Recently on a two part Key Action 1 training course and evaluation seminar, the Erasmus+ funded 'A+ Plus Group Work' coordinated by APS La Fenice we experimented with 'Alternative Timelines'. This was to take a step back from the usual 9-5 training course time frame with set 1.5 hour sessions, but to look at it a bit differently.
So we started the sessions at 11:00 am which provided an interesting perspective for the participants. Breakfast was from 9-10 and was located in the heart of the town, this allowed participants time in the morning to visit the town, see the sights, get a feel for the city in a timezone they normally would not. For those participants with no interested in this it allowed a good nights sleep with morning rest. As recent studies have shown, humans do not seem to be so productive before 10:00 anyway.
The first activity never officially had a 'coffee break', but would have one sometimes, this was always dependent on the activity at hand, the feel of the participants and the situation as it was. Lunch was noted as 2 hours, but was not fully set as again it depended on the flow, enthusiasm and discussions with the participants.
From the picture the second activity looks long, four hours, however this is because sessions and reflections were not set amount of times. Sometimes the participants were working for 4 hours solid on developing activities for young people, sometimes we had an intense activity that lasted 2.5 hours with 1-1.5 hours or reflective discussion, sometimes we had four 45 minute activities in a row with small breaks. This system gave us a fantastic ability to adapt and improvise with the flow of the participants themselves.
As can bee seen from the picture, breakfast, lunch and dinner were at standard times as to not upset the average eating habit yet the change in session times led to well rested more energetic participants. The time of of the evening activities was chosen by the participants themselves, sometimes this was arrange by La Fenice, sometimes this was organised reflection or activities by the trainers and other times it was activities organised by the participants themselves. This led to a nice interesting mix of evening activities that kept everyone engaged.
As a whole these time frames worked out well, especially providing time in the morning. This time was used for personal habits such as yoga, jogging, morning walks, seeing the town or just sleeping. It also meant if someone had had a few too many the night before they had time to recover and be fresh for the sessions ahead. In general we go great feedback from the participants from about the time frame and we will look into using it more in future.