This challenge was fun because it forced me to think much more intentionally about the many different ways I actually use pair activities. I always use them in workshops and presentations as a way to introduce various forms of learner engagement. In online courses I design, I inevitably introduce them in the form of commenting on the work of other participants.
What fascinates me most, however, is the way 2-person discussion activities can be used in my work environment, both for research and professional development. It is a common technique for members of my team who do design thinking research with clients or research participants.
I’ve also found that this is a common activity for asking team members to conduct research assignments with market experts or clients. As I thought about this, I realized I could do this more purposefully as a real learning environment experience.
With that in mind, my solution for this challenge begins with a call fro reflection — “What do you want to know or learn about, and why is that important to you?” I want them to connect with what really interests or motivates them. In the next step, I want to provide clear instructions, as well as a list of possible people to contact in case they don’t already know who they want to speak with. I also suggest possible questions and/or approaches to the conversation. Above all, I encourage them to enter into a real discussion, one that is organic and free to go where it wants to.
After that, come s the actual interview or conversation and a follow-up report. If I were incorporating this into a more formal learning experience, I would have them put this in a blog post.
I haven’t specified a context for this because I think the process can work equally well in face-to-face and online environments.