Grinch Manifesto for Work based learning.

By way of introduction……

“Grinchyface” – Don’t you know who I was???? – (Phew)

This is a kick off – a provocation piece – not an example of what I am describing.

Just because you experienced acts of pedagogical atrocity in your life does not mean you need to perpetrate the same upon your colleagues.  If you need evidence of that, consider the insane approach to online learning of some of the schools your children attend.

The facilitation of learning doesn’t require a slide deck.

The most important component of learning is holding a conversation.

You cannot assume anything about the people you are going to help to learn.  Ask about what people know, not what they have done.

Two Ronnies – Wallpaper


I am not using any of tropes and language of teaching and authority.  Facilitation of learning is not teaching – because facilitation is done with consent.

This is Flipped Learning.

Some learning theories:

Learning Stinks – not everyone enjoys it. Failure is a key part of learning and self- teaching.

Constructivism – build on what you know – scaffolding – breadcrumb trail.

Social Constructionism (Seymour Papert – Logo) – learn by making – Project Based Learning –

Zone of Proximal Development – standing on the shoulders of giants

Project Based Learning – learn a group of skills from different subject in one holistic project or theme (Lion Witch and Wardrobe)

Problem Based Learning – define your own learning based on a common problem – many paths lead to nirvana.

Assessment of Learning – Testing – Summative – hoop jumping not learning!

Assessment for Learning – Coaching – Formative – deep sticky learning.

Plan – Teach – Check – Repeat

Reflective Praxis – explaining what you learned and making knowing changes to your practice. (Paolo Friere) Pedagogy of the Opressed

Spiralling Curriculum – sometimes you need to leave something for while a revisit it.




(Well – it’s the other way around – this style of constructivist/constructionist pedagogy has been around since the  1970s)

How to start:

Assume nothing.  DO YOUR RESEARCH.  Before you can help someone learn, you need to know what they know.  You need to do that before you can plan anything.

  • Share the intended outcomes of the course or qualification you are helping people to achieve with the people you are helping.  Let’s call this the “curriculum”.
  • Ask the people you are helping which parts of the curriculum they feel confident in and which parts feel like knowledge gaps and then engage in a conversation to decide together as a group which parts of it the course should focus on.
  • Talk to the people on the course – some will know more than others, sometimes they will know more than you and be on the course for the certification.  Be transparent with them, ask them for help to support those who are struggling.

How to plan:

You have a Release date – or a date for the exam, work backwards from there, with the people you are helping to learn.

Set up ceremony dates – you need:

A kick off – make sure everyone is on the same page & define the backlog of learning chunks.

Sprints – Chunks of the curriculum – of appropriate lengths – sometimes short sometimes long- there is no 2 week rule.

Stand ups – to check in on everyone’s progress and ensure no-one is left behind. Decide on the frequency and style together

Show and Tell – to celebrate moments of enlightenment and progress

Critical Incident Reviews – to unpick problems – these may be for individuals, the whole cohort or a small group.

Retros & Backlog Refinement – to regroup, replan, redefine the goals for the next sprint.

How to facilitate learning:

Usually course materials are easily available and there is no point in creating new resources, repurpose what already exists.

Assessment for learning is at the core of everything – that’s a conversation.

Conversation Tools

Asynchronous conversation (Slack Channel) – encourage everyone to use a private slack channel for the course and use it to ask questions, share useful resources and seek support — you will find the learners ask questions of each other and solve problems together – sticky learning.  Pose questions for the group – monitor it for areas of misunderstanding.  (Twitter)

WeeknotesA Learning Journal (google doc/blog) for each learner can really help explaining what you have learned in a journal can create sticky learning – it also enables the facilitator  to check understanding.  Sometimes paired journals can enable deeped sticky learning, you might use experienced colleagues to monitor and coach a cluster of learners.

Online seminars – these could be short inputs from appropriate experts or discussions about problems & misunderstandings you notice in the date you gathered from the Weeknotes or Slack Channel.  Not everyone will need to do all of everything.  Use the slack channel for questions and comments during the seminar.  Sometimes having an MC and running them as a ‘sofa chat’ can work.

Zoom & Miro – amazing advanced Ninja stuff – I’d need to phone a friend!

Summative Assessment – the Exam – take it when you are ready – don’t hold people back, don’t push people.  If someone fails the exam, your assessment for learning wasn’t good enough.


Success isn’t about the qualification – success is a workforce with skills that make the business work faster and better – the ‘ticket’ is a by product of the learning – not the goal.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s