Design and facilitation of maker culture training for municipal staff
Design and facilitation of maker culture training for municipal staff

Design and facilitation of maker culture training for municipal staff

Page navigation: Summary | Challenge | Process | Results


In the fall 2016, I was recommended to an HR professional working at the city of Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal to provide a full-day professional development workshop on maker culture.

Over the winter 2017, I provided 4 days of training to 40 city staff, and evaluated their satisfaction with smiley sheets. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive.


Various pockets of city staff were starting to buzz with the possibilities of launching makerspaces as part of their service offerings, both for the public and for staff. The learners included city staff from cultural development, socioeconomic development, leisure, municipal libraries, and even fire safety. It was exciting to be training such a mix of professionals on the potential for maker culture (and not only physical makerspaces) to transform their work and interactions with the public.

I wanted to make sure the training would involve hands-on, active learning (not just for the constructivist learning benefits but also) to reflect maker culture in the learning process. The HR contact had warned me that staff often expect a more passive or transmissive training experience in these full-day trainings.

city staff to train
hours per workshop during a single day
budget for designing, developing and delivering the custom training


Unfortunately, some of the design process documentation is not available for sharing publicly.


We provided the HR staff with a clear description of the workshop activity in order help clarify that the training would involve some workshops, practice, and active learning. We easily filled up all available workshop spots.

Workshop design

The full-day workshop was crafted to provide a variety of modes of engagement with the learning materials. It was planned to be facilitated by two people who would switch back and forth for a more dynamic day.

Approximate schedule

  • Introductions and round-table check-in
  • Definitions, concepts, principles and history of maker culture
  • Introduction to the various facets of maker culture
  • Video examples (with live narration) of the various facets of maker culture and a matching game
  • Lunch break (lunch provided so that people would not disperse or require extra time to gather food)
  • Hands-on tinkering activity with littleBits and guest maker GenieMob
  • Coffee break followed by check-in to reconvene
  • Story-telling and group discussion on how maker culture principles were expressed in the story
  • Problem- and possibility-mapping exercise in groups to help staff connect maker culture potential to their work context
  • Sharing highlights from group work, check-outs and smiley-sheets

Training booklet design to accompany the training

I designed a printed training booklet (and the logo) for learners to have during the workshop. The booklet includes:

  • the historical context of maker culture
  • a glossary of terms
  • a maker culture facets map & notable projects exemplifying different facets of maker
  • questions to prompt a maker perspective (on the back cover)

Available for download:

Cover of the the training booklet, which is titled (in English):
Cover of the the training booklet, which is titled (in English): What can maker culture do for me? What can I do for maker culture?

Reformatting the learning materials as an online resource

In 2019, the presentation and learning materials were expanded into a free, online learning resource which supported two professional development workshops given for professionals working in the arts and culture sector in Quebec.

For one of those trainings, I designed a short activity in which library personnel would plan their creative lab shopping list on a tight $2000 budget. We provided a list of prices for common equipment that might be present in a variety of creative lab spaces (maker spaces, media labs, hacker spaces, art hives, etc). In small groups, learners would decide on a mission, audience of focus, and subsequently build their shopping list.

The training was provided during 3-day regional conference, NumeriCulture in March 2019.

Le lundi à débuté par une journée entière animée par Techno Culture Club et destinée principalement aux bibliothèques des Laurentides. Thèmes abordés : l’importance du numérique dans leurs espaces, les outils à leur disposition et la découverte de technologies qui semblaient inaccessibles initialement : imprimante 3D ou de découpe vinyle, initiation à la réalité virtuelle et à la programmation de livres numériques. Grâce à Techno Culture Club, les bibliothèques savent désormais monter un Fab Lab pour 2000$ comprenant les principaux atouts pour initier le public aux technologies du numérique ! (Culture Laurentides; source)


  • We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the 40 staff trained. They particularly appreciated the fun, hands-on activity as well being gifted the printed booklet as a job aide and souvenir of their training.
  • Expanding and reformatting the resources into the online book (Gitbook) made it possible to compress the workshops into a half-day (which made them more affordable), helped make the content relevant again (there were many more creative labs in a variety of public spaces across Greater Montreal). By 2019, the learner needs had changed and providing practical advice on how-to focus and get a creative lab started was spot-on.
  • The training led to several deeper consultations, conversations, and collaboration opportunities. It was another confirmation that providing training materials as open resources was generative on many levels: for learners, for creators, for mission, and for future collaborations.