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Prepping for Pop-Up Classes–make the most of impromptu learning events

Following a growing trend at universities around the country, Pop-Up Classes are emerging in corporate training world as well.

Pop-Ups

Popup classes are short workshops that aren’t part of a standard curriculum. Rather, they are impromptu learning events that give learners the chance to explore a hot new topic or bring much needed material to an eager group. Because they’re often put together quickly, having ready-to-go materials on-hand is key.

When I was travelling a lot with work, I assemble a second toiletry kit in order to save time packing. And of course, when I was pregnant, I had a bag ready for a quick departure to the hospital.

I like to do the same for training sessions–to have my basic kit ready-to-go. Then, all I have to add are the particulars for the next event.

What to pack

  • The Bag: I like to start with a Big Tube,  30″ L x 7″ D. It let’s me carry most of what I need in a convenient package
  • Wizard Wall Whiteboard: rather than worrying about the availability of flip charts and whiteboards, Wizard Wall let’s me create a dry-erase surface in 2 minutes, literally. Electronics are great, but I’m still old-school in my preference to record contributions in real time. Creating visual record ideas, which can be perused without looking at a computer screen or PED (personal electronic device), is invaluable.
  • Dry-erase Markers: Don’t run the risk of event spaces not having markers, or having only markers without ink. Think of markers like your toothpaste!
  • UNZIP-it! or Thumball: I like to start with a quick icebreaker to put people at ease, establish goals for the day, and get folks accustomed to talking and participating. Each of these communication starter tools provides a physical experience that is playful and can be customized to the needs of your session and group.
  • Fidget Toys – just because you’re traveling light you don’t have to forego the fun stuff! An On-the-Go Fiddle Set (or two) will pack nicely into your tube and establish a playful environment.
  • Sticky Notes – I like to keep something in my bag to foster participation. Sticky notes pack light but are an excellent facilitation tool enabling individuals to record thoughts anonymously and post them to a central location, for sorting, prioritization, or future reference. Start-Stop-Continue-Change Notes are a personal favorite. They prompt users to think about the actions they’ll pursue once the learning or training event is over.
  • Million Dollar Bills – such an easy way to say “thanks a million” for contributions, or to award a “big prize” to a winning team.
  • Starburst – okay, I know this is random and not so healthy by today’s standards, but as a kid I always kept a handful of Starburst in my gymnastics bag, for a quick sugar fix. I suppose you could pack some nuts, granola or fruit, but I don’t know that they’ll age well.

Focus on the Content

Understandably, the most difficult part of preparing for a Pop-up Class is the content. However, once you have all the logistical stuff easily taken care of, you can focus your time and energy on making the material memorable.

 

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