Community Initiative Creation – Ms. Abrar Abdullah Gilani

Participants Overview

Number: 15

Gender: Males and Females

Occupation: leaders and members of a student club at Taibah University

Age Group: between 18 and 24 years old

Introduction

One prominent feature that distinguishes FIRST-ADLX Framework is the harmony and integration among its five domains, reflecting a comprehensive approach that enhances the Active Deep Learner eXperience.
It all started with a request from a student club at Taibah University student clubs to conduct a workshop on “Community Initiatives Development.”

A pre-existing program was selected and modified extensively to align with the framework’s methodology, incorporating scientific projects and adapting activities accordingly.

The journey’s design was planned with a focus on the ASK (Attitude-Skill-Knowledge) learning outcomes, the learner’s persona, and the change we look forward to achieving by the end of the journey.

It was designed to be conducted both in-person and remotely, synchronously and asynchronously, and different activities including the WhatsApp interactions, opening activity, and learning activity were allocated 15 minutes.

The journey started with an interactive session on WhatsApp, where the facilitation team introduced themselves and encouraged the participants to introduce themselves as well. They were invited to share the following information:

– Their esteemed names
– Their wonderful departments
– The club activity they are most excited about

By sharing these details, participants were able to establish a personal connection and create an engaging and enthusiastic atmosphere within the group.
As for my applications of FIRST-ADLX Framework, I implemented the domains and principles of FIRST as follows:

Focusing on Learnerrrrrrrrrr Behaviours

Individualization Principle

To establish a sense of individualization and cater to the unique needs of each participant, the following strategies were employed:
– Participants introduced themselves on WhatsApp, and I responded to each participant’s introduction with an emoji reaction. This personalized acknowledgment helped create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.
– Before the synchronous session started, the principle of individualization was applied by inquiring about their respective majors and referencing some of the comments shared during the WhatsApp introductions. This fostered a sense of individual attention and recognition.
– An ice-breaking activity was conducted to further reinforce the principle of individualization. Each participant was asked to introduce themselves, sharing their name, department, and an initiative in which they had actively participated and made a positive impact. Additionally, participants wrote their names on pieces of paper placed in front of them, facilitating easier name recall for me as the facilitator.
– Throughout the workshop, participants were addressed by their names, emphasizing their contributions and actively engaging with them. Being attentive to their participation and using supportive body language played a crucial role in deepening the sense of individualization.

I found great satisfaction in incorporating the principle of individualization into the journey. It has helped me to open channels of communication with all participants, particularly those who may initially exhibit shyness or reservation. I prioritized individualized attention and interaction, ensuring their integration and active participation until I observed a positive shift in their level of engagement and integration within the group dynamics.

Probing and Assessing Principle

The principle of probing and assessing was effectively implemented through the following activities:

– Participants were guided through the process of understanding the initiative life cycle. I monitored them, probed, and assessed their learning while they were exploring key questions such as identifying the need for the initiative, determining the foundational aspects, and recognizing the necessary changes.
– A group activity was conducted to foster a deeper understanding of where to begin from. Participants worked collaboratively to determine the foundation from which to start and the specific changes that needed to be made. The activity encouraged discussions, allowing participants to express their ideas and opinions. Throughout the process, I was monitoring their progress, facilitated their work, and clarifying any possible ambiguities.
– To assess and verify the effectiveness of the initiative, a rubric to assess the community needs was utilized. Participants got engaged in a structured process to identify and evaluate the specific needs within their community. This activity enabled a comprehensive assessment of the initiative’s alignment with community requirements. Again, my role was to facilitate, probe, and assess throughout the activity.

Trust the Learner Principle

In FIRST Framework, all principles work in harmony, like gears in a precisely designed machine. Among these principles, trusting the learner stands as a foundational gear. Without this trust, the effectiveness of other principles may be compromised. Trusting the learners’ skills and experiences is crucial, and the process of facilitation is mutually beneficial.
To foster trust, I provided the participants with different opportunities to be in charge of their own learning. For instance, I posted, shared, and built upon their comments. I also utilized the “Pull” method, using thought-provoking questions to encourage participants to express their opinions and draw from their previous experiences.
By upholding the principle of trust in the learner, a supportive and inclusive learning environment was created, and the participants were empowered to contribute actively and benefit not only them but also me as a facilitator. Recognizing the learners as valuable stakeholders enhanced the overall effectiveness of the learner eXperience.

Interacting within Positive Group Dynamics Domain

Social Event

To achieve this principle, which aims primarily for all trainees to interact with each other, a variety of activities were included. These activities ranged from individual activities such as ice-breaking exercises (introducing participants to each other and the traffic signal activity), to group activities and cooperative closure. During the closure, participants were asked to form a circle, and a ball was thrown to a participant who would catch it and share his/her feelings after the session. The nature of the activities varied, some requiring reflective thinking, some encouraging discussion and idea exchange, and others involving movement. All activities were conducted in a safe environment, free from stress and anxiety.

Positive Spirit

Since you are the one who is facilitating this journey, the positive spirit comes through from you. Any tension or emotions will be noticed and apparent to the participants. I have observed that smiling and welcoming the participants is the key to initiating a positive atmosphere in the meeting. The pre-opener has significantly contributed to spreading a positive spirit among the participants and making them laugh, which has positively influenced their interaction and integration throughout the eXperience.

Motivation and Attention

In my opinion, the safe environment activity greatly contributes to motivating participants to interact, discuss, and express their opinions comfortably and confidently. Usually, I start my training workshops with this activity immediately after the ice-breaking exercise. I inform them that we are here on this journey to accept all perspectives and opinions, embracing the differences that have formed since our childhood and diverse experiences. I also clarify that each of us has his/her own unique experiences, and we are here to learn from and benefit from these experiences to satisfy our needs, as our needs are also different. These needs can only be satisfied through interaction and exchanging opinions and experiences, which may result in new or completely different perspectives. Additionally, active participation in group or individual discussions, enhancing and affirming certain opinions, significantly contributes to achieving the principle of motivation and attention, which I also emphasized in this journey.

Furthermore, the diversity of methods and activities in the eXperience kept the participants constantly engaged. Using group activities encouraged their participation and prevented them from feeling bored or monotonous. Moreover, incorporating questioning techniques and utilizing real-life storytelling and varied vocal tones all contributed to keeping the participants mentally present throughout the session.

Reviewing Actively with RAR Model

The application of the principles of this domain does not yield the desired results and impact without considering the other domains and the principles. Although this principle is specific to activities and the design of each activity, I consider it as the main nerve that leaves a practical learning impact on the participant in order to achieve different learning outcomes (attitude-skill-knowledge). Moreover, it goes beyond that to reflect on the participant’s personal life. Thus, we have moved towards the circle of impact in the participant’s life. This is what distinguishes the use of the RAR model and makes it the essence of the domains from my perspective.

Readiness Increase

“Readiness Increase” started with planning the journey, identifying its milestones, and carefully planning the activities. This included developing the concept of each activity, determining its tools, and considering its outcomes in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA), while prioritizing the activation of outcomes in the ASK sequence. All these factors contributed to helping the participant achieve the desired learning outcomes.

A presentation for the eXperience was prepared, motivational messages were sent prior to the journey to remind participants, and tools were distributed on the tables for each group ahead of time. Printed materials and specific tools for each activity were also prepared.

Furthermore, a detailed schedule was created for each activity, including the activity name, its mechanism (individual, tea party, group work, whole-class activity), activity type (pre-opener, opener, learning activity, energizer, closure), duration, learning outcome (ASK), and energy level.

Providing clear instructions, distributing the tools used, and assigning time all contributed to “Readiness Increase”.

Activity Facilitation

The participants were closely monitored during the execution of the activity, which was important for the eXperience.

Reviewing Actively

“Reviewing Actively” was based on the learning outcomes planned, and certain activities were designed, and it focused on emphasizing the cognitive application and proficiency in using important tools in order to identify community needs, such as the Community Needs Assessment Rubric. Additionally, the activity –as depicted in the picture below- has been designed and implemented to target skillful execution of initiatives at the skills level and personal reflection at an emotional level.

Sequencing Activities within the eXperience Flow

This domain revolves significantly around the learner, emphasizing his/her high level of engagement, avoiding boredom, and ensuring full emotional, mental, and physical presence as the activities flow. As a facilitator, I focused on the learner as a whole human (mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional states), rather than solely on activities or completing the learning material.

Structuring and Sequencing

Organizing the journey with all its details and sequencing the activities in a cohesive and coherent manner, starting from adding participants to WhatsApp groups until the journey ends, in addition to focusing on the learner during the activities (the adventures) and sessions (trips) were some of this principle’s applications. Additionally, there was a variety in the energy level of the activities (the adventures) and their duration, which helped the participant maintain a high level of concentration. Some energizers were also included to sustain the learner’s emotional, mental, and physical engagement, and in turn to sustain a smooth flow of the sessions.

Activity Name Activity Type Learning Outcomes Duration Outcome TypeEnergy Level
Introduce Yourself Opener/Icebreaker -Increase Comfort and Relaxation-Promote positivity 5 mins AttitudeMedium
Puzzle (Concept) Learning Activity/Cooperative Learning -Induce terms -unscramble sentences and identify the concept 7mins KnowledgeHigh
Case Study (The domains) Learning Activity/Pair Work -Recognize the different domains-Realize the overlapping of the domains in every initiative 4 mins KnowledgeMedium
What if? Learning Activity/Individual + Group discussion -Reflect on the possibility of having many initiatives to serve one single domain-Reflect on the possibility of having an initiative which serves more than one domain 5 mins Attitude Low
Question Time: What are your suggestions to renovate the room? Learning Activity/Cooperative Learning -Understand that analyzing the needs of the learners is essential before  suggesting solutions 5 mins KnowledgeMedium
Story Time Learning Activity/Pull and Push/Discussion -Narrate the story’s main events 15 mins KnowledgeLow
Learning Activity/Pair Work -Reflect on the lessons learnt from the story-Decide on actions to take inspired by the story’s events KnowledgeMedium
Learning Activity/Pair Work -Reflect on reality and decide on steps to take on a personal level directly after today’s session AttitudeLow

 

Repetition without Boredom

This principle was activated synchronously in the classroom by reviewing general information after each learning activity and asking some questions. It was also activated asynchronously by sharing YouTube videos that reinforce some of the concepts previously learned on the WhatsApp group, and encouraging discussion and interaction within the group.

Linking and Summarizing

The principle helped reinforce what was learned and connect different parts together.  To apply it, I asked the participants to work in groups and create a mind map or any other infographic to show what they had learned from the beginning of the workshop until the end. Then, the participants shared their designs and briefly described them.

Transforming Learning into Performance Domain

Reflection on Reality & Practicing and Experiencing

The journey, which primarily focuses on the planning stage, was scheduled to coincide with the execution stage. This overlap between planning and execution had a negative impact on the participants’ actual performance. Consequently, this domain was not implemented as intended or planned. However, we can learn from this experience the importance of the Performance Equation (Performance Equation = Desire X Opportunity X Ability). From what I observed, the participants’ focus was solely on implementing initiatives and activities and achieving specific targets. Since using these tools requires additional effort and time, the use of the tools and the scientific methods was not prioritized due to the reasons mentioned above.

Continuity and Follow-Up

This principle was applied by encouraging self-directed learning and providing the group with knowledge resources such as readings and short videos in the field of community initiative development.

 

Abrar Abdullah Gilani – Medina, Saudi Arabia.  

  • Advisor for Establishing Volunteer Work Units according to the Saudi National Volunteering Standard – King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
  • Health Volunteering Establishment Advisor at the Health Volunteering Center
  • Former Employee at Taibah University
Write a comment