You’ve got hard won subject matter expertise.
You’re set on changing the world (or your corner of it).
You’re keen to share your wisdom with the world but you’re afraid of falling into the trap of creating a workshop that:
- Is boring
- Is nothing much more than a lecture
- Doesn’t engage your workshop participants
- Doesn’t have any impact
- Doesn’t create any change
Not to worry. I’ve got your back.
Workshops that work are ones that make way for powerful learning. Powerful learning is learning that is engaging, doesn’t suck, isn’t painful and makes a difference.
So how you do you create some powerful learning in your own workshops?
First off think about your own learning. Take this 2 question survey, which prompts you to think about your own powerful learning example.
Spoiler alert; take the survey first if you don’t want a spoiler!
I’ve asked thousands of workshop participants about their own powerful learning in my ‘Workshops that Work’ workshops for social change agents like you who want to learn how to design and delivery powerful workshops and here’s the thing. Lean in close.
Of all the examples of powerful learning, maybe 2 or 3 people (out of thousands) thought of an example that took place in a university.
And yet university is held up as the place to learn.
Now I’m not here to bash universities. I’ve spent a whole lotta time there learning as well as teaching, but I am here to tell you there’s alternatives.
University learning is often the opposite of powerful learning, of experiential learning. It’s lecture based, where in the words of Don Tapscott, “the notes of the lecturer go to the notes of the student without going through the brains of either.”
Why do lectures not lead to powerful learning?
Powerful learning is almost always experiential learning. And lectures aren’t experiential.
I’ve seen people dismiss experiential learning as that “nicey nicey thing that we don’t really have time for.”
My thirty years of experience in the field has proved over and over that experiential learning isn’t just a nicety or a fun thing to make yourself look good, but it’s critical if you want your workshop participants to learn and lead.
So where do you start with your own experiential learning?
Easy peasy. Here are three ways to introduce experiential learning into your own workshops, things that lead the way to powerful learning.
- Plan for energizers; those super quick snappy inclusive exercises help keep people engaged and focused. Example: get people to stand up and spell their name with their hips.
- Plan or icebreakers; these exercises help people feel like they belong so they can focus on learning. Example: do a name game (but please for the love of liquorice don’t do ones that put all the attention on one person at a time, for example where you have to remember everyone’s name before you and a vegetable that starts with the first letter of their name).
- Include FGLA’s (facilitated group learning activities); these are your ticket to powerful learning on over drive. They’re fun inclusive activities that, when debriefed, lead to powerful learning. Example: I used my motivation survey with a United Nations Environment group I was training recently, to help them understand what motivates them. Then we applied that information to a small bur real problem on the training day; how to get folks to keep the door to the room shut so the AC would work.
Every single minute in your workshop is an opportunity to engage people so they can amp up their learning and merge into the powerful learning causeway. That includes how you divide people into small groups, how you open and how you close your workshop.
So get creative, have fun and amp up your powerful learning so others can do so as well.
Stay tuned. Next week I’ll explain how to ensure the success of your FGLA’s (facilitated group learning activities) using a simple tool I’ll teach you.
Till then stay on the powerful learning causeway with the wind at your back.