Engaging Communities Through Issues Forums

Because actions take time to produce results, you will want to plan for a time to collect action and impact data. We suggest you follow up within three months. You may want to do more frequent check-ins on 30-, 60-, and 90-day marks to see progress on projects and to determine if they need assistance. And to sustain action, you want to add a 6-month or more check-in time frame. Longer timeframes can help continue to mobilize participants to share actions taken, conduct ripple mapping to understand longer term impacts and continue communication with forum participants to keep them up to date on activities. We’ve even monitored actions for two -plus years to get a more complete picture of impacts.

Agenda of a Forum Using the Pr inciples of a Successful Forum

The following agenda is an example used to illustrate how these principles are embedded into the forum design. The first column provides a sample agenda. The second column explains why this agenda item is included, and the third column explains what is intended to happen. This reasoning connects the agenda to the “Principles of Successful Forums” outlined on pages 22 -27.

The following agenda with answers to the why and what questions is based on forums conducted in Delaware, Maryland, and Ohio in 2018-2019 and 2021:

Forum Agenda

Why This Agenda Item? What are Intended Outcomes?

Title of Forum

Generates broad interest and invites engagement.

Names and frames the issue in a way that encourages broad participation from community members. Adult Education Principles in action - Evaluation tools assess learner’s knowledge and personal views about content. Adult Education Principles in action - Increase knowledge about topic. Issue presented in local frame. Adult Education Principles in action - Increase facts and knowledge of issue and potential sub-issues, and options for action. Adult Education Principles in action - networking, resource identification. Adult Education Principles in action - Safe environment; Identifying Personal Views; Linking the Content to Prior Experiences; Letting Learners Work Together. Further frames the issue. Builds relationships between people.

Morning Session 9 – 9:10 am Welcome, pre-forum survey, overview of the day

Sets the stage, gather beginning data.

9:1 – 9:30 am Welcome from supervisors, dignitaries, key stakeholders

Builds connections, shows relevance and importance by key stakeholders.

9:30 – 10:15 am Ground the Content of the Issue with Facts - Presentation(s) providing overview of the issues

Provides the research underlying the issue, identifies strategies used to address, and identifies sub-issues regarding the complexity of the problem/issue. Allows time for a mental and physical break; networking and visiting the resource table. Used to personalize the issue and give participants something concrete to learn from and respond to; puts a face on the problem/issue. Breakout groups need to be diverse - people from different Community Capitals sectors,

10:15 – 10:30 am - Break

10:30 – 11:20 am Case studies — individuals are assigned tables/breakout groups to ensure diversity of perspectives/approaches

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