Matthew Richter posts daily comments in LinkedIn—well almost daily. You can follow him and join the conversation by going to http://linkedin.com/in/matthew-richter-0738b84. For the benefit of our readers, we decide to compile and reprint some of his provocative pieces from the past. Let us know what you think.
People don't learn from experience. They learn from the stories, reflections, and narratives they tell about the experience. Procedurally in training, we call this debriefing. If the activity is a structured sharing, item processing, or other similar framegame, debriefing may very well be unnecessary since the activity itself is what builds comprehension and understanding. If the activity is a simulation or a jolt (short epiphanies), then debriefing is essential for people to make meaning of what happened. The experience of the simulation or the jolt in of itself does not teach. The facilitator or the participants must use the activity as a stimulus for creating a story. That story makes meaning.
Multiple Personalities of the Trainer
What are the different hats a trainer wears during a workshop? One is a facilitator cap. The facilitator ensures the flow of the workshop, participants know what to do during activities, and properly reflect on what happened. Another is the subject-matter expert hat. This can be a different person. The SME is the content expert and should avoid pontification, pursuing a more consultative approach. As an instructional designer, the trainer modifies the course on the fly, adjusting to the needs of those in the room. Politician: the trainer must make sure the stakeholders are happy, even if their happiness is in conflict with the course direction. Evaluator: the trainer measures the efficacy of the program.