Last week I had a reminder of how good classroom training can be. Why do I need a reminder? Well, I’m a big fan of informal learning and knowledge sharing powered by social media tools and platforms (and am especially proud of my work on Elevenses at Reed Business Information).
Back to last week. I attended a seminar on self-employment awareness, which was a day aimed at helping delegates decide whether or not self-employment was right for them. The seminar was a part of my Penna outplacement program.
I won’t go into the content of the day but I did think the following elements made it a great success – and I came away with a reminder of why classroom-based sessions can work really well.
- A small group (six) with a shared interest in the topic is a good basis for engagement and discussion
- This was an opt-in event – we all wanted to be there so we wanted to learn
- We started off by exploring whether we – as individuals – were right to be thinking about being self-employed. This, I think, helped provide a deeper connection to the session ie we had to think hard about this and get as much out of the day to help us decide
- Seminar leader was good communicator and knew his subject very well but in a practical way ie he was self-employed so provided a practical filter for the seminar content
- Delegates were invited to participate and ask questions at any point
- There was a narrative to the content – for complex content this can be very powerful. Enabled the seminar leader to guide our thoughts and questions ie some questions could only be answered at the end of the day so we could be asked to come back to it
- Use of illustrations really helps visualise complex information – delegates liked this. Talking through the various ways of setting up a business becomes complex and illustrations worked well
- Seminar leader facilitated discussion which meant delegates started to learn from each other. Very powerful, especially for staying in touch after the event
- Good participation – similar to the previous point. Had this been a lecture format I would have fallen asleep.
- Trust in seminar leader to give us what we needed – as he was a practitioner himself we were given the ‘what you need to know’ info rather than the ‘textbook info’. There is a big difference
- Seminar leader provided great tips which you would not find in any textbook or website – only find from a practitioner with years of practical experience