You’ve signed up for that workshop or webinar. You’ve carved out time to go or may have cleared your busy schedule. You’re interested in the topic and can’t wait to learn more.
Annnnd roll tape.
You come away feeling frustrated, deflated and with a sense you wasted your time.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I’m going to tell you why you’re so disappoint in that sucky workshop or webinar. And it’s not what you think.
But first let’s talk about Powerful Learning.
We want Powerful Learning for ourselves and our team, our colleagues. We need it.
With all of the pressures, struggles, injustices, inequities and problems facing us, our communities and our world, we need to prioritize learning. We need to celebrate it and seek it out diligently.
Learning will make the difference between doing the same old, with no thought to future consequences and seeking out solutions, bridges to better, more just, more equitable living, and life. Learning makes the difference between falling down the same rabbit hole repeatedly and finding a new street (Portia Nelson’s amazing ‘Autobiography in Five Short Chapters).
We want and need clear runways to Powerful Learning, as opposed to Roadblocks.
And we want and need it to happen when we take or lead a workshop, a webinar, or a course.
But wayyyyyy too often our learning is left in the dust and out of reach, with the bitter taste of disappointment.
The reasons for being disappointed include:
- The learning was too hard and we felt overwhelmed and frustrated.
- The learning was too easy and we got bored.
- We didn’t feel included; none of the examples provided had anything to do with us.
- The instructor didn’t know how to manage the online learning technology so we lost interest as a result.
- The workshop was okay but we didn’t end up doing anything with our learning afterward.
- The teacher was a poor public speaker who droned on and on and said ‘uhm’ an annoying fifty million times. It was like our least favorite university lecture all over again.
Here’s the surprising thing though. All of the points above have nothing to do with the subject matter or topic of the workshop or webinar!
The instructor could be an over the top, worldwide expert and have multiple PhDs in the topic but learning didn’t happen.
Wanna know why?
Because being an expert in a topic doesn’t mean you’re able to teach it.
Experts aren’t necessarily teachers or trainers.
Teaching and training are totally different skill sets.
It’s like interviewing for a job. The skills you need to do well in an interview are almost always a whole different kettle of fish than the skills required to do the job you’re applying for. Yet we think of them as the same thing.
Let’s turn the page and get to Powerful Learning.
You need three things to create Powerful Learning.
- Subject matter expertise
- Instructional design – how to create learning that works
- Instructional delivery – how to teach
So back to those points above about sucky workshops. Points 1-3 are about instructional design issues. And points 4-6 are related to delivery challenges.
Next time you need to ensign and deliver a workshop or webinar, please for the sake of Powerful Learning, spend some time on design and delivery.
For example, take a bite out of your blindspot and know what you’re aiming for. Think about the influence of culture – yours and your learners.
And congratulations on taking up the challenge of creating some courses that have a big impact for powerful learning. Course creation is both an art and a science. And if you need some help, just holler.
Now go on and learn, laugh and lead.
- Spend some time brainstorming what issues you’ve faced in the past when taking workshops and figure out if they’re design or delivery issues.
- If I told you you could have a $100 bill which was laying flat on a table with a bottle upended on it, if you could get the bill out without upending the bottle could you do it? It’s all about learning – opening our minds to new possibilities.
- Make a plan right now for how to pay attention to design and delivery issues for your next workshop or webinar.
P.S. Check out my Workshops that Work online workshop so you can learn 4 steps to take that beloved subject matter expertise of yours and start teaching it to others.
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