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I’m not a participant, I participate!

February 6, 2012

When designing & delivering training programmes, my biggest challenge is to create a learning culture of shared responsibility for the learning outcomes with the participants. Or maybe I should say ‘facilitate’, rather than ‘create’ a culture like that. Sometimes it’s obvious that some participants are in ‘tourist mode’, just playing along with wathever the trainer is telling them to do, but not really into it. Others might even be in ‘resistance mode’, because they are only at the training because their manager sent them. Luckily most of the time, people are really participating, but -still- it could be more.

Actually, when I talk about ‘participants’, I think I’m already missing the point. Calling somebody that, is already nudging them into lean-back-mode. People should not be participants, but be participating. Opening up parts of a training programme, including the design, preparations and delivery I think facilitates a participative culture.

So, how to do that? Ah, that’s where it gets tricky. I think however, that -as a start- the following rules can be helpful when designing a programme:

 As I said, this doesn’t solve it all, but I think it’s good to keep in the backs of our heads (or maybe rather on the tips of our tounghs). So ask questions, instead of giving answers. 

Q: To all trainers, programme managers, ‘participants’, what do you think about this?


From → Learning

  1. I think Rule 2 remains ‘leader-centric’ (can do for you) and the Rule should actually be
    “Never do anything that they can do for themselves”
    This may be achieved by ‘leading’ questions, but not by taking over
    Sure, it can become uncomfortable but more often than not it then becomes their own idea
    Accordingly in my mind this suggests Rule 1 should also be re-stated as
    “Never tell them anything, participate in their discovery”

    • Thank you very much for your comments Denis, I love it! Absolutely agree, and will change the ‘rules’ in a next post.

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