning outcomes
  • Emphasizes student-centered approaches to teaching
  • Offers opportunities to practice, reflect, receive and apply feedback

In the future we will continue to offer ISWs at the Educational Development Unit (typically three per year) and support the facilitators that we have trained in the FDW to organize and deliver the program in their faculties. This will increase the capacity of ISW and assure that the program is meeting the demand placed upon it by the University of Calgary community. FDWs will also be offered annually so that we can continue to grow our group of faculty facilitators for the program, thus expanding teaching and learning leadership capacity on campus.

 We also plan to create effective online resources for the purpose of developing a blended ISW program in the future.

Project collaborators: Carol Berenson, Isabelle Barrette-Ng

ePortfolio post authors: Carol Berenson, Haboun Bair

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