How to create a workshop: do YOU need training?

What expert is going to admit they need training…

Many industry consultants sell 1/2 day “workshops” as training, which a more like information sessions for other services than actually getting any “work” done.

This is very borderline misleading advertising in a lot of cases (see ACCC advice on product warranties). You may be given “…the tools to do a six-figure income!”, but the reality of doing this is a is in a galaxy far far away for many attendees of these information sessions.

To ensure learning does take place in a workshop, it has to be planned that way and follow some basic instructional design principles to get “understanding”, not just an awareness that you could do something.

Below is the knowledge creation model that fits the process used by many experts to ‘naturally’ develop a course. There are also similarities to between these observations that indicate that this process could also be integrated into popular programs design to build a person’s authority as an industry expert, for example, “Key Person of Influence”.

For now, the first image is just to show you where a workshop would fit into a course development process. this is just a brief outline, and you may need further information for you to make the connection between the theoretical explanation to the practical application in the workshop development process.

If you already have a workshop, you may need to take a step back from getting stuff into other people’s heads (internalisation), to work out the order they need to get instruction in their heads (combination). To give you an idea, a chef writing recipes down as they go sits at the externalisation stage, in getting ideas out of people’s heads (externalisation) in the course development process, so this needs to be done as a starting point for developing a course.

You may start with the combination stage thinking you can save time by writing down “what” you want to teach and putting it into a logical sequence for delivery. You still go back to the externalisation stage to fill in the gaps as to how you are going to do each “what” on your list, so it may not save time at all, and you may also find out (too late in some cases) you don’t have all the knowledge you thought you had to deliver the workshop.

The other side of the coin is that if you blindly write down how you do everything without a structure, you may spend extra time developing content that you will not use anytime soon, may go out of date before you do, and not be needed by your target market.

Start with “Why”

Below is the instructional design model used. It is similar to Sinek, but not the same. His work is about decision making, not knowledge creation, but confuses most these days and they mix up the what with how under this instructional design model.

Workshops are all about the “how” to, and “what if” (as in show me you can do it if this were to happen). The “why” is covered in your ads, and the what only just needs to be a reminder; kind of like when they say at the start of a flight where they are going to. It’s not what you have done, it is more why they should listen to you.

How hard do they have to think? Little first, then a lot, but more correctly “simple”, then “complex” thinking as they move up the model below in the workshop.

Get Trainees to do it twice. First, “I’ll show you…” which is the “how” above, and the “remember, understand, apply” lower level thinking (see ‘Bloom’s taxonomy’ below).

Then, get them to do it with you step by step on their own business, which is the “what if” above using the Analyse, evaluate, and create thinking below.

If you get time, you can get them to do it again on their own business in a different situation, but don’t just in and correct them so they have to think and just say “you tell me”. This is important for getting testimonials as it is not about just if they can do it, but can they do it well.

If they can doing it without you having to tell them what to do, you know they will go and do it, so get a video testimonial about the course (as it is likely you can get an “our business has grown by…. In a few months’ time). And tell them that is what you are doing; gives them confidence you are not just telling them B.S. to make them feel good, and they know their stuff so they will go and actually do it. They will be more likely to brag about it to their friends promoting your course. You do have to be honest. It can backfire if you are not honest.

Some training content may also be repurposed into promotional material for what you do, however when taken out of context things may have a different meaning to an unaware audience.

Although you need to be authentic, appearing overconfident in your expertise may not help you sell your workshops, and often leads to complaints to the ACCC for Formal qualifications and industry training products.

Don’t forget, your trainees are customers too.

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