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Developing Skills

Throughout the IF discussion process much emphasis is placed on guiding participants through stages of a process to develop contrasting policy possibilities. For panelists, the primary goal is to create a product—a discussion summary to be used by other discussion groups. In this system, the effort on collective contribution minimizes opportunities to focus explicitly on the development of participants.

In the case of discussions on the Future of Higher Education, participants generally are concerned with whether the IF model is being applied correctly and if progress on creating possibilities is happening. I am curious as to how the group dynamic would change if participants were concerned more with improving their individual ability to make progress within a discussion group?  This question is an offshoot to Adolf Gundersen’s post about discussion panels being more like student-centered discussions. The student-centered approach could involve individual and group evaluations into the citizen discussion process administered by a facilitator and peers.

Giving participants some feedback about their interactions in the group might motivate people to join a citizen discussion. In addition, the development of individual members could make the entire group more aware of how they could perform at a higher level. However, it also might prove to be a barrier to free discussion as participants may feel that their contribution is being “graded”.

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