Cover Image
close this bookEducational Handbook for Health Personnel (WHO, 1998, 392 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentObjectives of the Handbook
View the documentPreface
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentFor whom is this Educational Handbook intended?
View the documentHow to use the Handbook
View the documentIdentification of your needs as an educator
View the documentList of educational objectives
View the documentTheoretical background that will help you reach the educational objectives of the workshop
View the documentRecapitulative table of exercises proposed in the Handbook
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 1: Priority health problems and educational objectives
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 2: Evaluation planning
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 3: The teaching-learning concept and programme construction
Open this folder and view contentsChapter 4: Test and measurement techniques
View the documentChapter 5: How to organize an educational workshop
View the documentChapter 6: Index and glossary
View the documentChapter 7: Bibliography
View the documentBack Cover

Chapter 5: How to organize an educational workshop


How to organize an educational workshop


The purpose of this chapter is to facilitate the task of anyone who wishes to prepare and run an educational workshop.

It contains the basic documents (or refers to the documents) required to organize a very short workshop (lasting 3 to 4 days), known as a mini-workshop.

The chapter obviously makes no claim to qualify the reader to organize all possible types of educational workshop regardless of the educational philosophy involved. The type of workshop proposed is designed to use the Educational Handbook as its source of theory.

Nevertheless, most of the general principles involved are also valid for longer workshops.

This chapter responds to a need often expressed by those attending workshops run by WHO: the wish to pass on knowledge of the systematic approach to educational problems to their colleagues by means of a short meeting.

The method proposed itself uses the systematic approach. It also stresses educational principles such as the following:

- allowing the participants to prepare and select the objectives to be reached will increase their motivation;

- giving the participants an active role will make teaching more effective;

- providing the participants with regular opportunities to see the progress they are making will increase learning speed and improve the quality of the knowledge and skills they acquire.


This chapter has been prepared for teachers who have attended at least one educational workshop, and thus know how such meetings operate, and are familiar with the Educational Handbook

This chapter is designed for use in a wide range of local contexts. This means that any user should always remember to make allowance for the cultural, educational and occupational background of participants. Modifications may therefore be contemplated, worked out, put into effect and, most important, evaluated. However, a user with no special training in educational science is not advised to introduce significant changes right away.

It is better to use the proposed system as it stands and be prepared to amend it in the light of experience (particularly as a result of “feedback” from participants).

What the term workshop implies


A workshop is a meeting during which experienced people in responsible positions come together with experts and consultants to find solutions to problems that have cropped up in the course of their work and that they have had difficulty in dealing with on their own. Participants themselves select the objectives they wish to reach and help in choosing the problems for group work.1

1 These problems and objectives are occasionally selected (in most cases by correspondence) before the workshop begins, to allow the participants time to prepare for it. However, this does not apply to a mini-workshop.

An essential feature of the workshop is complete active involvement by each participant: the whole point of attendance is to work and to learn from practical experience.

One of the commonest methods used in workshops is group discussion of selected problems, the size of the group being small enough to encourage full participation by each member and large enough for each member to gain from the experience of the others. There is nothing magical about a small group but it does offer each member an opportunity to make his own contribution. It gives participants the chance to discuss and solve the problems of greatest interest to them. The fact that each member can find something in the experience of others that has a bearing on the questions of most interest to himself will make his work more meaningful.

The workshop method makes everyone (organizers and participants) responsible for helping to find solutions to the problems selected. Participants may have to act as group leaders or rapporteurs. The organizers are generally there to be consulted by participants and to help them where necessary (not to give lectures or impose solutions).

The workshop programme makes provision for plenary sessions, discussions in small groups and other activities but does not follow a strict hour-by-hour timetable. On the contrary, the programme adapts itself to the way the work is going. For example, a plenary session will be held whenever there is a need to pool the results of group discussion, to clarify a point for all participants or to introduce some activity that requires unanimous approval.

A mini-workshop is a short workshop (lasting three or four days in the case described in this document).

Aims of an educational mini-workshop


The workshop aims at introducing participants to a systematic approach to educational problems. They must, so to speak, not only be made “hungry for more” (i.e. anxious to carry on learning about the subject and increasing their skills) but also be given “food for the journey” (documentation containing enough references to enable them to make progress after the workshop is over).

The workshop aims at stimulating a given proportion of participants to wish to reach at least the objectives set out in the Educational Handbook (see pp. 12 and 13) in the course of the ensuing year.

It has been found from experience that some participants may go far beyond these aims and embark on activities such as:

- defining X% of the specific objectives for the subject they teach;

- replacing X% of traditional lecturing by a more suitable method;

- starting a bank of examination questions that meet the criteria of objectivity, validity, etc. (X questions);

- calculating the discrimination index or acceptable level of performance for X% of the examination questions;

- etc.

How to plan a mini-workshop


You have already had first-hand experience, as a participant, of an educational workshop and you have decided to organize and run a mini-workshop yourself in order to let your colleagues know about the systematic approach to educational problems. This will involve a great deal of work. The following checklist has been drawn up to help you.

Only those items considered essential appear on this list. Not all of them may be applicable in your case and you may also find that some items you need are missing.

Unless you start work at least six months beforehand you will be increasing your chances of failure.

The greater the flexibility and adaptability of equipment and staff the greater the chances of success.

One of the aims of the workshop is to meet the needs of the participants. Your apologies will be no use to them if something goes wrong. On the other hand, they will be favourably impressed if, when something unforeseen does happen, corrective measures are taken to keep the workshop running smoothly.

No matter what you do the unexpected will always happen!

It is a tragedy that as soon as normally responsible adults come into contact with education they expect to be told what to do and what to learn... Teachers play along with this and find it much easier to meet these expectations than to create the conditions in which students will take responsibility for their own learning.

B J Ed. Tech. Jan. 76
N. Farnes

The success of a workshop will depend largely on the way it is planned and on the arrangements made before the opening session.

Action checklist


No. of days

planned date

actual date


see page

Action to be taken

- Decision to organize a mini-workshop


- Open a file


- Define the general objectives and aims of the workshop

-365 to -180


- Find a source of funds


- Have a draft budget approved


- Set the dates for the workshop


- Choose the place to hold the workshop


- Book a meeting room and accommodation for the participants


- Define the criteria for selecting participants


- Appoint a Committee of Sponsors


- Choose the assistant organizers


- Take account of the working language



5.08 -5.14

- Start the procedure for inviting participants, informing them of the aims of the workshop and sending them doc. 1 (Working methods), and doc. 2 (Theme of the workshop)



- Select the participants from those applying



- Inform participants that they have been selected, and


send them the documentation (Educational Handbook)


- Arrange for document reproduction equipment to be available


- Prepare a checklist of the equipment required


- Inform the press



- Review the list of participants



- Arrange the room and inspect the premises (with equipment checklist)


- Call a meeting of the assistant organizers and review the programme for the workshop



- Have a friendly drink


- Background organization of the workshop


- timetable of work


- functioning of the workshop



- organizing the breaks

- group photograph


- immediate evaluation (doc. 3)



- Send a letter of thanks to the assistant organizers



- Prepare a report on the workshop



- Send the report

to the participants

to the responsible authorities


+180 to 365


- Start long-term evaluation

- collect data

- visit the participants

- organize an evaluation meeting

- publish an evaluation report

Open a file


Correspondence relating to the planning, running and evaluation of a workshop will soon reach proportions that call for proper filing. A suitable system might be a loose-leaf file with the following subdivisions:

- Budget
- Workshop site
- Selection of participants
- Selection of assistant organizers
- Documentation
- Equipment checklist
- Publicity, press, etc.
- Evaluation

Aims of the workshop

In the particular case of an educational workshop, the aims have already been described on page 5.03. If the workshop has different aims, it is then necessary to define them explicitly.


Whatever social and political system you are working under you will need a budget. The person or persons who will ultimately be responsible for authorizing the expenditure involved will need at least one estimate. To work this out the following simple formula is suggested:

E = (T + S) N × 1.25

E = Estimate


T = Costs of return travel1

} per participant

S = Living expenses (accommodation, food)


N = Number of participants


1 Before working this out, read the section on “choosing the place for the workshop” on this page.

In other words, travel costs and living expenses will amount to 80% of total costs, leaving the remaining 20% to cover the other expenses (room, reproduction of documents, etc). Where necessary add a percentage corresponding to the annual rate of inflation.... and get your budget approved.

Date of the workshop

As the workshop will nearly always be attended by teachers, this should be taken into account when setting the dates of the workshop in order to avoid clashing with their professional commitments (e.g. sitting on an examinations board, annual congress).

You should also check whether the dates coincide with public or religious holidays, sports events or political meetings, as these may create problems with regard to reserving hotel rooms.

It is recommended that the first day of the meeting should not immediately follow a non-working day (such as Sunday, or Friday in Moslem countries), so as to ensure that at least one working day will precede the opening of the workshop.

Choosing the place for the workshop

(over 6 months before D-day)

It has been found from experience that, to make sure participants will attend on a full-time basis, the workshop will have to be held in a place far enough away from where participants live to enable them to take part in all activities without interruption and prevent them from being able to go home after the sessions or, more importantly, return to their laboratories or their patients.

This obviously implies a substantial financial investment but one that is justifiable from the point of view of cost/effectiveness.

The place chosen should preferably be secluded but agreeable and the conditions comfortable enough for participants to be able to recall with pleasure their first full-time plunge into the depths of the systematic approach to education.

Booking a meeting room and hotel accommodation

(6 months before D-day)

Waste no time in making the necessary bookings. Do it in writing and insist on written confirmation detailing the conditions you have specified, particularly as regards the meeting room (see p. 5.17 for details).

Ensure that the meeting room will be available 24 hours a day throughout the workshop. Wherever possible, a visit to the premises is recommended before making a final decision. If the meeting room is too small, too noisy, badly ventilated or poorly lit, the workshop may suffer irreparably.

Criteria for selection of participants


Number of participants

It has been found from experience that as many as 35 participants (seven groups of five) can be handled by one organizer. By following the maxim “the less you teach the more they learn”, it should be possible to increase the number of participants still further. However, there are no strict rules and it is advisable not to have more than about 15 participants for a first trial.

The number of participants is in practice limited by what the organizer feels he is capable of coping with and by what the participants think they need in the way of help from the organizer.

The documentation provided for the mini-workshop should enable each participant to progress by his own efforts and with the help of the stimulation provided by other participants rather than with the help of the organizer.

Type of participant


Although it is not necessary to have all the same kind of participants for a mini-workshop, since this type of workshop is mainly intended to provide a stimulus to the individual, it is advisable to select participants who will be in a position to work together after the workshop is over and who, by forming a critical mass, will have a greater chance of success.

On the other hand, in the light of experience it is not recommended that a workshop designed as an introduction to a new approach should be attended by a mixed group representing several professions (for example: physicians, nurses, dentists, medical assistants, sanitary engineers, etc.). The educational mini-workshop is going to force each participant to question many concepts that had previously seemed firmly established. This process is hard enough without increasing frustration by insisting that it is carried out outside the peer group.

The aim at this stage is not to create team spirit. It may be necessary to organize a mixed group later on in order to reach this goal.

Voluntary participation and willingness to innovate

Attendance at the workshop should be voluntary and each participant should already have demonstrated his desire for change by having adopted new methods of his own. He should preferably be in a position of responsibility or be likely to acquire responsibility.

In cases where some of the documentation is not yet available in the national language, or if assistant organizers who do not speak the national language have to be called on, allowance must be made for this and participants selected who can at least read the language used in the documents available.

Please Note! Important!

To be accepted as a participant it is absolutely essential that: applicants are aware they will be full-time participants for the duration of the workshop and undertake to abide by this provision.

Committee of Sponsors

Setting up a Committee of Sponsors will not only give you an opportunity of honouring influential members of official circles but will also draw the attention of such circles to the action you have initiated and encourage them to follow it up. It is important that people in administrative positions (such as Rectors, Directors of Health and Deans) should be represented on such committees, which will be called on to apply the selection criteria defined earlier.

Selection of assistant organizers

(4 months before D-day)

If you have already attended a workshop of this kind yourself, do not be afraid to take sole charge of a group of about 15 participants.

However, if you do not have enough confidence in yourself yet, call in a more experienced consultant, preferably from another school or faculty, and this will allow you to take a rather larger group (20-25).

In subsequent meetings with larger numbers of participants you are strongly advised to take on two (for 20 participants) or three (for 30 participants) assistant organizers (from those attending an earlier workshop). You will have to make sure at least four months before the workshop starts that they will be able to come, so as to give them time to make further study of the documents, in particular the Educational Handbook.

You are advised to choose assistant organizers belonging to disciplines other than those represented by the participants, to prevent the proceedings turning into a discussion of their subject by experts rather than a consideration of the methodology of education.

The assistant organizers will have the task of finding answers to questions put by the participants and of channelling any questions that they cannot deal with themselves to the principal organizer.

Working language

Apart from the Educational Handbook,1 the remaining documents (1, 2 and 3) are short enough to be translated into the language of the participants of the workshop. At any rate all discussions, whether in small groups or in plenary session (unless outside consultants are used), may obviously be carried out in the national language. Make arrangements for any translations to be done at once.

1 Which has been translated into Arabic, Bulgarian, Czech, Farsi, French, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbo-Croat and Spanish.

Invitation to the participants

(4 months before D-day)

It is now time to start the procedure leading up to the final selection of participants (see page 5.15). Where possible a demand for places in excess of the number you have decided on (page 5.07) should be created so that you will be able to correct the situation if there are any last minute cancellations.

You are therefore advised to get in touch right away with the colleagues you wish to contact. A personal letter will generally be preferable to posting up a notice, but your decision here will depend on local customs. What “information” should be sent out at this stage? The main points to be covered are:

(a) aims of the workshop - prepare a letter of invitation based on the content of p. 5.03 as adapted to the target population.

(b) what is implied by the term workshop - you may annex to your letter the text on page 5.03.

(c) working methods of the workshop (document no. 1).

(d) theme of the workshop (document no. 2).

The text of the last two documents mentioned (1 and 2) will be found on the pages that follow. The required number of copies can be made by means of a stencil if you do not have access to other methods of reproduction such as an electronic stencil or a fast photocopying machine, for which the pages of this document may be used as originals. In any case the pages should be renumbered and the place and dates of the workshop should be mentioned on the cover page of each document under the title “Workshop in educational planning”.

Your letter of invitation should also mention that full-time participation is essential (see box, page 5.07) and indicate any language stipulations.

Lastly, you should set a deadline for applications (45 days after the date of dispatch of the letter of invitation), mentioning that each successful applicant will be informed of his selection at the latest 45 days before the start of the workshop and that the basic documents will be sent to him at that time (under separate cover if you have a limited budget).

Workshop in educational planning

Document 1

Working methods of the workshop


Working methods


The working methods proposed for this meeting may be somewhat different from those you are used to. It does not mean that these are new methods: they have been widely used outside the university and their effectiveness has been experimentally tested. They derive from the application of recent education theories. If they were to be identified by their main characteristic one would say they put emphasis on active participation of the learner while in traditional systems he is maintained in a relatively passive role. The aim of the methods is to encourage you to develop a critical and constructive attitude and to find solutions for your own problems. Practical exercises raising specific problems that simulate real situations will lead you to propose valid solutions. Generally speaking, the working methods used in the workshop will enable you to put the educational principles recommended in the Educational Handbook into practice.

1. Free choice of personal objectives

To ensure that the workshop fully meets your educational needs you will be invited to select the objectives you wish to reach by the end of the workshop (see p. 5.19). The meeting's programme of work will be organized on the basis of the choices made (p. 5.20).

2. Preliminary reading assignments (concerning objectives chosen)

To provide you with the theoretical knowledge in the field of educational planning that you may need to find solutions to practical problems and attain the objectives you have chosen, you will be invited to read certain documents (see p. 14). It should be made clear at this point that there will be no lecturing on the part of the organizers, not even a “short introduction to...”. Study of the recommended texts will be your own responsibility.

3. Clarifying sessions

These are generally held as the first working session of each day. Their aim is to ensure that participants have a clear idea of what they are to do in the hours that follow and that any instructions have been understood. They are not intended, however, to be in-depth discussions, which will be held either during working groups or during summing-up sessions.

4. Practical exercises

These exercises, which are described in detail in the Educational Handbook, are to be done individually at first. Then discussion will start by comparing each participant's proposed solutions. This exchange of views may take place in pairs before extending to the entire small group; if the exercise implies that each one within the group has a specific task related to a common goal, it is up to the group to get organized. This task distribution will not be done by the organizers. Group dynamics will operate with its highs and lows, periods of tension and relaxation as in all human endeavours.

5. Group presentation

Plenary sessions will be held as often as necessary, depending on the programme of work based on the personal objectives chosen by the participants. Their aim will be to allow group solutions to be presented, not for the purpose of judging groups but to compare ideas for possible consensus under the leadership of a participant or, exceptionally, an organizer.

6. Preview of next working day

Each day before closing a short period will be reserved for a preview of the following day's activities and a reminder of the aims of reading assignments.

Any changes of programme will be called to the participants' attention.

7. Individual consultations

In view of the biological principle of individual differences it is most likely that participants will progress at different rates, desiring to study in more or less depth certain questions, or be interested in differing applications of the theories and methods proposed during the workshop. The organizers will therefore make themselves available on request for individual consultations on subjects of special interest.

8. Formative evaluation

8.1 Pre-test - To help direct your efforts and inform you of your own progress during the workshop, an evaluation process is proposed. Details are given on page 9 of the Educational Handbook. This test will help you to identify the “educational areas” which may need attention. The object of the pre-test is not to find the “right” answer but simply to register that you have not found it. The purpose of the workshop is to help you to find it, either during the workshop itself or in the ensuing months. The post-test will enable you to measure your progress as time goes by.

8.2 Daily personal evaluation - You should assess your own progress each day. This will give you an opportunity of modifying the objectives you chose (para. 1) on the first day.

8.3 Daily group evaluation - At the end of each daily session, time will be set aside for joint assessment of the extent to which the working methods used have helped you towards reaching the objectives you have selected, and for proposing any change in the functioning of the workshop.

8.4 Evaluation questionnaire - Shortly before the end of the meeting you will be invited to express your opinion on the organization of the workshop by means of a questionnaire (document 3, p. 5.25). The results will be analysed during the last session.

8.5 Long-term evaluation - To help you assess the benefits you will continue to reap from this workshop, you will be asked to define explicitly the professional objectives you expect to reach within the next twelve months in relation to the experience acquired during the workshop. It is recommended that all participants meet twelve months after the workshop to assess what they have achieved.

These various aspects of the working methods that will be used during the workshop will be clarified during the first session.

You may now start preparing for the workshop in whatever time you have available.


- If you want to get a general idea of the field that will be explored during the workshop, study document no. 2 (Introduction to Educational Planning).


- If you want to select the personal objectives you would like to reach by the end of the workshop, refer to pages 11-13 (Identification of your needs as an educator) of the Educational Handbook, which you will be sent if you are selected to participate.


- If you want to go still further, you can use the Educational Handbook to pursue the objectives you have selected.

Good luck

Workshop in educational planning

Document 2

Theme of the workshop: introduction to educational planning


Note to organizer of educational workshop


It is suggested that in preparing this document you use the text on “the educational spiral” (pp. 1.06 and 1.19) or the section on planning and conducting an educational programme (pp. 3.05 - 3.10).

The theme of the workshop will therefore be the health manpower training process, covering the four main stages (see the Educational Spiral, p. 1.06):

- definition of relevant educational objectives
- planning of an evaluation system
- development of an effective educational programme
- application of a valid system of evaluation

Selection of participants


(2 months before D-day)

The deadline for applications has now expired and you should convene the Committee of Sponsors. They will choose from among the applicants those who correspond most closely to the criteria defined earlier (see page 5.07). Your function will be to make sure that the Committee follows these rules properly.

In addition to the number of participants decided on, the Committee should select some reserves (20-25% extra) to provide replacements in the case of last-minute cancellations.

Confirmation of participants

(45 days before D-day)

It is now time to write to the applicants who have been selected, reminding them of the conditions of participation (full-time attendance compulsory) and of the place and dates and sending them the Educational Handbook, with a recommendation that they reread p. 5.12 if they wish to start work.

In point of fact, distribution of the Handbook could just as well wait until the start of the workshop since it is not essential to study it beforehand. However, it has been found from experience that many participants complain at the time of final evaluation that they were not given all the documentation before the workshop (including those who would not have had time to read it). In short, although it is not essential for participants to receive the Handbook one month before the workshop, there is no reason why they should not have it and there may be some advantages.

Staff and equipment needed for document reproduction during the workshop

(One month before D-day)

It will be extremely useful to have a secretary or typist available during the meeting for typing the documents resulting from group work. Since participants generally wish to have access to the results of their colleagues' work, equipment for fast, good quality reproduction will also be needed. Each document should have a reference number for ease of consultation.

The secretary can also help with logistic matters (hotel rooms, problems concerning transport, finance, etc.) on the participants' arrival, thus freeing the organizers to spend more time on purely educational activities.

Now is also a good time to make copies of page 5.20, which each participant will need on the first day, and of document 3, “Evaluation of the workshop by the participants”, which you will distribute towards the end of the workshop (see p. 5.25).

Select participants who are most likely to benefit from the workshop. Be consistent in maintaining contact with them.

Carole J. Bland


Now is the time to order however many copies you need of the Educational Handbook for health personnel, unless your national authorities already have a stock that you can use.

Equipment checklist


(One month before D-day)


already there

to be brought


Note pads (one for each participant + 20%)

Pencils (one for each participant + 50%)

Rubbers/erasers (one for each table)

Pencil sharpeners (one for each table)

Two-hole punch (1)

Adhesive tape (2 rolls, incl. one wide)

Stapler (1)

Waste paper baskets (one for each table)

Projection screens (2) or white wall

Cardboard envelope files (2 for each participant)

Overhead projectors (2)

Spare projector lamps (2)

Electric extension flex (6 metres)

Electric adapter plugs (2)

110/220 V transformer (check local voltage)

Transparent cellulose sheets (50)

Marker crayons for writing on cellulose sheets

(water-soluble) (12)

Blackboard or, preferably, large flip-chart

Photocopying machine (fast)


Extra copies of Educational Handbook (20%)

You will find this list useful for checking what you should bring with you to the workshop and for making sure the day before the workshop begins that everything is in place.

Press relations

Depending on the local situation, it may be worth deciding to inform the press. If so, it is always best to prepare a press release yourself rather than leaving this task to a journalist, no matter how conscientious he may be.

If you invite the press to interview the participants (for example when the group photograph is being taken) the best time for this will be during the break (see p. 5.24) on the last day (or the last day but one). This is also a good time to invite your superiors, those providing funds and other dignitaries. Never choose the first day for this, as the participants are likely to be in a state of considerable confusion!

Review of the list of participants

(one week before D-day)

In some cases there will be cancellations. As these occur you should get in touch with the applicants selected as reserves to fill the empty places. Make sure once again that participants have all the documentation required and that they know the date and place of the workshop.

Check regularly what you have done and what remains to be done.

Arrangement of the room


(2 days before D-day)


The meeting room should be arranged so as to:

- allow participants to sit at small tables in groups of three to five;

- allow the use of an overhead projector (two would be preferable so that two documents can be compared).

The arrangement shown above is suggested for 15, 25 or 35 participants.

During plenary sessions, participants just have to turn to face the organizer. Make sure that everyone has a good view of the projection screen and the discussion leader.

It has been found from experience that the noise threshold (in group discussions) is quite bearable and that this arrangement is preferable to separating groups in different rooms. It allows for much more flexibility in organizing the sessions.

Make sure that the room is not too near a source of noise (restaurant, school, demolition site, etc.).

The less the meeting room looks like a “classroom” the better.

Make sure that each participant has enough table space to lay out his documents and that it is well lit.

The overhead projector does not require a darkened room, but you should still make sure the day before the workshop starts, at a time when natural daylight is at its brightest, that the picture projected is clearly visible. Make sure that there is at least one electric power point that works and have an electric extension flex and spare projector lamp available. In addition have a stock of transparent cellulose sheets and marker crayons (erasable) available so that participants, or you yourself, may illustrate any remarks that may be made in plenary sessions.

Use the checklist of the equipment you will need during the workshop when making your last inspection of the room the day before the meeting starts (page 5.16).

Coordination of assistant organizers

(2 days before D-day)

All assistant organizers should be on the spot without fail at least two whole days before the start of the workshop and should have been told how important this coordination period is.

The principal organizer should make sure that each assistant organizer knows what is expected of him during the workshop and is prepared to carry it out.

The two days preceding the workshop will therefore be a sort of dress rehearsal for what is expected to happen during the workshop.

Each assistant organizer ought to give an account in his own words of the part he thinks he can play.

All organizers will need to be thoroughly familiar with the documentation for the workshop and these two days provide a good opportunity for organizers to exchange views and prepare the way for working together smoothly. Several informal meetings will probably be useful, one of which should be in the room in which the workshop is to be held.

The organizers must also decide what criteria to apply (mixing of disciplines, grades, sexes, natural leaders, “heavies”, etc.) in dividing the participants into groups (of three to five) and assigning them places, which should be marked by name-cards.

The evening before

In theory all the participants will have arrived and have their hotel rooms. Before supper, it is recommended (if finances allow) that you organize a “friendly drink” to break the ice and enable participants and assistant organizers to make themselves known to each other. This should be as informal as possible.

D-day is here....

Although it is in the nature of a workshop not to have a strict hour-by-hour timetable, in the case of a mini-workshop some details may be given on the procedure it is recommended to follow, at least for the first day. The first hours of the first day are of crucial importance. The working atmosphere will change in the course of the three days: roughly speaking the first day will be one of confusion, the second one of productive thought and the third one of stunned realization that there is much more to learn than appears at first but that it is worth making the attempt and that this is only the beginning...

With regard to the rate at which the subject matter is dealt with in the time available, each participant should be left to work at his own pace and according to his own system of priorities. On the other hand, as the participants form themselves into working groups, a “common tempo” will be established.

Programme preparation


In order to prepare a working programme for the workshop that is relevant to your own needs in the field of education, you are invited to choose from among the objectives listed on pages 12 and 13 (divided into four main themes) those that interest you and that you would like to achieve by the end of the workshop.

As the duration of this workshop is limited, try to be realistic in your choice. Some of these objectives may require only a few minutes' work; others several hours to allow for study of the documents made available to you (see suggested texts, p. 14).

To make it easier to choose, rearrange the objectives listed in order of importance to you. Once you have made your choice, fill in page 5.20 and hand it to the workshop organizer.

In the light of what you have selected, a programme of work can be drawn up. You will be given a list of the participants who have chosen the same objectives as yourself, so as to facilitate the organization of small working groups engaged in common activities1 (see example, p. 5.21).

1 Some of the objectives may be achieved more easily by group work. These objectives are marked on pp. 12 and 13 and p. 5.20 by an asterisk*.

It is natural that you should have some difficulty in making your choice at this early stage in the meeting. Do not hesitate to consult an organizer ... and above all remember that if necessary you can always modify your choice during the workshop.

Circle the number corresponding to each objective you have chosen.










































* Work in small groups is recommended for these objectives. Individual work will usually be appropriate for the others.

Additional Objectives (optional)

By the end of the workshop I should like to be able to:

(block capitals)

Hand a copy of this page to the organizer of the workshop before the break in the first session.

How to prepare a working programme based on the objectives selected by the participants

Example of a proposed programme prepared on the basis of the objectives selected by participants in a workshop.


The length of the arrows indicates the percentage of participants who have chosen any one objective. The actual number is circled.

First day: first session


8 to 10.30 am

1. Opening

In your opening remarks you will of course formally welcome the participants, thank those who have made the workshop possible, recall the overall aims of the workshop (see page 5.03) and relate it to the local teacher training situation. Make clear too that the workshop offers each participant a golden opportunity for uninterrupted thought on problems that are universally admitted to be important but are frequently neglected; that no-one there is any cleverer than anyone else; that the workshop belongs to the participants and will be what they make of it; and that the third day will not be the end of the workshop but rather the start of a long and exciting process. These remarks should not take more than five minutes.

2. Clarification of documents

Go on without a break to this item. Ask the participants to turn to document no. 1 (Working Methods) and go through it page by page and paragraph by paragraph asking them if there are any points they would like clarified. If there are no questions on a paragraph, describe its central theme without going into details. If a question is raised, ask whether any other participant would like to clarify the point concerned. Do not forget (and remind participants where necessary) that the object of the exercise is to clarify obscure points and not to discuss the subject matter in depth. There will be time for such discussion throughout the rest of the workshop either in small working groups or, occasionally, in plenary session.

It has been found from experience that there is no point at this stage in a clarification session for document no. 2 (Theme of the workshop). The necessary definitions and detailed explanations are dealt with in the exercises designed to help achieve the workshop objectives.

It will now be between 8.45 and 9.15 am and time to pass on to the next item.

3. Programme preparation

The (individual) programme of work for each participant will now be prepared. Ask participants to turn to page 5.19 of the Handbook (Programme preparation) and make sure that the text of the first page has been understood. Next, mention that the 40 objectives listed are the same as those in the Educational Handbook and that the cross-references to the relevant pages of the Handbook given on page 14 are intended to facilitate selection of objectives. The selection made should be indicated by filling in page 5.20 and handing it in to the organizers by 10.30 am at the latest. During the break, using the information produced in this way, you will draw up a list of participants who have chosen identical objectives so that they may form themselves into groups for joint work (see example p. 5.21).

The first plenary session will now be over and the time will be between 9 and 9.30 am. From this point until the start of the break (10.30 to 11.00) it will be the task of the assistant organizers to deal individually with any requests from participants. Towards 10.00 am make a rapid tour of the room to see how the participants are doing and by about 10.15 remind them if necessary that they have 15 minutes left for handing in page 5.20.

First break

(10.30 to 11.00 am)

This is when the organizer will draw up the list (on a flip chart) of the participants who have selected identical objectives so that they can form groups for joint discussion. The list will enable the organizer to prepare a draft programme of work for the rest of the workshop. Any objective that has attracted the interest of one-third of the participants should be dealt with in plenary session. Since each presentation will require preparatory work by groups of participants (no more than five per group), enough time should be allowed for this (either during morning sessions or in extra sessions held in the afternoons or, exceptionally, the evenings). Since you have the gift of being everywhere at once, you should also make sure that coffee, tea or other drinks, and rolls and sandwiches are available to the participants.

First day: second session


11.00 am to 1.00 pm

At about 10.55 am invite the participants to come back to the room. Present the draft programme (see example, p. 5.21) and as soon as it has been accepted tell the participants that they can start working (on an individual basis at first) through the list of objectives they have selected; that if they wish to find out what they know, they should now take the pre-test (at least on the first chapter of the Handbook); that they may call on you if they need any help; that they may subsequently, if they wish, start exchanging their work and discussing it with other participants, whom they may choose from the list given on the flip chart (which you may now have reproduced for general distribution).

Until then take no other action apart from being available to give help if necessary.

At 12.55 pm you will have a few minutes left to congratulate participants on their dedication and keenness and reassure them if they are feeling completely confused about what is happening that things will be better tomorrow and even better the day after tomorrow. Lastly, invite them to spend the afternoon continuing to clarify their ideas by further reading on any points worthy of attention and tell them that you will be available for individual consultation.

It will now be 1.00 pm. Wish everyone a pleasant lunch and confirm the time and the aims of the next activity on the programme that has been approved.1

1 Another scenario may be imagined in which by 8.30 am the participants have settled down to a poker game. This would indicate that you need to review your planning procedures, including the method of selecting participants (page 5.07).

First day: afternoon session

Begin by reminding participants of the time of the next plenary session. Make sure that each small group knows what it is supposed to be doing, then give no further help unless asked. You can, however, go around the room taking a friendly interest in what each person is doing: adapt your attitude to the reactions shown by the participants. See that each group has a supply of transparent cellulose sheets and marker crayons.

Ten minutes before the time set for a session, check that each group is almost ready. As for the general organization of a plenary session, all you need to do is to present the transparencies prepared by each group, using the overhead projector, and encourage discussion.

Fifteen minutes before the end of the last session of the day, call for everyone's attention. Invite the members of each group to discuss among themselves the positive and negative aspects of this first day and ask for a verbal report from a spokesperson for each table (daily evaluation).

Second (and third) day

Start the day with a short feedback session (15 minutes) taking into account the comments made by each group during the evaluation session at the end of the first day. Next, mention that as on the previous day there will be a plenary session at the end of the day for evaluation of the day's work and invite everyone to set to work. The participants will then start organizing their work themselves and your task will be to help them do this. In the event of one (or several) working groups forming and wishing to submit the results of their work to the others, further short plenary sessions may be held on request. Make sure that, should this happen, there are enough transparent cellulose sheets and marker crayons for participants to make their reports using the overhead projector.

At the end of the session, after evaluation of the day's work, invite participants to draw up for the following day a list of the professional objectives they wish to reach during the next 12 months in the light of what they have “learned” during the workshop, and ask them to fill in the evaluation questionnaire (document no. 3) and return it to you by 8.30 next morning at the latest (page 5.31 will tell you how to analyse the results of the questionnaire).

Last day


(Don't forget to have a group photograph taken during the break, unless it has already been done.)

After a short period for feedback, remind the participants that it is very important to devote most of this last day to finalizing the individual professional objectives to be reached during the next 12 months. (See document no. 1, paragraph 8.5.) These should be the subject of exchanges of views between participants and of group discussion before being handed to the organizers. The last half-hour of the last day should be given over to an evaluation session (in the light of the analysis of the questionnaire/document no. 3), ending with a few closing remarks dealing mainly with the future.

Letters of thanks

(10 days after the workshop)

It is now time to thank everybody who has helped you, including those who have provided funds for the workshop, the members of the Committee of Sponsors and the assistant organizers, if any. Inform them in the letter that they will shortly be sent the report on the workshop.

Report on the workshop

(15 days after D-day)

Even if the purpose is only to inform those who have provided the funds for the workshop or to help participants to inform other colleagues, it is a useful exercise to prepare a report during the weeks following the workshop.

The report will contain:

- an introduction giving a brief description of the local context which led to the organization of the workshop;

- the general aims of the workshop;

- a description of the operation of the workshop mentioning how participants adapted to the working methods;

- some selected samples of the results of individual or group work;

- the list of documents used during the workshop;

- the results of immediate evaluation, including an analysis of the questionnaire (document no. 3);

- the list of participants (with their addresses).

Long-term evaluation

(at the latest one year after D-day)

Long-term evaluation is essential since it is the only way to measure the actual impact of a workshop.

It will be based on an assessment of the extent to which each participant has reached, failed to reach or exceeded all or some of the professional objectives he set himself at the end of the workshop (see page 5.23). An assessment of this kind may be made by means of questionnaires, by individual interviews or, preferably, by bringing all participants together again for a one-day meeting. A report summing up the results of long-term evaluation is well worth preparing and distributing.

It will not be much use and may even be counterproductive to upgrade the teaching skills of educators if this merely makes them more effective at teaching concepts that are of limited relevance to what health personnel need to learn to work productively in their country's health services system; the result of improving educators' skills could even be to fill the health professions with people who are better than others at doing what they ought not to be doing.

Workshop in educational planning

Document 3

Evaluation of the workshop by the participants


Instructions for questions 1 - 35

Use the following code to indicate the extent to which you agree or disagree with each of the statements made below:



Strongly disagree






Agree strongly

The difference between 1 and 2 or between 4 and 5 is one of degree only.


If you want to express your complete disagreement with the statement, circle the figure 1 as follows 2 4 5

Please feel free to make any comments you think necessary (making reference to the number of the question) in the space reserved for the purpose on the last page.



Aspects relating to the planning of the workshop

Do not write in this column


I was given sufficient information on the aims of the workshop before my arrival






I was given sufficient information on the methods of work






The planning of the workshop reflected the educational principles that were discussed there






It was clearly explained to me at the start how I was to choose my objectives for the workshop






I feel that the programme drawn up during the first session took my own choice of objectives into account






The goals of the workshop appeared to me to be of immediate interest for my professional activities (education component)






It was clear to me from the start of the workshop that I was expected to play an active part in it






Aspects relating to the relevance and utility of the working methods


I found the documentation provided of an acceptable quality






Enough documentation was provided to allow me to take an active part in the discussion of the subjects concerned






The information given in the Educational Handbook helped me to reach the objectives I had chosen for the workshop






The working methods used during the workshop encouraged me to take an active part in it






I have had the opportunity during the workshop of putting new knowledge into practice (exercises)






Spending time on individual work during the workshop helped me to learn






Aspects relating to the way the workshop was run and to the attitude of the organizers


The organizers displayed a satisfactory open-mindedness






The general atmosphere of the workshop was conducive to serious work






The organizers gave me the opportunity for critical comment






The organizers made use of any critical comments I made during the workshop






The organizers made every effort to help me reach my objectives for the workshop






The way the workshop was conducted was in line with the educational principles it discussed






The attitude of the organizers was conducive to “free learning”






Aspects relating to the organization of activities in the time available


I consider that enough time* was given for individual or group discussions with the organizers






Enough time* was devoted to clarifying the documents






Enough time* was given for discussion in small groups






Enough time* was gives for practical exercises






Enough time* was given for individual work






Enough time* was given for the presentation of work in plenary session






During the workshop I was given the opportunity of working at my own pace






Aspects relating to the benefits gained by the participants


The workshop helped me to improve my knowledge of education theory






The workshop helped me to develop a favourable attitude towards the systematic approach to educational problems






The workshop has encouraged me to put the knowledge I have gained into practice after the workshop is over






The workshop will help me to encourage my colleagues to learn and make use of new educational methods






The workshop has increased my confidence in my ability to achieve my personal objectives in the medium term (within one year)






Aspects relating to evaluation of the workshop


I felt that the pre-test and the follow-up test helped me to make a useful assessment of the knowledge I gained






The pre-test was a useful exercise and showed the advantages of this technique






The practical exercises showed the usefulness of “feedback” during the learning process






I found the daily evaluation sessions useful





* All questions asking for an opinion on the time spent on an activity must be considered in relation to the total time available for the workshop. If you wish to comment on the length of the workshop as a whole, please do so using p. 5.30.

Further comments and suggestions

With regard to the planning of the workshop, its method of work and the attitude of the organizers, note below and give actual examples of:

(a) The factors that impressed you most favourably

(b) The factors that impressed you least favourably

(c) Total length of the workshop too short adequate too long

too short


too long


Note for the organizer on how to analyse the answers to this questionnaire


A very simple analysis may be carried out as follows.

Take an uncompleted questionnaire and mark beside each question the answers given by each participant. For example, for 30 participants, the answers to question 7 might be:

Q.7 It was clear to me from the start of the workshop that I was expected to play an active part in it












In other words, two participants considered that they did not understand from the start that they were expected to play an active part in the workshop while the 28 others understood this. Multiplying the number of answers by the corresponding coefficient gives a total of:

(2 × 2) + (10 × 4) + (18 × 5) = (4 + 40 + 90) = 134


The “satisfaction index” is calculated by multiplying this number by 20 (i.e. 100 divided by the maximum coefficient 5) and dividing it by the number of participants, in this case 30. This gives:



It is recommended that you then make a note of any questions with a “satisfaction index” below 60%.1 If there are none, identify the five questions with the lowest “satisfaction index” and then the five questions with the highest “satisfaction index”. Let the participants have these results at the final evaluation session on the last day of the workshop.

1 The satisfaction index is calculated in such a way that “average satisfaction” is .

Q (+) %

Q (-) %






% P

Ch. I

Ch. II


Ch. IV

Ch. V

Ch. VI


% GM

VII. Personal objectives


1. Write down the objectives you hope to achieve during the year following this workshop, so that you can assess the progress made.

2. Write down, for each of these objectives, a working timetable that will enable you to achieve them.

Name ..............................

Keep a copy of this page and give the original to one of the workshop organizers.

Afterwards ...


Do not succumb to the illusion that everything is now going to be different in the institution where you work. Do not think that from one day to the next conservative elements will turn into reformers, passive elements into active ones or opponents into supporters.

First, if you manage to persuade at least 20% of those taking part in the workshop to make a lasting and visible change in their teaching habits during the ensuing year, you may consider the workshop to have been a success. This will not be the case if all you do is record how many participants expressed satisfaction during the evaluation on the last day of the workshop (even if the figure is 100%).

Secondly, your work is not yet over. Do not let the seed you have planted with so much effort wither away. Continue to stimulate your colleagues in responsible positions in your teaching institution to see that those participants who improve their teaching methods are “rewarded” in some way.

......If this is impossible, do something about it yourself - congratulate them - it will always be appreciated.

A workshop

Don't think it will change nothing

Don't believe it will change everything

Recapitulative answer sheet for post-test


The questions appear on pages: 1.73 - 1.76, 2.45 - 2.47, 3.93 - 3.96 and 4.87 - 4.90.