Here are some commonsense tips for designing and/or delivering training workshops using CSAR

  1. For each hour of training, ensure the group spend less than half the time in the states of Curiosity and Study, and more than half the time in the states of Activity and Reflection, which are by far the more interactive and therefore time-consuming.

  2. Minimising Study time also ensures that you don't make perhaps the most common design mistake of all - overstuffing a session with too much content, ideas, concepts etc. CSAR is all about getting the balance right between theory and practice and the "more/less than half the time" rule ensures that course content is somewhat restricted, and therefore explored thoroughly enough for learning outcomes to be achieved back at work.

  3. Training workshops are what we call a real-time medium, and the enemy of anything that occurs in real time is boredom. As such, you need to move groups from one CSAR state to the next regularly. This is sometimes called "rebooting" the group. Try to avoid leaving groups in a specific learning state for longer than the research indicates human attention will allow (i.e. around 5-10 minutes).

  4. If groups remain in a certain learning state for more than 5-10 minutes, (a) make sure it's either Activity or Reflection (see first tip), and (b) try to do something every 5-10 minutes to re-boot the group's attention within that state. For example, you could stop a group midway through a discussion or skills activity to ask for questions, or move the group on to a new activity question or focus.

  5. It probably goes without saying, but make sure everything you ask learners to do supports the achievement of course learning outcomes - i.e. prepares them to be able to continue learning back on the job.

    This relates to the very widely used 70-20-10 model for development. Training workshops are commonly used as the 10% of development - i.e. formal acquisition of content and skills. If the 70-20-10 theory is correct, learners won't truly develop if they don't return to work and get subsequent coaching support and feedback from others (20% of development) before using this to complete and develop through work tasks within their role (70% of development).

    Put simply - as far as you can, use your 10 to set up the other 20 and 70!