Pushing boundaries

3 July 2008 2 By Viv McWaters

I’ve been searching for ways to encourage training participants to write their own manual, in real time, while taking part in a training program that they will later deliver to others. I can hear a whole lot of people out there thinking, ‘oh, that’s train-the-trainer’ stuff. For some reason the term ‘train-the-trainer’ leaves me cold and doesn’t quite capture the messy, organic, spontaneous and sometimes random way that training and learning merge. I’ve tried the training manual approach and it doesn’t work, so I’m looking for more participatory and dynamic approaches. So if anyone has any ideas I’d be most grateful.

So there I was going through my bookshelf looking for inspiration and I stumbled upon a couple of essays I wrote when I did my Masters. No wonder I ended up blogging when I submitted essays titled ‘Collecting Clouds – a conversation with myself about action research’. How pretentious! So I had a look to see what the 10-year-younger me wrote back in 1998. I was surprised to be reminded of setting up a discussion group for my fellow students. We were all course work students from across the country who came together only twice a year for a week at a time. The email discussion list was to help keep us connected in-between. Now I’d use a social networking site like collectiveX or ning.┬áSo even way back then I was ‘expanding the event horizon’ (hat tip to Matt Moore). Stay tuned for a podcast hosted by Matt Moore where Geoff Brown and I ramble on about facilitating and the unexpectedness of it all.