They may all look the same from outside the room looking in, but there's more than one type of workshop!

As previously mentioned, the CSAR learner states have specific applicability in what we term training workshops.

These are defined as any workshop where skills and knowledge are acquired, with the expectation that learners will then return to the workplace to continue their learning and development. " 

How can you spot such a beast? That's easy; just read the course learning outcomes. If these start with one or more verbs, followed by a clearly stated context or task (e.g. Identifies and analyses learning outcomes within a workshop), then you know you're dealing with a training workshop.

A great many workshops sit under this broad context, including all forms of  accredited, competency based training.


So what aren't Training Workshops?

Hmmm, good question. Here are some common examples, each of the following has its own beneficial place in workplace education:

  • Business Presentations, which are speaker-led and therefore less learner-driven and activity-based 
  • Facilitated Workshops, which tend to be more open and focused on group discovery, problem-solving and increasing insight 
  • Skills Reinforcement Sessions, where previously "released" skills and knowledge are refined and extended, often via repeated, instructor-led practice and drills
  • Discussion/Follow-up sessions, where a group of learners may meet to discuss active progress on a project, assessment task, work challenge etc

Interestingly, Training Workshops tend be a complex hybrid of these other interventions. They release knowledge like the business presentation, allow for a certain degree of exploration and problem solving like facilitated workshops, support limited, or "early", skills development like skills reinforcement sessions, and encourage progressive discussion and checking in (e.g. from session to session or day to day) like a discussion/follow up session. 




Getting the balance right

Training Workshops tend to require a deft balance between the following complex and opposing forces:

  • Theory and Reality
  • Knowledge and Skills development
  • Trainer-led moments and group-led moments
  • Stillness and Movement
  • Human input and Materials/Media-based elements

The list could go on, but hopefully the point's been made - Training Workshops possess an often under-rated level of complexity. Without assistance the designer and trainer are bound to overlook, or over/under-do something. That's where CSAR comes in!