Do’s & Don’ts
Do’s Before A Workshop
- DO think about digital skills in a broad sense. Digital skills encompass a huge range of things from navigating the web to identifying fake news, phishing scams and hoaxes. You can refer to the module What is Dig Comp 2.1? to understand the full range of digital skills.
- DO invite participants personally and invest time in getting to know them and their needs in daily life, as well as their hopes and aspirations. After all, digital skills are not an end in and of themselves, but tools.
- DO think about alternative ways you can reach vulnerable groups, especially if you cannot meet in person. In Finland, facilitators set up technical helplines (via telephone) to troubleshoot digital issues. In Poland, some facilitators planned in person one-to-one ‘pre-workshop’ meetings with workshop participants, introducing them to the online tools used for digital skills workshops. Polish facilitators also found that elderly citizens often seek places to meet new people and talk. Using this as a starting point can therefore be a great way to reach out to this group.
- DO encourage former workshop participants (especially those who were previously reluctant themselves) to promote the workshops. Word of mouth is one of the best ways of advertising workshops.
- DO consider forming partnerships with other organisations – it can be a great way to reach vulnerable groups.
- DO build on existing events. For example, facilitators in Belgium ran their book club online, with participants making short videos to talk about the books they had read. Another facilitator transformed their monthly Sunday breakfast into an online event. This helps participants develop digital skills in a fun and relaxed way.
- DO consider linking your workshops to practical tasks, for example online banking, registrations for vaccinations or filing tax returns. This will help potential participants to see the workshop’s usefulness and to maintain their motivation, as well as to develop their understanding of their need for digital skills. Also, it will fight against the participants’ actual or potential exclusion from society.
- DO weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of online workshops. For example, you may need to spend some additional time talking with participants before workshops and checking they have the right equipment, but thanks to online workshops you will be able to reach many more people.
- DO familiarise yourselves with the different online platforms and interactive tools available. The Guide: Planning Online Workshops can help.
- DO think about the length of your workshops. In Poland, facilitators have found that five short online sessions were more useful than two longer ones.
Do’s During A Workshop
- DO devote time and energy to creating a positive, calm and reassuring learning environment, which will be conducive to learning. It can be tempting to jump straight into the technical subject matter, but spending time reassuring participants and creating a climate of trust will make the workshop more effective.
- DO think about the way that you are presenting yourself. If you seem to be an expert for whom digital tasks are all very easy, this could give workshop participants the impression that digital things come naturally to some people and not others. Reinforce the idea that you had to learn these skills too.
- DO create opportunities for the participants to act autonomously and lead, whatever their initial level. For example, ask participants to talk about their actions and to analyse them. This will help them to grow in confidence and autonomy.
- DO use simple language to explain what you are doing and how you are doing it.
- DO use metaphors to explain difficult concepts. For example, one Belgium facilitator explained the concept of fixed mobile data by likening it to a fixed amount of money.
- DO adopt a small steps strategy. Gaining one new skill will inspire learners to learn another and so on…
- DON’T give up! It may seem obvious, but the hardest thing is often to start delivering workshops. Many other facilitators across Europe find facilitation challenging (particularly online) but it gets easier!
- DON’T think that you have to be a technical genius to deliver digital skills workshops. As a facilitator, much of your role is instead about creating a friendly and reassuring atmosphere. And remember, the resources in the Digital Travellers Library of Resources are there to help you with delivering workshops!