The Pattern Language Network

Taming web2.0 in Higher Education

Three or four workshops?

Posted by Janet Finlay on February 9, 2009

I’m in the process of writing a script for our short Planet video and have been pondering on both the practice and the theory of the workshops model. We have defined it as a three-workshop model: cases to candidate patterns; candidate patterns to patterns; patterns applied to scenarios. But there seems to be a fourth activity that we have all done – which doesn’t seem to fit well into this model: mapping patterns. Whether that is attempting to develop a community language or attempting to map patterns to an existing structure, this has been a core activity in several workshops. So do we actually have a four workshop model?

I suspect part of the answer is that the boundaries are fluid – a “workshop” is not necessarily a discrete event but a collection of activities that might actually take place over the course of a number of face to face meetings – and, conversely, different groups will work at different speeds and may combine elements of several workshops into one meeting. But the fact remains that there are four distinct activities – and, unless we find the holy grail of a single organising structure, all four will generally be needed. At the moment I am putting mapping and use together – but maybe we need a four phase process?

3 Responses to “Three or four workshops?”

  1. yishaym said

    I don’t think mapping is a distinct localised activity. Ideally it should be almost a ritual that is invoked in any transition, and revisited again and again. We found mapping very instrumental in helping participants to shift from cases to patterns. If we had the time, we would have liked to return to their maps after they had developed their patterns, and see how they had changed.

    Nevertheless – I agree, its more a three phase model than a three workshop one. Sometimes we had two “workshops” in one, sometimes we had a “2.5” workshop..

  2. Janet Finlay said

    This is interesting as it is a different type of mapping to what we have done in our workshops. We used it as a way of identifying links between patterns and exploring possible organising structures. Perhaps this is not always needed and I can see how it can be done at different stages but I do think it is an important transition as it is the transition from individual patterns to pattern language. I like the idea of transitions: case story to candidate pattern; candidate pattern to pattern; patterns to pattern language – these are the elicitation phases. Then there is a use phase which is a different type of transition (problem to solution?).

    Phases or transitions might work better – but for now I will stick to 3 workshops for the video!

  3. […] Three or four workshops? […]

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