Template:WPG D1

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Objectives describe the major steps that participants must take in order to progress from the current situation at the beginning of the workshop to the desired situation at the end of the workshop. The desired situation is what the workshop is aiming towards. If all objectives are fulfilled, then the workshop’s aim has been achieved.

Your own experiences in ICT / media may suggest that difficult challenges can be overcome by teams of people who work together over a period of time to find a realistic solution. You may also know that it is unlikely that a roomful of strangers will find a solution to a difficult capacity building challenge in only a few days. Unfortunately, this is exactly what some standalone workshops expect from their participants, by setting too many unrealistic objectives.

Five (5) General Objectives

The facilitator’s job is to set specific objectives that will realise the workshop aim. These objectives will be different for every workshop and every aim. But to give you some idea, here are some general objectives which often appear in some form in many workshop plans: # Review of the current situation and comparable initiatives.

  1. Design of appropriate response.
  2. Creation of new process / tool / content.
  3. Testing or application of new process / tool / content.
  4. Measurement of success / impact; planning next steps.

Be disciplined

It’s possible to set too many objectives for the time available in one workshop. This might be due to your desire to provide as much information as possible while all your participants are together. Or perhaps your funding body tells you that it has certain objectives that must be achieved during the workshop. To avoid setting too many objectives:

  • Be disciplined.
  • Set the minimum number of objectives which fulfill the workshop aim.
  • Be guided by your workshop’s budget, duration, and what you can reasonably expect from your participants.

There is a good discussion about objectives in How to Run a Workshop by Moynihan et al. (2004, Amsterdam) http://www.networklearning.org/library/task,cat_view/gid,42/

D1 – Example: setting objectives for an HIV/AIDS content creation workshop

A facilitator is planning a workshop on behalf of a Kenyan university radio station and – by following Exercises C4, C5 and C6 – has defined both the aim of the workshop and the wider strategy to which it will contribute:

  1. The aim of this workshop is to repurpose existing HIV/AIDS curriculum material for a university FM radio station.
  2. The wider strategy to which this workshop will contribute is to provide health information to university students.
  3. By achieving its aim, this workshop will contribute to wider strategy by creating local content for broadcast to students and young people via the university FM station; therefore promoting safer health practices.

(Comment.gif: Note that this is definitely a workshop, using our definition. The participants will be coming together to update something (in this case, HIV/AIDS content) that is intended to promote change in the target community of students and youth.)

Here is a set of specific objectives adapted from the Five (5) General Objectives:

Review of the current situation

  • Current HIV/AIDS education initiatives.
  • Recent and current station programming.
  • Health statistics about the target community.

Review of comparable communities / initiatives

  • What kind of health programming is available through other media?
  • What lessons can be learned from other initiatives?

Re-purposing existing HIV/AIDS material=

  • Who is the audience?
  • What programme ideas do the audience and material suggest?

Producing new content

  • Scripting, recording, editing.

New content evaluation

  • What do key stakeholders think about the new content, including: target audience (students and youth); station management; funding body.

Assessment and next steps

  • Who will be responsible for creating new content after the workshop?
  • How will this be assessed on an ongoing basis?
  • How can we broaden this approach beyond HIV/AIDS education?

D2 – Task: Setting Specific Objectives

  • Review your workshop aim and its contribution to organisational strategy.
  • Set three (3) specific objectives for the participants to fulfill, which will lead the group to successfully achieve the aim (you can add more later).
  • Feel free to adapt the Five (5) General Objectives.
  • Be disciplined!

Objective #1

[type objective 1.]

Objective #2

[type objective 2.]

Objective #3

[type objective 3.]

When you have finished Exercise D2, check your new objectives carefully and ask yourself exactly how the successful completion of these objectives by participants will achieve the workshop aim.

Don’t try to change behaviour

Some workshops try to change the behaviour of the participants or the community that they represent. Or perhaps the facilitator is trying to solve a problem or improve a relationship that has deteriorated over a long period of time. For example:

  • Making station managers respect community volunteers.
  • Encouraging marginalised villagers to use a telecentre.

Your single workshop may include activities that could help to improve these situations; but it’s very unlikely that you will be able to change behaviour in a few days. These kinds of problems are very difficult to solve, and a short workshop is probably not the correct tool to use.