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Interactive Session Formats
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Compare and Contrast – Compare and contrast two sides of an issue. This can be done in a debate like format with presenters sharing opposing views and then responding to questions from the moderator and the audience.

Conversation that Matters – Discussion format. Attendees will participate in engaging facilitated conversations that explore questions/issues that matter. Conversations are facilitated by the content leader with thought-provoking questions and engaging table conversations. The majority of this session allows for attendee engagement but certainly the content leader needs to have the discussion topics prepared, and perhaps examples to spark conversation and thought. The moderator can bring the groups together towards the end of the session to do a large de-brief.

Deep Dive – 90 minutes learning session of a topic that is top of mind; mix of formal presentation and attendee interaction. The topic should be current and one that does not necessarily have clearly defined answers or outcomes e.g. new program models, innovation new idea generation, etc. After the formal session, attendees will have a designated place for the speaker(s) to hold a mini-session to dive deeper into the concepts and topics they presented on during their formal presentation. Mini-sessions will be held after the formal presentation during non-CME hours and they can be 20-30 minutes. 

Case Studies – Case studies can be one form of delivery for a 60- or 90-minute session, but if utilized it must include more than just the story of what transpired. Attendees want to know what factors were considered when critical decisions were made, what key information was either obtained or overlooked, what mistakes were made and what lessons were learned, and the applicability for their practices and organizations.

Speed Dating – Speed dating is a format meant to facilitate a quick exchange of information. This format requires more than one speaker in order to be successful. Speakers and learners will be spending a short amount of time exchanging ideas. Once the time is up, participants move. The session organizer must announce to the learners what speed dating is, the goal of the session, and to respect the clock. If learners like what they hear, a more in depth discussion can be had after the session.

Fish Bowl – The inner circle discusses an issue while the outer circle listens and takes notes on group dynamics, process or content. After a set time, the outer circle shares their observations. Then the groups switch and the process is repeated.

Jigsaw Grouping Brainstorm – Attendees are divided into separate groups each with a pre-established topic, facilitator, and flip chart. The participants brainstorm the topic of their group while someone keeps notes on a flip chart. After a prearranged time, members of the group separate and go to other tables where that table’s topic is discussed and the flip chart shared. The facilitator at each table helps start the brainstorming where the previous group ended. At the end, all charts are shared with the attendees.

Open Space Session – Open space is an umbrella term describing a variety of meeting formats where participants define the agenda with a rigorous process. All attendees contribute to the scope of the session, the agenda, groupings, and topics. This format is often used as problem solving tool or peer-engagement process.

Peer-To-Peer Round Table Discussions – This structured system provides peer engagement around specific topics. Attendees enter a room and each table has an established topic and facilitator. The facilitator follows a set of instructions to allow each table participant to help guide frame the discussion on three important ideas.

Role Plays – Role plays allow participants to create manageable versions of situations in which they can practice new behaviors and try new forms of communication. Participants can make and correct mistakes in a safe environment while preparing them to be more effective in real world situations.

World Café Model – A world café is a conversational forum that allows for in-depth exploration. Tables are set like a small café with approximately four to six seats each. A facilitator puts forth a topic and participants discuss for about 20 minutes. At the end of the allotted time, one participant stays behind and summarizes the conversation to the next group that comes to sit at the table. The other people move on to different tables and another round of conversations commences. At the conclusion of three rounds, the facilitator collects the conversation notes and shares with participants verbally, physically or electronically.

Knowledge Café – A variation on the world café, a knowledge café begins with participants seated in a circle of chairs or concentric circles of chairs. A facilitator explains the purpose and then introduces a topic and poses one or two open-ended questions. Participants break into groups to discuss the questions for about 45 minutes. Then, they return to the circle and the facilitator leads the full group through another 45-minute session during which people reflect on the small group discussions and share thoughts, insights and ideas. A knowledge café is ideal for between 15 and 50 participants. If there are more than 50 participants, it’s usually necessary to employ microphones, which can inhibit the flow of the conversation.

Spectogram – A spectogram highlights the range of perspectives in a group. A facilitator asks a question of interest and directs participants to take a stand along an agree–disagree spectrum, which can be imaginary or a physical strip marked out on the floor. The facilitator then interviews people at different points on the spectrum about the opinions they hold. This process creates a shared experience while demonstrating the range of opinions in a community. It can serve as an anchor for additional conversations.

Speed Geeking / Rapid Demos – Speed geeking allows participants to quickly view several presentations within a fixed period of time. Speakers present a 5-minute demonstration for a small audience. After five minutes, the audience moves on to the next demonstration station.

Buzz Group – Buzz groups are small units that break off from a larger assembly in order to generate ideas for the larger group to discuss or act upon. (The use of buzz groups was first associated with J. D. Phillips and is sometimes known as the Phillips 66 technique.) Large groups may be divided into buzz groups after an initial presentation in order to cover different aspects of a topic or maximize participation. Each group appoints a spokesperson to report the results of the discussion later.

7-14-28 – This consists of 7 minute talks on 14 slides with a font no smaller than 28 point. After the 7 minutes and time for questions and answers, the next presenter begins.

Flipped Classroom – Attendees complete pre-work readings before the session, so then they are able to participate in an engaged discussion onsite.

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