BEtreat workshops

Unique professional development opportunities for social learning leaders


The 21st century landscape – more complex and less certain – brings new challenges and fresh opportunities for people in today’s organizations. This has led to a proliferation of social learning spaces, online and face-to-face – communities of practice, networks, dynamic conferences, shared works spaces. It requires social artists, conveners, brokers, weavers, and facilitators bringing diverse voices together in productive ways. It requires what we call social learning leadership.

Our workshops explore the discipline of this new leadership for the 21st century.

Workshops in 2016


July 12 – 15: State-of-the-art

July 19 – 22: Cutting-edge

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California workshops


Sept. 19 -22


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Slovenia workshop


For a systematic overview and firm grasp of current principles and practice in social learning as it applies to your context.


For people who have experience of existing social learning models and want to develop more pioneering apsects of the field.


For good discussions about the theoretical concepts of social learning, and when and how it’s relevant for a research project.

Small and focused

In a collaborative atmosphere with a small, strategically committed group, we spend four intensive days developing leadership and facilitation capabilities for cultivating communities of practice and networks.

Together we push our current practice, explore the state of the art, and produce resources to address our respective challenge.

Online and face-to-face

Your participation can be face-to-face or online. Face-to-face takes place in beautiful and intimate surroundings in Grass Valley, California and, occasionally, in other parts of the world.

Online participation is a full experience of participating from wherever you are. Together we push the practice of integrating online and face-to-face involvement in events with a variety of social media.


What former BEtreaters are saying

“The social learning model has helped to form a successful company this year as well as supporting the services that I coordinate. Thank you very much.”

Matthew Laurie

Creative interaction

“BEtreat brings together a very diverse group of CoP practitioners for a robust learning experience. It’s about real-world learning from one another while being guided and challenged by Etienne and Bev. ”

Ed O'Neal

Head of Knowledge Management , Shell, Texas

“It’s hard to convey the experience in words. And it isn’t just about geeky techy stuff. There’s an important interpersonal dimension to carrying off what my expert chums out here call a ‘blended’ (online/offline) community of practice.”

Angie Hart

Academic Director, University of Brighton

Frequently Asked Questions about BEtreat workshops

What does BEtreat mean?

We started the BEtreat workshops in summer 2010. Both of us have our birthdays in July. We thought it would be interesting to celebrate our birthdays with a retreat for our clients and others working in the field of social learning. So the workshops were named Bev (B) and Etienne’s (E) retreat (treat)!

Where do the workshops take place?

If you are participating face-to-face, then the workshops happen in Grass Valley California.  It is a charming historical mining town located in the “Gold Country” in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.  There are street fairs in the summer, tasting rooms for local wineries, and beautiful hiking and swimming at the nearby Yuba river.

Grass Valley is easily reachable from Sacramento airport. There are accommodations for all tastes and budgets, including small “bed & breakfast,” historical and modern hotels, and affordable motels.

Is accomodation included in the price?

No, you need to find your own accomodation. We have a list of the local hotels, their distance from the venue, and prices on this page here. You could also check out Airbnb for other options, mostly cheaper than the hotels.

I'm thinking of participating online. What do I need to know?

Integrating online and face-to-face participation is a core theme of the workshop. To this end, we commit to offering online participants a full experience of the workshop. This means that everyone in the workshop endeavors to make this integration possible by exploring the technologies and the practices that are required.

All online participants have reported that it was a unique experience. For those who have done both online and face-to-face participation some say they preferred the online experience, others say they preferred to participate face-to-face. Perhaps it has something to do with your learning style.

It is a lot of time in front of the computer, so if you are thinking of participating online, do this short survey to see if you are prepared for it.

I work with communities of practice in Higher Education. Should I do the professional or the academic BEtreat?

Generally speaking the state-of-the-art is for people who are working with communities of practice and want to get better at it. The academic is for people who are interested in the theory for research purposes. Having said that, we do get academics in the state-of-the-art and practitioners from Higher Ed in the academic.

You will most likely meet people who work in academic institutions at the academic BEtreat and people from different sectors at the state-of-the-art. The sorts of outcomes we have for the different workshops look like this:


  • articulate the context and the challenges of a social learning endeavor
  • argue for the value of a social learning approach to stakeholders
  • employ the basic models of social learning
  • take a social learning approach to solving problems
  • perform as a social learning leader


  • discuss the theoretical concepts
  • decide when a CoP perspective is useful for a research project
  • apply that perspective to data analysis
How much does it cost to participate in a BEtreat workshop?

The table below shows the price for participating in a BEtreat workshop in California. For workshops outside California the price is adjusted for currency and other contextual factors.

Item Early bird
until april 30
Regular price
after May 1
Professional BEtreat: state-of-the-art, July 7 – 10
Online participation $900 $1,200
Face-to-face participation $1,200 $1,600
Professional BEtreat: cutting-edge, July 14 – 17
Online participation $900 $1,200
Face-to-face participation $1,200 $1,600
Academic BEtreat – July 21 – 24
Online participation $650 $800
Face-to-face participation $800 $950
Optional items – airport transportation
Two-way transportation to and from Sacramento airport $120
One-way transportation to or from Sacramento airport $60
Optional items — social program and evening meals
Social program and dinners (2 nights), per person $50
Social program and dinner (1 night), per person $25

All prices are in US dollars.

Face-to-face prices below include light breakfast, lunch and refreshments for all four days.

For evenings, we have a tradition of cooking communal dinners together two days out of four. Partners and families are welcome. Prices are noted under “Optional items.”

Do you offer group discounts?

Yes, contact us for multiple BEtreat or group discounts, company programs, and BEtreats hosted at your location.

I am constrained by funds. Can you guide me to places of funding support?

Funding is definitely an issue. We don’t have access to funding sources ourselves. We do offer 50% scholarships for people from low and middle-income countries and may be able to find a neighbor to host you here, if you are planning to participate face-to-face. But we have no way to help with travel expenses. We can also write a letter if you apply to a source of funds.

Refund policy
  • Refunds of the full fee will be made up to April 30.
  • Refunds of 50% will be made until June 1.
  • All refunds incur 100 dollars administration fee.
  • No refunds after June 1.
  • Substitutions possible at any time.
Could I partner with you to host a BEtreat?

If you have done a BEtreat workshop yourself and would like to spread the experience, or if you come from a low-income country with no way of participating in BEtreat unless it’s near you, then contact us to see if we can make it happen together. We partnered with Tony Carr, University of Cape Town for a BEtreat in South Africa in 2013. And in 2014 we held BEtreat Canada in partnership with Sylvia Curry and Leva Lee of BCcampus.

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