How to tell if my VTMO course is right for you: 7 crucial factors
Would you like to make your tours, guided discussions and/or educational programmes more interactive and engaging but don’t know where to start? Maybe you lead a team of guides that are stuck in their ways and more used to traditional walk-and-talk style tours and programmes? If so, you might be considering enrolling in my VTMO course to learn how to engage your audiences and confidently lead interactive discussions around art and museum objects. But how can you tell if this course is right for you? In this blog, I’m going to explain 7 crucial factors to help you narrow down your decision.
1. Entry Requirements
First of all, you don’t need to know anything about Visible Thinking, art engagement techniques or inquiry-based learning to take part.
Maybe you’ve already taken part in a in-person training with me in the past, or you’ve had a short introduction to Visible Thinking but have no knowledge of my framework for using VT with art, objects and ideas (Visible Thinking in the Museum), this course will take you beyond that basic level and transform the way you work. You’ll be introduced to 23+ new thinking routines, advanced facilitation skills and new questioning techniques.
Or maybe you have a lot of experience as an art educator or with guiding and helping people to connect with artworks? For you, taking part in my VTMO course will broaden your expertise, through practice and coaching sessions, new thinking routines and inspiration for new tools to add to your repertoire.
This course is popular with museum, heritage and art educators; guides and docents; freelancers, creatives and entrepreneurs; and teachers, educators and learning practitioners.
To access the course, you will need to sign up for the Visible Thinking Membership as a monthly or annual subscriber. By signing up to the VT Membership you also receive all the other membership benefits too: monthly masterclasses, thinking routine classes, practice and coaching sessions. You’re also part of a global network of educators learning together and supporting each other. For many more reasons why being part of a membership is a very good idea, see here.
If you’re still not sure, get in touch and we can talk it over – I will always tell you if I think it’s not a good fit for you!
Teaching online gives me the opportunity to include so much more content than I could offer in-person. Although I’ve run hundreds of training courses and workshops over the years, I’ve often not been able to cover all the content I would like to in a one-off in-person session.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve seen the best results when people are supported in developing their practice over a period of time, rather than a one-off training session.
This is why my VTMO course is designed around 8 modules that take place over a series of 11 weeks (with 2 implementation weeks to practice and read, and one final ‘graduation’ class). The VTMO course is run 3 times a year in my Visible Thinking Membership and many members take the course more than once – some will be starting their third time next week! – as you are always learning and no two classes are the same.
It takes most people at least a year to confidently master the art of facilitating engaging discussions with art and artefacts. And the aim of the Visible Thinking Membership is to guide and support you EVERY STEP of the way.
The VTMO course is a combination of live classes (taught by me!) and self-paced learning that you can do at a time and place that suits you. The live classes ensure engagement and accountability, whilst the self-led learning allows the course to fit in around your life and work.
I honestly believe that this is the best Visible Thinking in the Museum course that I have created. I cover three times the content that I used to cover in my 3 day in-person training and have the chance to see participants develop and grow in confidence throughout the course.
3. The Teaching Style
If you’ve taken part in any of my online classes, you will have seen first-hand how engaging, interactive and interesting the Visible Thinking in the Museum method is online as well as offline.
You’ll also have seen the effort I take to design engaging and interactive classes – no dreary Zoom calls on this course. All of my trainings are interactive. I try not to spend more than 10 minutes at a time explaining anything. Otherwise, participants start to switch off. I ask lots of questions, and keep it fun, engaging, and interactive throughout. Whether it’s by using the chat function regularly every few minutes to keep people interacting with you or by using breakout rooms to split participants into separate sessions or discussion groups – I keep it active and engaging. There are no ‘quizzes’ or ‘worksheets’ in this course either for this very reason.
Developing online teaching skills is a core component throughout VTMO – you will learn from taking part in weekly online discussions using thinking routines and from watching the way I work and facilitate guided discussions and classes online. AND all VTMOers receive a bonus masterclass training in online teaching confidence at the start of the course (at no extra cost – this is one of the benefits of VT Membership).
Finally, every new member of the Visible Thinking Membership gets a 20 minute 1-2-1 with me at the start of the course to discuss your needs and exactly how you will need to apply what you’re learning. Still unsure about online learning? Challenge your thinking by reading my ‘4 Myths about Online Learning’
4. The Teacher
The person teaching a course may have a bearing on whether you choose to sign up for a course or not. For those of you who don’t know me, here is a brief introduction to me and why I have spent the last 10 years teaching my method of using Visible Thinking in the Museum:
I found out 10 years ago that many educators and guides were struggling to meet the demands of leading inquiry-based programmes. I wanted to simplify the process and ohave since developed a method that engages both the educator (renamed as the facilitator) and the participants (aka the audience). I wanted to get rid of the confusion surrounding inquiry-led programmes and develop a flexible process that made sense.
‘Visible Thinking in the Museum‘ is a method that uses thinking routines for flexible structure and question formulation along with facilitation techniques, collaborative learning and museum education practices. The result is ‘inquiry made simple’. A easy-to-follow process that allows you to confidently design, lead and manage engaging inquiry-led sessions with art and artefacts.
In 2020, I developed ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum Online’ an 8 module online programme teaching participants to use my ‘Visible Thinking in the Museum’ method. VTMO is now the flagship course of the Visible Thinking Membership – a global learning community for educators.” For more information about the last 10 years of Visible Thinking in the Museum, see here. If you’d like to read more about my background, come and connect with me on LinkedIn!
I’ll be really honest with you, I don’t believe there are any magic methods, formulas or lists of questions that will transform you and your practice in the blink of an eye.
I do believe that every educator, guide or teacher needs to find their own individual way of working, drawing on a ‘toolbox’ of educational practices, techniques and skills that they can use in their own individual way. Every guide can develop their own personal style given time and patience to coach, train and practice. But you need to be consistent and do the work and practice regularly. Which is much easier to do when you have support around you.
It takes most people at least a year to confidently master the art of facilitating engaging discussions with people, art and objects. The Visible Thinking Membership will guide you every step of the way. The VTMO course will help you to make huge progress on your journey in just 90 days and then the Visible Thinking Membership will offer you the support afterwards to continue to grow and learn. There are new learning opportunities and content every month, a large library of resources, and practice and coaching groups. You will connect with and learn from other members too.
That support in the membership comes in many different forms: live group classes and masterclasses, a private Facebook community, video classes, a library of resources and templates. practice and coaching sessions and much more besides.
6. Practice and Coaching
The VT Membership builds confidence and expertise for guides, educators and creatives through consistent practice, feedback and coaching. As part of the VTMO course, participants are asked to complete assignments – based on practice or self-reflection. Several assignments ask participants to try out a new thinking routine in one of our weekly practice or coaching sessions.
These are focused sessions that offer members the experience they need to grow in confidence. In a practice session, members opt to be either a facilitator (and lead a discussion) or to be in the audience (and get inspired by other members ways of working). They also offer the chance to get feedback, network and get to know other members. In order to embed a new way of working you need to make your practice consistently too.
My VTMO course offers a comprehensive full programme providing the accountability and support to complete the course, grow in confidence and develop your own unique facilitator style.
7. What will I get out of VTMO?
On a personal level, you will get out what you put in. In addition, you will first update your skills instantly – we all need to update our ‘toolbox’ on a regular basis to keep up-to-date with the latest methods and techniques and this includes learning new thinking routines and perfecting your (online) facilitation techniques too. You’ll become part of a community – it’s much easier to be creative in your practice when you’re learning alongside like-minded people. You’ll also make friends and future collaborators – you’ll get new ideas and inspiration as to how you can use VT in your work both ONLINE and OFFLINE and you’ll find people you can collaborate with.
So, to sum up, these are the 7 main criteria to consider when choosing whether VTMO is right for you. If you still have questions, take a look at my VTMO FAQ’s. If you’re ready to sign up, don’t delay. We start next week on 1 February.
‘Visible Thinking in the Museum Online (VTMO)’ is an 8 module online course with a combination of self-directed study and live tutorials spread over 10 weeks to fit around your schedule. To find out more details about the course click below.
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