Dr. Valerio Pascotto “Pedagogical virtues of a virtual workshop environment”

A core premise in addressing the pedagogical virtues of a virtual environment is the distinction between teaching and learning (see The premise being that learning is a process of discovery, experimentation and exploration rather than telling, instructing and teaching.

If we accept such premise, the virtual workshop environment is ideal.

For starters, it has a built-in fail proof aversion for lecturing as engagement is a critical variable for successful virtual workshops. Failing to engage the participant will quickly result in multitasking and focusing on everything other than the learning (email, taking calls, surfing the net, etc.)

Given the need to maintain almost constant engagement, there will be minimal prescribing and advocating on the part of the instructor as this would require too much talking time. As the instructor is relieved from having to impart “knowledge” and compelled to set the stage for participants to experiment and explore, there will be an automatic shift that will lessen prescriptions and instructions.

There are several reasons why prescribing is so learning adverse. All we have to do is observe the extraordinary learning capability of the child and realize how much of that learning is coming from experimentation and trial and error. It would be almost impossible to teach a child how to walk or accomplish successfully the tremendous learning that infants progress through.

Besides the child analogy, other reasons that create learning failure with lecturing and instructing are:

  • Motivation: A loss of commitment on the part of the participant when he or she is told what to do (social psychology research places it at a fivefold loss)
  • Diversity: The fact that human being are very diverse in terms of perceptions, interpretations and how they process data making it quite obvious that what works for me “my brilliant idea”, might not work or be at all brilliant for another
  • Crowd wisdom:  we now know that crowd wisdom consistently beats expert wisdom and the idea that few super intelligent and wise human beings have kept our species alive is a myth.

With the above in mind and with the understanding that the best learning is a cooperative effort that requires participation, the virtual environment facilitates engagement as social norms have not yet formed and it is quite acceptable for the instructor to bring forth a participant and query his or her own thinking.

Another advantage is that the virtual environment forces greater attention to subtle cues, such as tone of voice and, if web cameras are used, body language and eyes as these cues become much more of an imperative to determine engagement.

With the instructor needing to focus on engagement cues, he/she will exercise an increased awareness of social sensitivity. Social sensitivity will usher emphatic listening, greater psychological safety and ultimately confidence in learning as an opportunity for development and growth.

Last modified: March 8, 2018

A Team of Leaders with Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff

Illustra, the Virtual Coaching Specialist, is proud to bring you the sixth installment of a 10-part offering of selected Illustra Global Virtual Faculty members, this one based on Paul Gustavson and Stewart Liff’s provocative book and Workshop ‘A Team of Leaders’.

A Team of Leaders’ is based on improving productivity by empowering every workplace member to take ownership, demonstrate Initiative and deliver results. They provide a set of tools within a five-stage model to motivate teams and therefore to unleash their productivity.

This fresh approach transforms passive groups of disparate people into effective teams of leaders – workplace teams that work! Paul and Stewart discuss the context for A Team of Leaders:

Illustra offers a free one-hour live virtual Pilot Workshop of ‘A Team of Leaders’ which will cover aspects of their model to understand the advantages this method could bring to your company. For more information, or to schedule the Pilot Workshop, contact me at

Previous workshops were:

  • #10 – Leader as Coach | Dr Valerio Pascotto • #9 – Ambidexterity and Cross-Industry Convergence |  Dr. Jens Maier • #8 – Strategy Execution Through Uncertainty  |  Dr. Rebecca Homkes  • #7 – Emotional Intelligence for Leaders – Fiona Hills • #6 – The GRIT to Win  |  Dr. Paul Stoltz • #5 – Coaching for Performance  |  Michelle Benning

Last modified: March 5, 2018

Live Virtual Pilot Workshop of Coaching for Performance | Michelle Benning

Illustra is proud to offer a free one-hour live virtual Pilot Workshop of ‘Coaching for Performance’ with Michelle Benning. As President of Nehemiah Performance, Michelle designs, organizes and delivers high-impact training virtually and face to face in both the public and private sectors. You can read more of her profile here.

The live virtual Pilot Workshop looks at different aspects of Coaching for Performance: Myths and Realities of Coaching, Coaching as a Conversation, Performance Coaching and Coaching Mindset. You will be taken as a participant through various exercises to best understand the dynamics and high level of engagement. There is a short description and video of Michelle presenting her Workshop here.

The live virtual Pilot Workshop will take place on: March 13th at 12.00pm Eastern Time (9.00am PT, 17.00 Central European Time).

To reserve your place for the Pilot Workshop, contact me at

Last modified: February 21, 2018