Events, Resources

Recording for Facilitating Collaborative Online Engagement using LS

Hi everyone,

We had an amazing workshop last week with Zsuzsi, Oral and Barish facilitating a fun string of Liberating Structures on Zoom! We went through Impromptu Networking, Mad Tea Zoom Style, 1-2-4-All combined with Conversation Cafe, and more! Check out the video and slides here:

Zoom Webinar using LS

Recording: Zoom Webinar

Slides:  Facilitating Collaborative Online Engagement using Liberating Structures



Resources, Updates

Liberating Structures in B.C. post-secondary: How are they spreading?

This post was originally published March 1, 2018  on

After organizing and supporting a number of Liberating Structures initiatives for the past two years, we at BCcampus wanted to learn more about:

  • How (and where) are people using Liberating Structures? How are they spreading?
  • Are people finding Liberating Structures to be useful in their practice?
  • What do people want next? If we are to continue to support Liberating Structures in B.C. PSE, what kind of supports are needed?

Post by Leva Lee and Tracy Kelly, Learning & Teaching, BCcampus

To do so, we surveyed the participants of our Liberating Structures workshops and events. We are pleased to share with you what we learned in this report.

Upcoming Liberating Structures Sessions:

Learn more:


Events, Resources

Followup on February 22nd Meetup at BCIT Burnaby

What a great meetup we had on February 22nd at BCIT Burnaby. There was good showing of a dozen participants! We did Impromptu Networking, 1-2-4-All, then TRIZ, 25/10 Crowdsourcing and W3. Meeting for 90 minutes allowed us a bit more time to practice and discussion, but it was still a very briskly paced meetup. Time flew! We had fun!

Here are some resources from our meetup  you can download or view online:

Our 2018 schedule for the Vancouver LS User Group is posted here at various locations throughout Vancouver. We will add more locations as they are arranged.  Subscribe to this blog to get our updates.


Resources, Updates

Handouts from UBC Meetup on January 22nd

Thanks for all those who attended our workshop on January 22nd at UBC Sauder. It was a great turnout and a lot of fun to facilitate! We did impromptu networking, 1-2-4-All to reflect on that experience, then jumped into Troika Consulting, getting help on facilitation challenges we’re facing and how/when to use LS in different contexts. It was short but sweet!

Here are some resources from the meeting in digital format you can download or view online:

Our first 6 months of 2018 schedule for the Vancouver LS User Group is posted here at various locations throughout Vancouver. Stay tuned to the blog for more details coming soon!


What is the Liberating Structures Mobile App?

This post was originally published on as part of the annual online micro-learning event coordinated by ETUG.

Liberating Structures

Submitted by Leva Lee, BCcampus | @levalee

What is it? What can it do?

This mobile app was released in late summer 2017 and is an exciting development for Liberating Structures (LS) aficionados. For those unfamiliar with Liberating Structures they are a set of facilitation techniques or microstructures that can help make your group meetings and gatherings more engaging and inclusive. The techniques are fully described on the website and there is also a book available for purchase. The Liberating Structures app is a great companion for using with the website or book and is a flexible, fantastic tool to help in easily selecting the Liberating Structures that will suit the purpose of your group gathering or learning event, and help you to achieve, in many cases, better than expected outcomes.

Here’s more background on Liberating Structures

How do you get it?

The Liberating Structures app is available for both Android or iOS devices.
Download the app from:

How does it work?

The app provides introductory information about Liberating Structures and its founders. There is a structure page describing each of the 33 plus structures and sub-pages with details on how and why you would use each.

When designing interaction for your meeting, workshop or conference, you can filter by purpose (share/reveal/analyze/get help/strategize/plan) and discover what is made possibleby using a particular technique or structure. A nice feature is the ability to tag selected structures as favorites.

How do you use it for teaching and learning?

The Liberating Structures app is an effective tool is to help with designing participation and interaction of your group gatherings and classroom activities. Some experimentation is happening currently on how they may be used to make online meetings more engaging. Starting with your purpose, you can search and find the appropriate structure to use and follow how-to steps, easily.

Sample Screenshots

Introduction page where you can select a category based on your purpose/objective.

Structures under category “Analyze”. You can browse through and select to view more detail.

Structure detail on “What?,So What?, Now What? W3” and the why or the purposes for using this technique.

Structure detail on how you would facilitate the structure.

Extend your learning

Here is a sample of a plan for a working group meeting which is for the purpose of “launching a new product” [Design Storyboards]

This design storyboard template when used in tandem with the Liberating Structures app will help you start with a clear purpose, articulate goals at each step of your meeting or lesson, and map out the associated microstructures that will help achieve your desired outcomes.

Sample Design storyboard

Challenge Activity

  1. Download the Liberating Structures app.
  2. Open and print out the Design Storyboard template in MS Word or PDF.
  3. Create a plan for your next meeting, workshop or class lesson using the Liberating Structures app and the template.
  4. Share a photo of your completed design storyboard and tag #12appsBC #liberatingstructures.

More Info on Liberating Structures

To learn more about Liberating Structures, go to

To find out more about two burgeoning B.C. Liberating Structures user groups and how you can participate, contact

Join the Liberating Structures Slack Group.

CC BY 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Events, Resources

Ideas: Using Liberating Structures in post-secondary education

This post was originally published March 15, 2107 on the web site by Tracy Kelly.

Throughout both days of our most recent Liberating Structures workshop, we harvested participants’ ideas for applying Liberating Structures activities to their work.

A few big themes emerged, (e.g., supporting student work and assignments,  learning design & faculty development,  meetings, projects and organizational development, and more), so here they are, organized by Liberating Structures activity, and those repeating themes.

Hopefully this (in addition to the  Matchmaker) can help you find the right Liberating Structure to meet your facilitation challenge.

Use Impromptu Networking

  • to support student work & assignments, e.g.,
    • Explore student prior knowledge, questions or interests in a topic
    • Support recall of information from previous sessions
    • Identify student social media use
  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development
    • as a way to begin conversations with a new group (this is low stakes) – i.e., icebreaker

Use Troika Consulting …

  • to support student work & assignments, e.g.,
    • peer review of writing
    • students in developing ideas for papers, projects, assignments, theses, dissertations…
    • students in preparing and practicing listening (e.g., for conducting their own research)
  • to support learning design & faculty development
    • obtain peer feedback, ideas, support with teaching challenges, like moving away from lecturing, assessment, difficult students, etc.
  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development
    • Work through project issues
    • Use to get peer help/ideas on any challenge (“design a solution for my problem!”)
    • To have team share suggestions and get feedback


  • to support student work & assignments, e.g.,
    • Identifying ANY practices we should stop doing
    • For preparing for job interviews
    • In the context of a library research workshop: students identify worst possible research essay and then identify their counter-productive practices or roadblocks, and then steps that can be taken, including new strategies and resources
    • Students participate in identifying assignment expectations by first exploring the “worst possible” assignment
    • As a way to approach customer service training: have students identify the worst service ever
  • to support learning design & faculty development
    • Discern between counterproductive & productive initiatives during evaluation process
    • In the ISW (Instructional Skills Workshop) use TRIZ to consider the “worst lesson ever” and what we must stop doing
    • To identify good and bad course design features
    • Proposal development on supporting faculty with high failure rates (must build trust first, and approach with “loving provocation”)
  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development
    • Identify elephants in the room/meeting
    • Build team effectiveness, break silos
    • Use at beginning of meeting: “how could we make this the worst possible meeting” then introduce another LS for reluctant participants

Use 1-2-4-all

  • to support student work & assignments, e.g.,
    • “solve impossible problems together in a very short period of time” (group problem solving, PBL)
    • As an icebreaker – invite students to articulate and share expectations and hopes
    • Replace “at your table, talk about…”
  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development
    • To generate suggestions for activities and improvements

Use 25/10 Crowdsourcing...

  • to support student work & assignments, e.g.,
    • as an alternative to brainstorming and dot voting (more interactive)
    • to invite a very smart group to generate bold ideas for improving teaching and learning in B.C. post-secondary education 😉
  • to support learning design & faculty development
    • Workshop ideas for program lean consultation
    • Generate workshop ideas for a monthly workshop series for a teaching and learning centre
  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development
    • Use at strategy meetings to get a few bold ideas
    • Consider doing a 2nd round if first round isn’t BOLD enough
    • To energize! (not during flu season, watch scoring bias)
    • Rank project priorities

Use What x 3 (What, So What, Now What)

  • to support student work & assignments, e.g.,
    • Use at the end of a class to give students an opportunity to review and synthesize information and identify a next step
    • Use to debrief any shared/learning/content experience including readings, films, field trips, guest speakers, etc
  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development
    • method to debrief planning team after events

Use Nine Whys

  • to support student work & assignments, e.g.,  help Masters students narrow research question
  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development, e.g.,
    • Use to dig deep (into purpose) on whether we should migrate to a new LMS or not
    • Use to set priorities for the week or designated period of time

Use Users Experience Fishbowl….

  • to support student work & assignments, e.g.,
    • discuss/debrief readings in a class
    • invite/include “unusual suspects” into the conversation (i.e., include everyone)
    • offer time/space/pacing for participants
  • to support learning design & faculty development
    • training/onboarding new students or staff…invite existing or exiting staff into the fishbowl. Invitation: describe a team activity or project that describes team’s purpose in practice (and that energizes you)
  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development, e.g., as a method for hosting conversations, and consider ways for outside circle to give feedback to the inside/fish (do outside folks need a job besides listening?)
  • to support increased access/accessibility, e.g.,
    • Increase accessibility for hearing/volume challenges
    • Instead of a panel
    • as a method to invite and hear other people’s stories

Use Mad Tea

  • to support student work & assignments, e.g.,
    • students explain concepts to each other quickly
    • as an icebreaker and energizer
    • as a way to practice language learning, quick conversation skills
  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development, e.g.,
    • debrief at the end of a strategic planning session
    • as a method (or part) to structure Department Meetings – gets people on their feet and thinking/talking fast

Use Design Storyboards...

  • to support student work & assignments, e.g., Prepare students for field work and research
  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development, e.g., Team planning process (put it in google docs for multiple, simultaneous, distributed contributions)

Use Social Network Webbing

  • to support student work & assignments, e.g., Leadership team launch

Use Purpose-to-Practice...

  • to support learning design & faculty development, e.g., quality improvement project kick-off
  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development, e.g., Non-profit board orientation and input-gathering

Use 15% Solutions

  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development, e.g., to determine what resources are available to solve tech issues
  • to support increased access/accessibility, e.g.,
    • With front line health care teams
    • In a department meeting ask everyone what their 15% is to promote engagement

Use Wicked Questions

  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development, e.g.,for coaching conversations

Use Critical Uncertainties

  • to support increased access/accessibility, e.g., Students develop a robust praxis for attending 911 calls to homes with various diversity-related challenges around languages, religion, gender, ages, SES barriers.

Use Heard, Seen, Respected...

  • to support meetings, projects & organizational development, e.g.,to reduce “passive aggressive” behaviour

Use Kanban board…(note:  this isn’t a Liberating Structure…it’s one of those “punctuations” we use because they work well)

  • to support student work & assignments, e.g.,
    • For syllabus and learning objectives
    • In the f2f component of group work. Help students to keep track of different steps to work through. Allows faster groups to go forward without having to sit and wait for next instruction. Allows all students to remember sequence of steps and see purpose and results
    • Help students organize their learning

And finally, here are a couple strings (i.e., a few LS “strung together” intentionally) participants designed for their own facilitation challenges:

  • For project planning, start to finish: Purpose to Practice, 9 Whys, Min specs, 1-2-4-all
  • For for space planning interviews:  Wicked Questions, Min Specs, TRIZ