Unconventional Facilitation: Gamesercises
We live in a post-information age where search engines, online encyclopaedias, and AI technologies are enabling us to access and create information with more ease and speed than before. In this world, human minds no longer need to be the repository for facts and information; memory work and rote learning can no longer meet our changing learning needs.
How can we shift from the act of teaching—imparting information to learners—to focus truly on facilitating learning? Perhaps the way forward isn’t always to search for something new, but to return to the basics.
On 12 October 2023, 49 participants joined us for Unconventional Facilitation: Gamesercises, a community event hosted in collaboration with Francis Laleman of Agile Facilitation Beyond Borders, to explore alternative approaches to learning.
Participants were introduced to a range of activities that draw inspiration from drama practitioner Augusto Boal’s Gamesercises. These activities are influenced by the movement-based qualities of exercises and the playfulness and collective nature of games.
Drawing Space, for instance, invited participants to use their hands to outline features of the room and other participants, turning their attention to space and their interactions with the people around them. The following activities, Human Zipper and the Human Machine, built on this by encouraging participants to listen to each other as a way to collectivise knowledge, allowing it to flow between learners.
In a mini lecture that followed, Francis introduced some essential ideas underpinning the Gamesercises:
- Play-based learning is powerful. In childhood, we learned playfully and naturally through daily experiences and watching the world that unfolds around us. Even as we become adults, we carry this capacity to learn unconsciously; we build up knowledge that is shared, but perhaps not yet given a chance to be externalised.
- Focus on exformation, not information. We are not containers to be filled with knowledge; knowledge is already inside us, cultivated through our countless day-to-day experiences.
- Don’t teach; choreograph for learning. If we learn to see through the lens of exformation and play-based learning, we can design learning experiences that draw out the collective wisdom within us, allowing us to share it with each other.
As the evening wound down, participants reflected on their learning and posted sticky notes with ideas that stood out for them, including:
- Learning can be explorational and experiential
- It’s about listening and observing first
- Noticing people’s energy
- Pay knowledge forward
- Building collective wisdom
- Being present and participating somatically
- Listening to connect
- Playful learning is emergent
Francis invited the participants to walk around the room and read each other’s notes, choose one, and pen it down on a balloon. The session ended on a joyful note with the balloons being tossed into the air, kept afloat by the group’s willingness to see and engage with each other’s ideas, to stay in a space of shared learning.
Gamesercises was a preview of Unconventional Facilitation: Awareness Design and Exformative Play, a masterclass on 30 November 2023 that Studio Dojo is offering in collaboration with Francis.
If you’re keen to learn more about the activities and principles introduced above, sign up by 22 November! https://www.studiodojo.com/events/unconventional-facilitation/