Hybrid workshops: Staff as ‘experts’, students as facilitators

Chin, Paul A.

Skills; Peer support; Collaboration



A Pecha Kucha presentation given at the Northern Collaboration Conference, 13th September 2013.

The Skills Team at Hull has developed a hybrid approach to delivering study skills workshops. Previously, students could attend either staff- or student-led workshops (with ‘Skills Leaders’ trained in facilitation techniques). In hindsight, this proved confusing to participants and potentially undermined the value of students as learning developers as expectations were sometimes not fully met.

For introductory topics, staff-led workshops were time-consuming and promoted dependency. For more advanced topics, student-led workshops lacked specialist input and enough common knowledge for Skills Leaders to facilitate meaningful discussions and base activities.

Our hybrid approach was therefore developed; workshops start with 20-30mins of intensive content delivery (by a Skills Adviser) on which the student-led portions of the workshop can build. Skills Leader credibility is enhanced by co-hosting the session. Staff leave the room during the student-facilitated activities/discussions to provide an environment that nurtures independent learning. Expectations change as students must collaborate and debate to draw their own conclusions and solutions.

Skills Leaders still independently run some sessions on ‘Getting ready to study at University’ as new students seem to be comfortable getting this basic advice from their peers. We also feel that some more complex topics work well as staff-led ‘Master classes’ (encouraging more high-achievers to engage in learning development activities).

The hybrid workshops are nevertheless our most frequently used model as they allow us to provide independent learning development provision without jeopardising quality of content. Very positive evaluations show that these are also meeting the expectations of those attending.

The University of Hull
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