What Great Trainers Do: The Ultimate Guide to Delivering Engaging and Effective Learning

By Robert Bolton; Dorothy Grover Bolton | Go to book overview

2
Content and Process: The Two Intertwined
Elements of Dynamic Training

Confluent: Flowing together; blended into one.

——The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

Every training event is composed of two intertwined elements: workshop content and group process. Content and process are always present in a workshop and the quality of each greatly affects participants’ learning.

Content is what is taught. It is the subject matter of the workshop—the knowledge, concepts, methods, and skills that are to be learned. Participants are attending the workshop to learn new content or to develop more mastery in an area in which they already have some competence. Since the content is what people are there to learn, a dynamic trainer needs to be a subject-matter specialist in each course he or she teaches. That’s a major challenge for many trainers because the organizations they work for may not provide the time or resources needed to help them master the content they’ll be teaching.

Group process, the other component of training, focuses on how the training group is functioning. It is composed of two related aspects of group experience: (1) the emotions the individuals in the group are experiencing, and (2) the everfluctuating interaction between participants as they encounter one another, the workshop content, and the trainer.

Process is always present in training and inevitably contributes to or detracts from learning. When managed well, group process supports participants’ learning of the workshop content. And, as you might expect, mediocre or dysfunctional process undermines learning. The good news is that process can be observed, analyzed, and managed to serve the learning goals of the workshop. Good process kindles the want-to-learn part of people that makes the learning experience more enjoyable and far more productive.

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