Have you some times questioned the value added of doing your training workshop or strategy session off site?
I know I often get the question: Why can’t we do this in our own meeting facilities, that would cost so much less and be much easier for all of us?
The simple answer is often that if we go off site then we will not get distracted and participants will not be tempted to do their normal stuff. But considering the often quite serious costs involved in going off site that does not really explain an adequate return on investment in itself.
A more nuanced answer has to do with the concept of slow learning – a concept that is also key to achieving a much higher ROI on your training efforts
Let me explain.
If we try and map out ways of learning in a simple matrix with slow and fast learning on one axis and formal versus informal learning on the other we get the following picture:
Informal learning is defined by Jay Cross as “Learning which enables you to participate successfully in life, at work, and in the groups that matter to you. Informal learning is the unofficial, unscheduled, impromptu way people learn to do their jobs” (and all the other stuff we need to cope with life – (my addition)
Formal learning – is scheduled, planed and with a predefined content.
Fast learning is what happens when we try and cram the most information into the shortest possible time frame – either because we are in a hurry or because we want to cut costs.
Slow learning happens when we allow ourselves time to digest. When we have the possibility to reflect on how new information applies to our situation. This deeper learning occurs in a subtle mix of personal reflection and discussion with others.
There is – in a way – the same nutritional relationship between slow- and fast learning as theres is between slow- and fast food.
The big difference between fast and slow learning becomes evident once the session is over. Fast learning seldom sticks – it is often called teflon training – guaranteed not to stick – there is no or very little implementation afterwards. Participants may have added tools to their kit but they continue to use the hammer they always used. And what ever growth there is, is horizontal – they know more stuff.
Slow learning on the other hand produces visible shifts in behavior – the changes occur not so much as a result of understanding new skills but in the way participant are able to take new perspectives.They see things in new ways and reach their own conclusions as to what needs to be done. This is vertical growth – looking at challenges from a different level than the one they where created at – and the result is deep change.
If you truly wish to advance rapidly you need to retreat…