No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Conference Seminars – Who’s Responsible for Practical Application?


Seminars are opportunities to update ourselves on developments in our profession, whether on developing trends or new skills development. Most of us attend seminars for our professional development. Sometimes we may also present seminars in our own fields. Do we get our money’s worth when we attend? Do we deliver the expected value when we present? Value for money includes content that is readily accessible and practicable. I want to distinguish between the concepts 'seminar' and 'training program'. In understanding the difference, we can generate improved ideas about increasing value in these learning processes. We can distinguish between a presentation by a subject-matter expert on a particular topic and the facilitation of a process in which the learner actively participates. The former is a 'seminar'. The information flows one way, from presenter to attendees, who choose what to use or not. The latter is a 'training program', designed around specific learning outcomes appropriate to the needs of the organization. It utilizes conversations among and between participants and facilitator. The participant has to be equipped to implement the new learnings back at work. The facilitator, participant and organization share responsibility for the on-the-job applied success of the training. Other learning processes also exist, but the distinctions I draw here serve to clarify that as seminar presenters we should not get distracted by the notion that we are responsible for our attendees implementing what we have presented. Seminars are a common conference format. They offer information on best practice, new theories and case studies, for example. Conferences are marketplaces of ideas and information, and attendees don’t expect to implement all they will learn. The same is true of the seminar. A professional is free to choose how to use what’s on offer. However, if the task is to introduce new processes or job-related skills, the learning design is quite different. We then talk about a 'training program', involving a range of training strategies that will translate learning into direct job-related action and performance improvement. Outcomes are described in behavioral terms. Several approaches are available to the developer, such as post-training on-the-job coaching and program design centered on desired business results and behaviors. Also useful are briefings, prior to and subsequent to the program, between the participant and their manager. Briefings take place within the framework of an agreed personal development plan and include specific learning goals, to be demonstrated on the job, and include regular feedback discussions. They also serve to ensure that the participant has the necessary resources to perform successfully and that there are ways in which such success would be recognised. Do these distinctions between seminars and training programs make sense to you? What other differences would you highlight and how would those influence the accountability for the translation of class-room learning to workplace behavior? Let me know what you think.

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!