Session (multi-user) facilitation tutorial

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After reading this page:

  • you've learned how to prepare for a multi-user session.
  • you've learned how to set up the hardware.
  • you've learned how to facilitate users during a session.
  • you've learned how to perform interventions.
  • you've learned how to end a multi-user session.

Prerequisites

The following prerequisites should be met before starting this tutorial:

  • This tutorial relies on base knowledge about sessions in the Tygron Platform. If you have not yet followed the tutorials related to those subjects please do so first.
  • This tutorial can be followed using the ClimateGame project available to all domains. 

Preparations

Take the following steps as preparation for following this tutorial:

  • Make sure you have anywhere from 3 to 7 computers available.
  • Make sure you have a space where you can practice with spatial arrangements of computers.

Introduction to multi-user sessions

Multi-users sessions are one way of deploying a project in the Tygron Platform. They feature a process in which multiple participants interact with the same 3D world in order to gain insight into how the various elements in the project interact, or to find a common room for real-life solutions. Multi-user sessions require a project set up with multiple stakeholders, and a proper attribution of indicators and actions among them. They also typically require a facilitator to guide the session.

Facilitator

The facilitator's responsibilities are generally as follows:

  • Making sure that the users have access to a computer on which to run their applications
  • Make sure the participants are present for the duration of the session
  • Provide information on the topic of the session
  • Provide information on the workings of the Tygron Platform
  • Monitor the progress of the participants, and guide their (learning) process

The facilitator has a unique interface, also accessible via the Tygron Platform, with which they can control up to 4 individual sessions at the same time.

Participant

The participants in a multi-user session are the users who will take on the role of a stakeholder in the project. They are the "target audience". It is important to note that these users may not be as well-versed in working with the Tygron Platform. This is why the facilitator must also be able to explain to them in brief terms how the users can interact with the 3D world.

The participants use the familiar session interface.

Preparations

Before the session can start, make sure that all materials for your session are prepared.

Location

Make sure you have a location where you can hold the session. It should provide enough room to house all participants comfortably, provide sufficient power for all computers, have internet available, and allow for activity and discourse which is uninterrupted by unrelated activities. Depending on your facilities, a meeting room or workspace could suffice.

Also make sure that the room has at least 1 table per team you wish to facilitate.

Hardware

Depending on the project, at least 3 computers will be required. At least 1 computer should serve as the facilitator computer. 2 or more computers serve as participant computers. Optionally, an additional computer can be used to connect a beamer application to the session. The beamer computer should be connected to a central screen or beamer which can be seen by all participants, ideally without moving away from their own computers.

Have 3 computers ready.

Session materials

Depending on the project, additional materials may be available. For example, the ClimateGame project has additional materials available via the ClimateGame page, such as the Project Map.

Print 1 copy of the ClimateGame Project Map.

Setup

After arranging all necessary hardware and materials are available, everything must be set-up such that the session can be held.

Computer setup

Place the facilitator computer in a location "away" from the participants. Ideally, the computer is in the same room as the participants during the session, but the screen should not be directly visible to the participants, and there should be some distance between where the participants sit and where the facilitator computers is. This is to prevent the participants from "accidentally" gleaming information from the facilitator computer.

Place the beamer computer in any location "away" from the participants. During the session proper, access to the beamer is not required. Make sure the output is centrally visible.

Place the participant computers on a table, such that all participants will be seated as equally as possible. The net effect should be that none of the participants seem to be in a special position in relation to any other participant. Generally, after setting up the facilitator and beamer computer, all remaining computers are participant computers.

Make sure each team has at least 1 copy of the ClimateGame map.

Preparing the application

On each computer, start the Tygron Platform and log in with your account.

Facilitator setup

On the facilitator computer, select "Multi-User".

The "Multi-user" option in the main menu.

Select "Start new Session".

The "Start new Session" option in the main menu.

Select "ClimateGame 5 1".

The name of the project you wish to start.

Select "1 Session".

The options for starting 1 or more sessions, or teams.

The facilitator application will now load. On the server, 1 session will have been started. Each team of participants will interact with their own session's 3D world.

The facilitator application, which allows the facilitator to manage the running sessions.

Beamer setup

On the beamer computers, select "Multi-User".

The "Multi-user" option in the main menu.

Select "Join with Beamer".

The "Join with Beamer" option in the main menu.

Select the currently running ClimateGame session.

The list of currently running projects.

The beamer application will now load, and display the project contributors. From this point onward, the beamer application cannot be interacted with directly via this computer.

The beamer application, which can be controlled from the facilitator application and displays information for participants.

Connecting client applications

On the facilitator application, a list of all computers is displayed. This list of computers are all computers currently logged into your domain in the Tygron Platform, waiting in the main menu. The computers you are using for this tutorial, minus the facilitator and beamer application, are listed here as well.

Below each entry are one or more buttons, numbered 1, 2, etc. These buttons can be used to invite that computer to join one of the teams. "1" for team 1, "2" for team 2, etc. Because we started 1 session, only the "1" option is available. For each computer in the list which you are using for this tutorial, click on "1".

Select "1" for the computer(s) you wish to invite.

The computer(s) you selected will now display a popup indicating that the computer has been invited to join your multi-user session.

The invite displayed on the participant computer(s).

Select "Yes". The computer(s) will connect to the session and display the starting screen with all the project's contributors.

Select "Yes" for the invitation, to join the session.

The application is now ready to begin the session.

The client application's starting screen. This screen does not allow interaction, until the facilitator allows it.

Getting the session started

From this point onward, the users can enter the room and take place at their computers. Currently, the participant computers only display the first of the starting screens, namely the contributors screen. They will be unable to progress until the facilitator allows them to. This allows you to keep their attention for the initial exposition and explanations.

Explanations

When everyone is seated, you will be able to provide information the participants need during the session. This means giving a description of the context in which this session takes place, the contents of the project, and the intent or goal of the day.

After a description of the context is provided, you can provide more practical information of the screens the users will pass through when you unlock their applications and start the session proper. You will need to tell the following:

  • A button will appear with which they can step through the next screens, after this explanation is done.
  • A description of the project will be given. Read it thoroughly, but it is also accessible in the session interface later on.
  • The teams will have to decide on a team name together.
  • Select the stakeholder you have been assigned (if applicable) or whichever role you want/should have during the session. Read its description thoroughly, though it can also be found in the session interface later on.
  • Review your objectives. This shows you what your personal focus should be during the session.
  • You will enter the world, starting with a flythrough.

Allowing the participant to start

In the facilitator application, select the "Settings" tab.

The "settings" tab allows the facilitator to control whether and how fast the session runs.

This panel allows you to pause and unpause the session, and to adjust the speed at which the session progresses (if applicable). Click on ">" to start the session.

The "settings" tab allows the facilitator to control whether and how fast the session runs.

A "Continue" option will appear for all participants in the lower-right corner of the screen. You should emphasize this so all participants get started.

The "Continue" option on the participants' screens allows them to begin their interaction with the application.

For the purpose of this tutorial, step through all the starting screens on each of the participant computers.

Assignments

These assignments are meant to practice the human element of facilitating a session.

  1. Create a general script for yourself for instructing the participants to step through the starting screens.
  2. Time yourself while speaking out loud. Try to limit your explanation to a handful of minutes.

Facilitating the session

While the session is running, there are a number of tasks you should fulfill as a facilitator, and a number of means at your disposal to do so. The final intent is to keep the participants engaged and directed towards their goals, both in-session and in the process in which the session is taking place.

Interventions

As a facilitator, you will periodically need to interrupt a session to discuss the progress and intermediate scores, or to centrally provide additional instructions or explanations. Such a moment is called an "intervention", and is effectively always done while the session is paused, so as to keep the attention of the participants. Go to the 'settings" tab on the facilitator application and select "||" to pause the session.

Pausing the session.

The participant computers will display a black screen, and the message that the session has been paused.

The participants will only see a black screen with the "Paused" message when the session is paused.

During an explanatory intervention, take a moment to explain the subject you wish to convey, and then unpause the session again. Interventions like these can occur acutely, and must be kept as brief as possible so that the participants can remain engaged in their in-session roles.

An evaluating intervention should occur at more or less pre-planned moments during a session, and should divide the total session time into shorter periods of time more or less evenly. Note that these interventions are best announced a few minutes before pausing the session.

During an evaluating intervention, you take a moment to discuss the progress of each of the teams. You can provide some insight into their collective scores, and ask two or three questions to each team in turn about their progress.

  • Try to ask open questions. Rather than "Do you feel you are doing well?", phrase a question as "Can you tell us something about how you are progressing?"
  • Avoid making concrete suggestions about a team's approach. Instead, try to let teams slowly learn from each other's answers to your questions, or provide general avenues of thinking if the proper suggestion does not come forth explicitly.
  • Keep the discussed topics constructive for all participants. If a single user has a singular issue or question which requires attention but has no relevance in the greater scope of the session, inform the user you'll visit them after the intervention is over.

When all teams' progresses have been completed, the session can be resumed. Unpause the session.

Speed and levels

Using the facilitator application, you can exercise control over speed and difficulty of the session.

In the session interface, you can see the speed at which time progresses in the top bar.

Time progresses in a timeline session.

In the facilitator application, on the settings tab, you have the option to speed up or slow down the session (if applicable). Click on ">>" a few times to speed up the session.

Speeding up the session.

Click on "<<" a few times to slow down the session. Make sure the session is not running at an excessively fast pace before continuing.

Slowing down the session.

A project can be created to have multiple levels. Levels typically allow for an increase in responsibilities or ambitions, but also also more available actions or neighborhoods in which planning can take place. In the facilitator application, select the "Levels" tab.

In the levels tab, all the levels available in a project are listed. Levels are activated progressively, i.e. level 1 is started by default, level 2 is activated next, level 3 after that, etc. Activating a higher level will also activate all preceding levels if they hadn't been activated yet. Activate level 2 by selecting "Activate".

Another flythrough will start on the participant computer(s). When the flythrough is completed, the participants will see that they have more indicators, and more actions. The difficulty of the session has increased.

Increases in levels are often accompanied by an intervention. The session will be paused, and if necessary the current progress will be evaluated. A brief explanation is then given about the impeding increase in difficulty. The next level can be activated while the session is still paused. If a session is paused while the level is increased, the flythrough will be visible once the session is unpaused.

Beamer

The beamer application can be used to provide insight to all participants on the progress the teams are making. Using the facilitator application, you can select a beamer screen for a single team to display on the connected beamer applications. In the facilitator application, select the tab of team 1.

The tab for team-specific overviews.

This will show the team-specific overview of the facilitator application. Note that at the top, the options for specific tabs have changed as well.

The overview for team 1 specifically.

Select the "Beamer" tab.

The beamer tab.

This will show the beamer panel.

The beamer panel allows you to set the screen to display on the beamer.

This panel allows you to select the screen which should be displayed on the beamer computer. Use the dropdown to select "Indicator Screen", and then click "Switch" at the bottom.

Selecting the "Indicator Screen" option, and then clicking "Switch" will set the beamer application to this screen.

The beamer will now display a graph with all the indicator scores.

The "Indicators" screen of the beamer application.

Roleplaying unplayable stakeholders

A project may feature one or more unplayable stakeholders. These stakeholders are not one of the roles represented in the teams of participants, but on occasion do have some influence in the 3D world. For example, when a participant wishes to purchase land they own, or make financial requests.

On the participant computer, open the messages panel and send a message to "The local residents".

A message composed as participant, to be sent to an unplayable stakeholder.

In the facilitator application, a notification will appear on the team tab indicating that a message has been sent to one of that team's unplayable stakeholders.

A message composed as participant, to be sent to an unplayable stakeholder.

In the screens of team 1, switch to the inbox tab.

The facilitator's inbox panel.

On the left hand side, the received and unanswered messages are listed. Select the message sent to "The local residents".

The message is now opened.

Select "Reply". The "Compose message" screen will appear. Type a response in the "message" field, and click "Send"

The "Compose message" screen allows you to create a message to send back to the participant.

The participant will now have received a message from "The local residents".

The participant will see this indication that they have received a message.

Monitoring the participants

During a session, it is important that the facilitator does not facilitate the session purely via the facilitator application. As facilitator, you also need to walk around and see up-close how the participants are doing. Make sure that your idle time during a session is spent circling around the participants and passively watching their behavior, communication, and interactions. It's best to follow these guidelines:

  • Don't be too intrusive. If participants are feeling actively watched their ability to engage in their role is affected.
  • When questions are asked, feel free to answer them, but try to avoid instructions which alter their intent. Explaining how to access a certain function is fine. Actively telling them to perform a certain action influences what they do.
  • Take notes of interesting occurrences and statements. These can assist in interventions later on.

Assignments

These assignments are meant to familiarize yourself with the tools available to you as facilitator.

  • Grant a subsidy of €10.000,- to one of the stakeholders currently active one a participant computer.
  • As participant, take an action which requires approval from a non-playable stakeholder (for example, buy land in level 2 or 3), and complete the transaction using the facilitator application
  • Display the total scores of the stakeholders of team 1 on the beamer, as well as the team score for team 1.

Finishing up a session

When a session has completed, it is important to close it properly, both for the participants as well as the application.

Final intervention and evaluation

A few minutes before finishing the session, announce that the session is coming to a close and that the final actions should be taken now.

After the few minutes are up, pause the session.

As part of the overal process, conduct a final evaluation with all the teams. Discuss the following topics for each team:

  • What their initial and final strategies were
  • What their achieved score was
  • What interesting events you noted during their participation

After discussing the results of each individual team, pose a few questions to the entire group, to create thge

  • Their differences in approach
  • How their experience ties back to their overal process
  • Who has won (achieved the highest score)

After these points have been evaluated, the participants can be dismissed, and the session materials can be cleared.

Shutting down the session

In the facilitator application, switch to the global overview, and then the settings tab.

Before shutting off the session, it is a good idea to save the session. This allows you to review the results of the session later on by reloading the current state of the session. Select "Save".

"Save" will save the current state of the session in a save-state which can be reloaded later.

A popup will appear indicating that the save has been completed. Click "OK".

The session has been saved.

Next, click "Close" and confirm that you want to close the session.

The "Close" button will close the session, and automatically shut down all the participant clients in the session.

Tutorial completed

Congratulations. You have now completed this tutorial. In it, you have learned how to facilitate a session, both in terms of controlling the session as well as guiding the participants.