The purpose of adult education is to help them learn, not to teach them all you know and thus stop them from learning.”
Sharon Bowman, the author of the book “Training From the Back of the Room,” has been an enormous influence in my career. She told me very early on, “You don’t want to be the sage on the stage; you want to be the guide on the side.” She helped me recognize the importance of connecting people with the content rather than with the trainer. For me, the most challenging thing she said was, “the one doing the talking is the one doing the learning, so make sure the students talk more than the instructor.”
I read Sharon’s book in late 2009, and it was life-changing. The book was responsible for changing the entire Agile and Scrum training industry. I wrote a blog entry about it, and I spoke about it every chance I got. Other trainers were ready for change, and change happened. Some took longer than others, but now it is not uncommon to see phrases like “No Powerpoint” or “brain-friendly training” in course descriptions. The problem is you can do all of that and still have a lousy class! Making a class genuinely great needs to combine “brain-friendly” with “actionable results.” Some trainers try to overcome this by trying to teach every single thing, and then some! It results in significant cognitive overload, but wow, the experience of drinking from the firehose can be amazing!
I take a different approach. Certainly, I want my classes to be amazing, but I NEED people to leave with actionable results. This means helping them deeply understand the Agile and Scrum mindset and understanding the “why” that makes the “how” work. Once people make this connection, all of Agile and Scrum makes more sense. Having actionable results equals having an impact, and that’s what I’m after every time someone is in my class.
If you are looking for a class, don’t just focus on price, or the buzzwords of “No PowerPoint” and “brain-friendly.” Try to zero in on what the impact of the class will be for you. Look for the trainer’s recommendations and reviews. Everyone can see my LinkedIn, they can also look at our TrustPilot reviews, or the testimonial videos at the bottom of our home page. I like to think we have classes that do it right, even in today’s virtual world!
Perhaps some of you reading this have been in my classes in the past. Put a comment below on whether the class made a difference for you. I’d love to get the feedback!