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Enable for Collaboration in Training Programs

A Mini Case Study

Enabling for collaboration in training programs enables for increased interactions between participants and the facilitator and increased opportunities for learning. Many of my clients assume that to enable for more collaborative efforts, training has to be over a longer time period, for example a year long leadership program. But collaboration can occur even in a one-day workshop, though are on simpler scale certainly.

In this article, I want to share a client story of how Abudi Consulting Group (ACG) incorporates collaboration and enables for continued learning in their shorter training workshops (one day in length.)

A mini case study…

One of ACG’s long term clients, a pharma organization, schedules between 20 – 25 one-day workshops per year in a variety of their locations. These workshops are focused on a number of critical skills (emotional intelligence, negotiating, conflict management, critical thinking, etc.). As part of our training programs with this client, ACG utilizes a collaboration portal (we happen to use MS SharePoint® but there are any number available) to enable for discussions before and after the workshop.

Here is one example from a recent class on negotiating. This class was comprised of managers and directors who need to negotiate with partners, vendors and other entities.

Prior to the workshop session, we asked participants to log on to the SharePoint® site and respond to the following discussion question: “What challenges do you face in negotiating in your role?” and “What is one best practice you have for negotiating?”  Participants are also asked to bring to the class information around an upcoming negotiation that they need to prepare for having.

This initial (before the workshop) discussion does a few things: (1) it enables for participants to begin to engage in the workshop prior to the day of the training; (2) it enables participants to begin to share with each other; increasing their comfort in participating during the session; and (3) it enables me, as the facilitator, to gather some data that can be expanded upon in the classroom or virtual setting.

As part of this particular workshop, participants are provided a template to use in planning for a negotiating session. During the workshop, we begin to plan for that upcoming negotiation to incorporate the learnings in the session.
After the one-day session, participants have additional work to do via the collaboration portal. This includes: (1) sharing their negotiation plan with others to incorporate feedback/get ideas on how to refine their plan; (2) share the results of their negotiation with the others. In between (1) and (2) in the post-session collaboration participation, we hold a virtual session that enables for participants to practice their upcoming negotiation and get feedback.

We build this pre-workshop and post-workshop collaborative components into the training sessions. Meaning, employees know that when they sign up for a workshop, they will have some pre-work and post-work.  These pre- and post-workshop components vary depending on the topic of the training. For example, in some situations we have used mini case studies and have paired up participants to work through the case studies.

By enabling for collaborative efforts – whether it is discussions, mini case studies, problem solving scenarios – via a collaboration portal prior to, and after, a training session, you enable for increased learning by participants. I have found that getting individuals thinking about the workshop prior to the workshop enables for a more effective day together. Participants walk into the session already engaged with the material; prepared to continue their learning. Additionally, for those classes that require more personal sharing, such as the emotional intelligence workshop, participants feel comfortable with each other sooner than if we had not engaged them before the one-day workshop.

The post-workshop use of the collaboration portal enables for participants to share how they are applying the training and for me, as the facilitator, to provide additional coaching to them as they try out their new skills.

Not every client uses collaboration portals for one-day workshops, but those who have incorporated this component into the training we do with them – whether virtual or on-site – have seen significant results in engagement in learning and in the training “sticking.”

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