Richard Maun – Learning vs Content

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Learning vs Content

6 August 2017

Many years ago, when I was a freshly minted coach, I was asked to run a course about coaching and leadership.

Actually the word ‘course’ is misleading because it was a one-day workshop. However, in the way that sardines are cleverly compressed into cans, this was a 3-day course compressed into an 8-hour tin of goodness. 

Well, that’s what the training manager wanted me to deliver. She had a tick list of items and expected me to touch on at least 15 different subjects during the day. I said no.

I said that she was hiring me to educate people and that 3 days into 8 hours doesn’t work. Machine-gunning a group of delegates is a total waste of time and clients need to remember that you wouldn’t treat school children like that, so why do it with adults?

It’s the ‘less is more’ paradox. Takes a bit of assertiveness and trust to deliver on, but is much better than opting for ‘more is more’ which can lead to a lack of learning.

A good tip is to have an exercise for delegates after each 20 minute teach and to follow this up with a plenary discussion. 

This allows people with different learning styles to digest the new learning and makes for a much more evenly paced day.

In the end I compromised with the training manager, delivered a useful 1-day workshop in 8-hours and gave the delegates some extra handouts, for them to ignore at their leisure.

What reminded me of this experience was seeing advertised a 1-day leadership course that promised to deliver everything but a trip to the moon and back. I think that approach is perhaps more of a light skim than actual education and for some people that is fine. 

Personally, my experience is that people make longer lasting behavioural changes when they have the space to really absorb new tools and techniques. 

Less is more! Except when we are talking about eating cake, in which case more is more!

Next week: Going WiFi Commando


Click cover to view details on Amazon


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Published 2013 Marshall Cavendish



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Published 2006 Cyan Books and Marshall Cavendish


© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact