BEtreat workshops

Step up your game

Guided retreats

Do you want to develop effective strategies for leading or supporting social learning initiatives in today’s more complex and less certain landscape? We think we can help you clarify and focus your strategy, step up your game, and take strategic steps forward.

Our guided retreats are an opportunity for individuals or small groups to take a deep dive into their project or portfolio. We use the latest frameworks, tools, and theories from social learning that help you come to new understandings and a plan of action.

We hold regular public BEtreats as well as custom BEtreats. Take a look below to see some of the ways you can join us in a BEtreat.

Who are they for?

Our BEtreats are aimed at sponsors, conveners, leaders, facilitators, researchers and evaluators of communities of practice, networks, dynamic conferences, shared workspaces and other social learning spaces.

Led by experience

Etienne and Bev have been writing and consulting across sectors and the globe for more than thirty years. Etienne, mostly known for his seminal work on communities of practice, and Beverly, mostly known for her work internationally and use of new technologies, live out their passion for learning to make a difference.

Information about public BEtreats

Since 2010 we have been hosting annual four-day “BEtreats” in California – intense workshops with small groups of people from different contexts. We have also held BEtreats in Canada, South Africa, and Slovenia. In 2018 we started a European series in Portugal.

Whichever BEtreat you are interested in, sign up below. Let us know if you are interested or if you are ready to commit.

Portugal in 2019

May 28 – 31: State-of-the-art. Closed.

June 4 – 7: Cutting-edge. Closed.

Sept 17 – 20: Advancing your practice. Closed

2020 dates coming soon

California in 2019

July 16 – 19: State-of-the-art. Closed.

July 23 – 26: Cutting-edge. Closed.

2020 dates coming soon

Online and face-to-face

Your participation can be face-to-face or online. Face-to-face takes place in California and Portugal. 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.


Small and focused

To ensure we address everyone’s situation, we limit the number of participants to 12 maximum (including up to 4 online).

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.

Three kinds of BEtreat


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 aspects of the field.

Research and evaluation

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

“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


For public BEtreats in California and Portugal

What is included:

    Face-to-face prices include light breakfast, lunch, and all-day refreshments, as well as two evening dinners.
    We have a tradition of having dinner together on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Partners and families are welcome.

  • There is a 20% repeater discount for people who have attended a BEtreat before
  • We offer 30% scholarships for students in Masters and PhD programs
  • If you live in a country where these prices are prohibitive, contact us.


All prices in US dollars

Very early bird


Early bird

Regular price

Face-to-face participation


Online participation



Frequently Asked Questions

About public 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?

We have two main locations:


If you are participating in the regular face-to-face or individual BEtreat in California, 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.


If you are participating in the regular face-to-face or individual BEtreat in Portugal, then the workshops happen in Setúbal. It is a historical, post-industrial beach city located 60km south of Lisbon. It is easily reachable from Lisbon airport, which is served by all major airlines. It has plenty of good accommodations and is ideal for a family outing.

In addition, special BEtreats can take place in most parts of the world. Just talk to us.

Is accomodation included in the price?

Accomodation is included in an individual BEtreat.

For the regular BEtreat in California, 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 research and evaluation?
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 research and evaluation is for people who are interested in the theory for research purposes of the value-creation framework for evaluation. Having said that, we do get academics and evaluators in the state-of-the-art and practitioners from Higher Ed in the research and evaluation.

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 or evaluation project
  • apply that perspective to data analysis
Do you offer group discounts?
Yes, contact us for 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 public BEtreat in my area?
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. In 2016 we partners with the Center for Excellence in Finance to hold a BEtreat in Slovenia. We are game!

Our certificate program

We also run a year-long certificate program, which include two BEtreats and a year-long supervised project

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