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75 Ways of Working with Groups to Develop their Training Skills – Review


Title: 75 Ways of Working with Groups to Develop their Training Skills
Authors: Sharon Bartram and Brenda Gibson
Publishers: Gower, 2001
Format: A4 ringbinder, 342 pages
ISBN: 0 566 084147

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’75 Ways’ as the number suggests is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of activities. Although the intended participants seem principally to be learners on a trainers’ training programme to help the new trainers learn their trade, to extend the viewpoints of all levels of trainers and make them think deeply about what they are doing, and why, I can see many of the activities being very suitable for more general courses.

The activities are banded in 9 parts, each concerned with a particular aspect or stage of the learning process. Part 1 – Openers – includes a fairly standard activity for enabling introductions; the well-known thermometer method of considering how the participants feel about the programme at the start and throughout; then three activities for trainers to start a relevant programme. Part 2 offers 7 activities for analysing training needs, again from both trainer and learners aspects; Part 3 looks at the learning process with ten activities concerned with the processes of learning, styles, problems and learning transfer; Part 4 contains 7 activities connected with communication from the aspects of listening, making assumptions, and non-verbal communication. Part 5 – Preparing to Train – is almost exclusively aimed at the new trainer under training and in its 13 activities ranges from objective setting, through problem solving, to seating arrangements and training notes. Parts 6 and 7 concentrate their 21 activities on training techniques and delivery with activities concerned with, among others, brainstorming, discussion leading, running problem-solving activities, designing training, giving feedback, and using instruments to assess your skills at training, facilitating and coaching Parts 8 and 9 take you to the end of a programme with 6 activities related to evaluation and 5 ending activities.

Because so many activities of all types have been produced by many published compilers, there is little new under the sun in the activity world – this is to a large extent the case here. Many of the activities are well-known, old favourites, albeit reworded and re-scened, but as with the ‘27 Ways’ all are presented in a clear, attractive manner and developed to bring a freshness to what may already be known. For example, the thermometer activity referred to earlier has been used by me for some 15 years or more, but the authors present it with a twist that made me rethink what I had done and whether I could incorporate their ideas.

If you haven’t a resource book of activities for use in trainer training courses and can only have one, I can recommend this.

Reviewed by W Leslie Rae, Ellray Associates


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