Many a time even a training program facilitator starts with ‘basic assumptions’; something which otherwise he always asks participants to challenge and examine. In a recently concluded teambuilding workshop which we conducted in Manesar for the managers of a Volvo-Eicher JV, I ‘assumed’ that the participants would have a fair idea of experiential learning and tenets of teamwork and inter-personal communication.
I was surprised to be proved wrong. However this made the participation intense and takeaways huge. Their Regional Head commented, “Initially I was surprised to see the seemingly simple format even though we were paying so much money for the training program! As the program progressed I understood that it was highly relevant to our workplace issues and was being delivered very well meeting our expectations. The training technique and connecting to the learning process was quite new for us and appreciable.”
That is the beauty of experiential learning. Now, trainers can replace the traditional "Trainers talk; learners listen" paradigm with a radical new model for designing and delivering instruction: "When learners talk, do and teach, they learn."
Our brief from the HR Manager was that they wanted an Outbound Program but not any hard adventure. Generally an outbound training program is associated with activities like rock climbing, rafting, survival treks and the like. We were able to design a fast-paced program with interesting activities and novel methods of debriefing and debate to the satisfaction of our client. The HR Manager’s feedback reflected this when he said, “Program content was very much relevant for the team. The delivery by the facilitator was very good with a structured approach to the team activities.”
We customized the learning workshop based on what Jim Rohn had once said – “So we are going to do some fast-track learning – you take a concept, tease out the detail, refine it and apply it to your own experience.”
At the beginning of the program the participants seemed at a loss on how to approach the activities but as the day progressed they surprised even themselves with their creativity, problem solving skills, collaborative working and moving out of the basic assumptions syndrome.
By the end of the workshop each one of the thirty participants was highly enthused and raring to return to their workplace and try out the new learnings. It reminded me of the sagacity of Alvin Toffler’s famous and oft-repeated quote, “The illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”