Why we seldom offer workshops

Why we seldom offer stand-alone workshops these days…

Have you ever been to a brilliant workshop that got you excited about doing things differently and then only a few weeks later realised that the “post-camp-high” has evaporated, leaving very little tangible benefit in your day to day practice?

Perhaps these experiences have made you a little “workshop-wary”? As trainers who’ve done more than our fair share of workshops over the past couple of decades, we have observed that, along with “role-play phobia”, “workshop-wariness” is on the rise. We reckon there are good reasons for this.

According to the “70:20:10” model of learning and development (McCall and others) only around 10% of the most successful workers’ learning comes from formal learning events like workshops. This model suggests that around 20% of these workers’ learning comes from social interactions like supervision while around 70% comes from on the job experience.



We believe it’s time to re-position learning events like workshops so they are part of a range of better integrated learning processes.

Most of our work these days is in “learning partnerships” with individuals, teams, “communities of practice” and organisations to develop tailored learning projects. These often include workshops following careful consultation that ensures we all enter these learning events quite aware of the knowledges and hopes participants are bringing. These formal gatherings are then followed up through one to one supervision and coaching, peer group supervision, learning circles and other processes designed to ensure participants have opportunities to link the ideas encountered in the formal workshops with their own challenges and experimentation back “at the coal-face”.

We’re increasingly confident that positioning workshops within these more developmental projects, helps to link the 70, the 20 and the 10, leading to more significant, accelerated and lasting innovations in practice.

So please feel free to come along and try out one of our workshops and keep in mind that we’d ultimately prefer to think of ways to link your 70 with your 20 and your 10.  This might be as simple as setting up 2 or 3 follow-up supervision/coaching sessions to support your implementation of the ideas after the workshop. Alternatively you might like to talk with us about a broader learning partnership or project we could work on together. Click here to share your thoughts or hopes.

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