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It’s All About Relationships

When you are creating a lesson, a course, a workshop, or a training program, it is easy to get caught up in all of the details. You might be thinking about the transformation that you want your participants to understand and experience, what content you want to include, what online platform you want to use, and how you are going to market and launch your learning experience. It is easy to focus on the what and the how. It is easy to lose sight of or to not focus on the opportunity that learning experiences present to build and foster relationships in meaningful ways.

Why Relationships?
  1. The Participants: Keeping relationships at the forefront, reminds us of who the learning experience is for – our participants, students, clients, customers, and communities. It is not about us. What questions do they have? What knowledge do they already have? What are their struggles? What are they hoping to learn, know, understand, and be able to do?


  2. Engagement: Prioritizing relationships reminds us to be mindful of making our lessons engaging. How can we capture attention? How can we use stories and examples to make the lessons come to life? How can we encourage our participants to be actively engaged in the learning experience? How can we make the content relevant and meaningful?


  3. “When One Teaches, Two Learn” (Robert Heinlein): A relationship centered approach reminds us that the learning experience is as much an opportunity for the instructor, leader, or teacher to learn as it is for the participants. What questions are being asked? What feedback is being offered? What could be potential next steps? How could the learning experience be tweaked or adjusted to be better aligned with participant needs?


Strategies to make relationships a part of your learning experiences
  1. Look and Listen: Get clarity on who your learners are and what they want to know, do, and/or understand. What are their interests, learning styles, circumstances, struggles, questions, needs, learning motivations, and goals? Have conversations, ask questions, read posts in Facebook groups, and/or do Google searches. Do your research.


  2. Tell Stories: Examples, exemplars, and stories give us a clear representation or idea of what could be or should be achieved. They can take a more abstract concept, idea, or theory and create clarity by translating it into action and practice. Stories can be an incredible tool for engagement in learning because they draw us in, and they evoke our thoughts, emotions, and imaginations. They leave a lasting impression and they help things to just make more sense. Courses can be particularly impactful when our learners can take what they are learning and weave them into their own lived experiences, stories, and journeys.


  3. Ask for Feedback: Identify ways to intentionally note and collect feedback on your course and the course experience from your participants both during and after so that you can implement adjustments and make improvements.


    1. CHECK INS – Touch base with participants to see how they are doing and prompt them to reach out with questions, concerns, wins, and challenges.


    2. CHECKPOINTS – Gauge participant understanding  by using pre and post assessments, checklists, reflective questions, and action items applying new concepts and ideas.


    3. FEEDBACK – Find out what participants found to be most helpful, useful, or interesting. Learn about their biggest takeaways, what could be improved, changed, or removed, and what they would have liked to spend more time on or less time on.

Building and fostering relationships is one of my core values and has been key in the teaching and learning experiences that I have been a part of including working with and mentoring teachers-to-be and developing curriculums and courses. I would love to hear about how you have found creative and effective ways to implement relationship building strategies into your learning experiences and the positive benefits that have come from this!



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About Me

Thanks for stopping by! I’m Tiana, a passionate educator, lifelong learner, and Calgary mom of 3. This is a place to support you and inspire you on your course creation or training program journey and it is always growing! If you have questions about creating courses or training programs or ideas, tips, or resources that could be helpful to others, please reach out and let me know!

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