I often like to borrow an analogy from one of the leading facilitators in the field, Yen Kai Lye,
the Managing Director of Pivotal Learning. The analogy goes like this: You can lead a horse to the pond. Bringing the horse to the pond represents the activity in your program. Now, let's say our goal is for the horse to drink from that pond. Coercion would be to force the horse to drink the water. By contrast, in a non-intentional program design, we simply provide opportunities for the horse to drink and hope it does. We're content even if the horse decides to do something else by the pond.
But here's where intentional program design comes into play. It's about making that horse thirsty enough to want to drink the water. Neither do we use force nor do we leave it to chance. So, how do we achieve that thirst? It's in the art of crafting experiences that ignites that desire. This is something most educators and facilitators, myself included, aspire to achieve to varying degrees of success.
While not an expert, I've found that three key ingredients stand out in making intentional program design a success: the design of activities, the sequencing of activities, and the questions we ask. And the beauty is, we have control over all three.