Total time: Approximately 2 hours
Note: If wheelbarrows were constructed early in the program they may have been processed as part of the Masonry Processing. If this is the case, but wheelbarrows were used during the pond construction project, it may be worth evaluating the designs again in this meeting in light of this field testing. It is also possible that the carpentry project was included as part of the masonry project and wheelbarrows were not constructed at all. The session design presented here is for the Pond Construction project. Essentially the same kind of process takes place for evaluating the wheelbarrow project. Having had the opportunity to field test the wheelbarrows during the construction project, trainees have an excellent opportunity to make a detailed, valuable assessment of the designs they used and determine improvements to be incorporated into future designs.
• Provide opportunity for group leaders to bring the project(s) to a formal conclusion;
• Review steps followed throughout the project(s) and fill in gaps that individuals may have in their notes;
• Provide opportunity for trainees to critique their work, identify strong and weak points from both technical and organizational standpoints;
• Reinforce technical [earnings and clarify points of confusion as necessary.
Overview: The construction project involves many steps and is completed over a period of time. During that time, some trainees may be more involved in some steps than in others and may need to learn more details about the steps in which they were less involved. In addition, it is important to take time to assess the final product as well as the steps of the process used to achieve that product in order to identify strong and weak points, problems and solutions, etc. and draw conclusions that may be applied next time trainees oversee a pond construction project. This meeting is facilitated by the group leaders for the construction project. Near the end of the meeting, the trainer who was in charge of this project also offers his/her input.
1. The trainee coordinators facilitate a discussion of the project. This should take place mainly in the classroom in order to ensure that everyone can hear, see and participate, but should also include a walk out to the actual project site in order to look at the completed pond. This may occur at the beginning or at the end as the group leaders see fit, but if it occurs at the beginning, they should point out specific things the trainees should look at and be prepared to discuss.
2. The trainee facilitators should begin the session with a review of the entire project, chronologically, from beginning to end. The discussion should address:
• What actually occurred at each step (including site selection considerations, surveying, staking out the pond, scarifying, digging and construction of cores, construction of dikes, tamping dikes, sloping pond bottom, balance of cut and fill, placement and construction of drainage, inlet and overflow structures, finishing touches, sealing, erosion control, etc.).
• What worked well, what didn't work well for each aspect.
• Suggestions for alternative or improved techniques, solutions or approaches including both technical and extension aspects.
• Special problems or difficulties encountered, solutions tried or recommended.
• Results: condition of finished pond, what caused any unanticipated results.
• Economics: materials and tools used, costs of construction, total time and labor, efficiency regarding costs and labor.
• Analysis of group organization aspect: effectiveness of group coordinators, unique aspects of being a leader, unique aspects of being a group member not in the leadership role, how well group worked together, problems encountered, what helped, what people learned about themselves, what people learned about group projects, changes and improvements since last group project based on experience from that project.
The discussion should involved a lot of group discussion, sharing of ideas, asking and answering of questions.
3. Near the end of the session, the trainee group coordinators should ask the trainer in charge for input. The trainer should provide insights and observations, constructive criticisms, reinforcement of positive aspects, and suggestions. He/she should share some personal experiences and ideas, and give any helpful hints or techniques he/she may be able to provide.
4. The trainer should ask the trainees to spend ten minutes or so listing important points that came up during the discussion that they want to be sure to remember for next time they are involved in a pond construction project, and/or a group project of any kind as either a leader or participant.
5. In concluding, the trainer should congratulate the group on the project and on the discussion, as appropriate, and should thank the group coordinators.
Resources and Materials:
• Blackboard, chalk, eraser (in case trainees want to illustrate points or ideas, or if group leaders want to put up an outline for the discussion
• Other materials group leaders may request (newsprint and markers, etc.).
• The trainer in charge of this project should meet with the group coordinators well in advance of this session. They should be given ample time to prepare, and the trainer should provide suggestions for ensuring that the issues listed in step number two (above) are addressed. He/she should ask the group leaders to allow time at the end for him/her to share some observations with the group. It is also a good idea to encourage the group leaders to take the initiative in critiquing their own leadership in the project, and encourage them to prepare themselves for both giving and receiving feedback in a constructive manner.
• The trainer in charge of this project should also be well prepared. He/she should have been taking careful notes throughout the project in order to be able to provide good, accurate, useful input regarding observations made as trainees worked through all of the steps, as well as technical points that may have been overlooked, not clearly understood, or that can be offered to supplement the knowledge the trainees have. The trainer's input should also be provided in a constructive, positive and helpful manner.
• This project provides a perfect opportunity for trainees to feel a real sense of accomplishment. There will probably have been errors made, but if the errors serve to enhance the trainees' learning, then they will have been worthwhile. If the group tends to be very hard on themselves, the trainer should make a point of helping them put their errors into perspective. He/she should try to help the trainees recognize both their accomplishments and the new knowledge they obtained through the project.