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Online workshop report: Outdoor training – why, when and how?

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This is the transcript from the online workshop held on Tuesday 17 April on the topic of outdoor training.

Mike Eadie- Good afternoon...
Stephanie Phillips Hi Mike, thanks for coming along. Roger is hosting the session and will be along shortly...
Stephanie Phillips Hi Antony, thanks for coming.
Mike Eadie- Hi Stephanie...thank you...what is the agenda? Do you know?
Stephanie Phillips Hi Roger - you have two attendees already!
Roger Greenaway Hi it's Roger here!
Stephanie Phillips ...and another - hi Klaus!
Stephanie Phillips Roger - do you want to start with people introducing themselves?
Roger Greenaway An excellent idea - please do!
Roger Greenaway Klaus I believe you are in the USA but not from the USA
Roger Greenaway Chris would you like to say where you are from?
Stephanie Phillips Over to you Chris, Mike and Klaus! What would you like today's session to cover?
Roger Greenaway We have some ready made questions, but real live ones would be better!
Klaus Jakobsen Hi' yes, I'm not from the US, but am sitting with a group of people from the University of New Hamspire
Roger Greenaway Welcome to New Hampshire folk. Do you have a question?
Stephanie Phillips Sounds interesting - what do you do there?
Chris Spencer Hi there Roger and all, I work for the Youth Service in Blackburn
Klaus Jakobsen Do you see any differences in how programs are being implemented in the US vs. the UK/Europe?
Stephanie Phillips Roger - before we start with questions, do you want to outline the things you'd like to discuss?
Roger Greenaway Hi Chris - I believe you are a keen promoter of outdoor training. Is everyone so far a provider?
Roger Greenaway Hi Mike. To fuel this discussion we need a question. Anyone care to ask?
Is transfer a topic that excites/worries/interests people? If so, from what angle?
Klaus Jakobsen Any reasons why we should not run OMD programs any loner?
Roger Greenaway Hi Klaus - is this a question about the length of outdoor programmes?
Klaus Jakobsen No, it is a question about critiques of OMD - that nobody has really - perhaps - proven that it is effective etc...
Roger Greenaway Outdoor programmes do seem to be getting much shorter. Has anyone noticed the trend going the other way?
Roger Greenaway Thanks for the clarification Klaus
Chris Spencer Roger we tend to think of Development Training as a a powerful learning tool for individual personal development and for functional team development, does it/can it make an impact on community development?
Roger Greenaway I think there are lots of studies that do demonstrate the effectiveness of outdoor training. On community development - I believe the starting points are always at a personal and group level. The same is true I think for organisation development
Klaus Jakobsen We agree that they may demonstrate it, but not actually prove it...
Roger Greenaway Are you looking for proof for potential clients or for academics? There are two discussions going here but that's OK.
Mike Eadie potential clients...and we deal in the education sector too.... so that would be helpful
Klaus Jakobsen Re. the question of length of programmes. Should we refuse to run programs for companies, who ask us to do a 1/2 day program that we know will not produce any results at all?
Roger Greenaway The programme length is often much longer than time in the outdoors. With good preparation and follow-up a 'half day' programme may actually be closer to 1.5 days. If you can show good results from a half day programme, maybe that is a good way to sell longer programmes, but there are many aspects of outdoor training that you just can't get into in only half a day.
Roger Greenaway Welcome Andy, Bill - you are welcome to introduce yourselves or ask a question or provide an answer - you can see what's happened so far by clicking on the link at the foot of the page.
Chris Spencer I guess my concern with starting from personal/group development is that it can easily become a tool for personal or group survival/escape rather than transformational community development/change
Roger Greenaway Welcome Joe and Silke you are welcome to introduce yourselves or ask a question or provide an answer - you can see what's happened so far by clicking on the link at the foot of the page.
Roger Greenaway I think Chris is right to say that the outdoors can be an escape. But one worker in Glasgow used to take whole busloads of people from Glasgow to escape to a remote Scottish Island. An example of the two things coming together.
Roger Greenaway I hope some of you feel free to respond as well as ask questions. My main role here as I see it is facilitator, but I'll give answers where I can.
Chris Spencer How do you see that bringing the two things together Roger?
Klaus Jakobsen Re: Program length. We recognize that 1.5 days will be involved in program design and training, although we would like to see that amount of time with the participants not just the sponsor at 1.5 days. Do you have any suggestions to further sell longer programs?
Roger Greenaway To sell longer progammes key people need to experience longer programmes or at least meet people who have taken part in such programmes. Personal contact and experience counts for a lot more than what's on paper.
Bill Krouwel If the outdoors is "an escape", there seems to be an assumption that there is something to escape from......like some kind of prison.......I'd like to think, therefore, that "escape" is a valid outcome of OMD......so long as the escape is one where people end up in what's for them, a better place than their current "prison" (whistles theme from "The Great Escape" to himself....
Roger Greenaway Hello whistling Bill! I think escape is a useful concept - but in the outdoors it is escape into a bigger more holistic world rather than hiding in a box. The routine of office work can be an escape from having to think bigger.
Klaus Jakobsen Does anyone have some new research on the length of program and its effectiveness?
Andy Szekely About longer programs: Don't you think it may depend on the cultural aspects of the education in each country ?
Klaus Jakobsen Perhaps you have some experience with this?
Roger Greenaway A good question Klaus. If I find an answer I'll add it to the end of this workshop - revisit this page to view (or make) comments.
Andy Szekely Not really. But experience is coming....
Roger Greenaway On the length of programmes I have heard that it is the last few hours that are often the most significant as people realise that the opportunity for learning is about to end.
Bill Krouwel Absolutely agreed! it CAN be an escape into a more holistic world - and like some others I'm concerned at the depth of reflection etc. that can be realistically achieved in the ever-shorter programmes which seem to be what the customer wants.....is there a need to educate the customer here?
Roger Greenaway I think that so far we are a group of providers - so there are no direct customer views available
Chris Spencer Does this bring us back to the idea of transfer; transfer of learning to the work place or community, is escape sustainable (particularly for those with limited resources) are we promoting a sustainable product?
Roger Greenaway The history of outdoor training is that we have succeeded in reducing course length quite dramatically without much loss of quality, but maybe some programmes are now much too short?
Klaus Jakobsen Have any of you heard of the ETD alliance [experiential training and development] which is a new organization in the US that was designed to educate the customer among other things...
Roger Greenaway I notice we have just had a series of 3 questions. Let's offer some answers too!
Roger Greenaway Tell us more Klaus
Bill Krouwel Having been one of the original reducers of programmes (getting them down from 21 to 5 days), I feel a real qualitative difference between the 3-5 day offerings and the 1-day (if you're lucky) "hits" which seem to be becoming the norm in the U.K.
Klaus Jakobsen Do you have an organization in your countries like this?
Roger Greenaway We used to have (and still do?) the 'development training users group'. The good news about course length is that it has really helped providers to come up with designs that are really time effective. Now transfer that into longer courses and the results should be a great improvement.
Klaus Jakobsen It is currently made up of 19 organizations (not individuals) providing experiential training.
Roger Greenaway Is there a website reference for this organisation Klaus?
Klaus Jakobsen we are getting the address right now. it will be posted in a minute.
Andy Szekely Andy Szekely: do they accept more organisatons in this consortium ?
Roger Greenaway Hi Joe - do you have a question you would like to ask?
Klaus Jakobsen Yes, Bill Proudman of AEE is the contact person. Although, it concentrates its work in the US.
Roger Greenaway Chris asked about outdoor training being a sustainable product. Can you enlarge on this Chris?
Will Krouwel Is the organisation a new one - how does it differ from more old-established ones?
Roger Greenaway Welcome Jeffrey. You can see what's been happening by clicking on the link at the foot of this page. Please join in.
Klaus Jakobsen ETD became a non-profot trade association in june 2000. It grew out of the work of the AEE task force that wrote the DEEP document. Many of the same authors of the document are aalso members of ETD.
Will Krouwel A question to Andy - is OMD growing in Romania?
Roger Greenaway I think we are coming to the end of this experiment. I'd like to thank you all for taking part, but before you all sign off, please add any questions that you would like to record here - because visitors to this page will be able to comment. There are people who couldn't make this time but who were very interested in taking part. But keep going now if you have more to say!
Klaus Jakobsen ETD webpage is at http://www.etdalliance.com
Stephanie Phillips Thanks Roger - although hope it wasn't too much of an experiment! For all those who haven't been before, we run a session every week here.
Stephanie Phillips If you're happy, we can wind things up there.
Roger Greenaway Thanks Klaus and Stephanie
Will Krouwel Thanks for hosting, Roger - my first live chat thing - fascinating but confusing!
Stephanie Phillips Thanks to all for coming along, and thanks of course to Roger for facilitating - hope you all found it useful.
Stephanie Phillips Hope to see you all at another session soon.
Chris Spencer Thanks all
Roger Greenaway Thanks to everyone one and all.
Stephanie Phillips Bye for now - as Roger says, feel free to stay on and chat if you'd like to, but the session will be ending officially now.
Klaus Jakobsen Thanks and hi from the US
Andy Szekely Andy Szekely all the best to all (I owe an answer to Will: no, as far as I know. I'll make some endeavours...)

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