Richard Maun – Why Many Training Workshops Suck

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Why Many Training Workshops Suck

2 December 2019

People are well intentioned. They tend to turn up at work with a desire to do good, work hard and make productive decisions.

The trouble starts when they allow emotion to cloud rational thinking. The trouble deepens when that emotion is pointed at issues in which they lack expertise.

Lacking expertise doesn’t stop people from having opinions and making decisions though. They just plough on regardless.

This can blight training.

There seems to be a tendency for people to book workshops that are simply a sweep through a PowerPoint pack.

This is okay for a quick hit, but it’s not really good education and doesn’t tend to change behaviour.

A colleague recently quoted figures to me that suggested didactic teaching, eg pointing at PowerPoint slides, can have a retention rate of 10% within a 2 week timescale. Experiential workshops can have a 60% retention rate. Delegates remember more comtent and the learning is more sticky.

Experiential styles involve discussion, exercises, playing with props, role play, laughter, getting out of the work room, exploring, co-creating and so on.

In addition, workshops can be supported by coaching and open-learning sessions. Delegates get to co-create the content, instead of being empty vessels waiting to be filled.

I’m sure you would agree that coaching and open learning sound great. Useful and practical. And yet it’s amazing how rarely they are booked as part of a development package.

Instead, people book onto a 4 day course, where they can learn, say, leadership skills.

No reflection. No ongoing review. No case study review. No ability to learn things twice.

They’ve learned about leadership, ergo, they are now qualified to lead.

And this is why many workshops suck.

They are not about real development and self-growth.

They are a tick-box exercise in attendance.

Let’s test this. This week we can seek out someone who has been taught our organisational values. Probably during their induction, many years ago. Give them a blank sheet of paper and ask them to list the values and explain what they mean in their daily work. Then sit back and ponder the result.

It may be depressing.

Taking leadership as an example, it’s fatuous to send people away for a week and expect them to come back as leaders. If it was that easy, parents would do a weeks parenting course and be all sorted, instead of learning on the job!

If you’d like your staff to really develop their leadership skills then please get in touch. I have a kicking programme that comprises…

2 days of experiential workshops

2 days of coaching

2 days of revision, case study review and open learning.

All shot through with the hearty and applicable content that comes from Transactional Analysis. Delegates don’t just learn about leadership, they learn how to be a leader.

Now that’s what I call education.

Next week: Dirty Tricks For Negotiations


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© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact