As practiced today largely in the context of Information Technology companies, I have found it necessary to delineate these two words – Workshop and Training. Hence this post.
The word “training” as the dictionary expounds is – the action of teaching a person or animal a particular skill or type of behaviour“ and it is in same sense that everyone understands this word. Similarly, the word “workshop” as the dictionary expounds is – a meeting at which a group of people engage in intensive discussion and activity on a particular subject or project. Now herein lies the big difference – workshop’s multi-directional nature of engaging people in such a manner creates opportunities for deep reflection, realisations and learnings that stick, which other-wise would be difficult in trainings, largely due to its uni-directional or at best bi-directional nature.
Human evolution as it stands today – many experience that mind is not fully under its own control; many a times emotions hijack its operations or annul its decisions. Even if we were to bring about this control, cultivating it is like working on the hardest terrain on the earth – the rocks! So, how can I inspire you to work on this hardest terrain? Workshops! To bring about a mind-shift is what workshops have the potential to achieve. Mind-shift (inspiration) can easily trigger control and cultivation. In my view, trainings have a very limited scope of bringing about this mind-shift, as its primary focus is on developing particular skills.
Activities and discussions in a workshop immerse and involve people intensely, learning happens as they experiment and build it themselves. As activities and guidance untie the knots and unblock it, the mind will interest itself in drawing inferences from the facts, tracing cause and effect. An adept facilitator can then lead the audience to notice successes and failures and the reasons behind them. This approach shows where the knowledge lies and how can it be habituated to rise to the surface, rather than knowledge being imparted as information being supplied from outside1 (a.k.a trainings). As Sri Aurobindo puts it in his Integral Education Principles that the first principle of teaching is that – “Nothing can be taught.” I’m also reminded of these words and have mapped those words to the tools2 we use –
|Tell me and I Forget,||=>||Talks, Slide-shows, Discussions etc…|
|Show me and I Remember,||=>||Demos, Screencasts etc…|
|Involve me and I Learn.||=>||Workshops, Pairing, Tutorials etc…|
Workshops provide an environment where people find it enriching, stimulating and take back something with them. So, lets for once call a workshop a Workshop to convey its spirit without hiding or narrowing it by using the word “training”.
1. Integral Education – Sri Aurobindo Center for Advanced Research (SACAR).
2. The Tao of Transformation – Dhaval Dalal.