Workshops are generally an ad-hoc method, which involves collaborative planning and action-oriented training in order to solve relevant problems. A hands-on method, workshops often involve learning via role-play and experimentation.
Problems and Purpose
Workshops are typically ad-hoc, limited time events involving collaborative problem-solving, experimentation, or production. In general, workshops involve hands-on activities as opposed to lecture- or classroom-style format. Workshops often contain a teaching element and are commonly used in work-learning or learning-by-doing settings. The subject or topical matter of workshops is also more action-oriented, such as leadership building and conversational skills training. Workshops are commonly used during participatory planning initiatives as they give participants the ability to use materials such as maps, diagrams, and 3D multi-media to experiment with designs and layouts. Design-specific workshops are refered to as 'charrets'.
Workshops are action-oriented spaces of learning and production. Participation in workshops is often very hands-on involving learning-by-doing, role-playing, and experimentation. According to the Public Library of Sciences, a workshop (or "interactive workshop") is "a structured set of facilitated activities for groups of participants who work together to explore a problem and its solutions, over a specific period of time, in one location."
Origins and Development
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How it Works
The selection of participants is event- and topic- specific. Organisations or individuals may offer ad-hoc and time limited teaching or training workshops to the public in which case participants are self-selected and entry is based on one's interest, time-availability, and (in general) registration fees. As well, many leadership building or conflict resolution workshops are offered to organisations in which case participation is often obligatory or recommended for employees. Workshops are also a common method of engagement used in multi-method or multi-channel participatory events.
Workshops are about 'doing'; putting skills into immediate use. Participatory planning initiatives commonly make use of the workshop format to give participants the ability to experiment with designs and layouts using various mediums such as maps, 3D models, and diagrams.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
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 Katrina Pavelin, "Ten Simple Rules for Running Interactive Workshops," PLOS Computational Biology, 27 Feb, 2014, http://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.10...
 "Design Charrette," NCDD Resource Center, 24th Dec, 2008, http://ncdd.org/rc/item/1495
Design Charrette: http://ncdd.org/rc/item/1495