When discussing an assignment with a client I sometimes get the impression that an event is supposed to be a TRAINING, but later I learnt that the client actually wants to reflect on their own strategy. Then I would call it a WORKSHOP…. In some cases an assignment is diplomatically even referred to as a Training Workshop, which in my perception is not an existing concept. And indeed when I asked about what they actually want, they tell me that they want both … a Training and a Workshop …
This will not be an easy mix. Maybe it helps if I explain my own perception of the differences between a WORKSHOP and a TRAINING.
A TRAINING explains participants concepts, procedures and techniques on, for example, the Logical Framework Analysis (LFA) Quality instrument for Strategy development, Identification, Formulation, Implementation / Monitoring and Evaluation all along the Project Cycle. To learn some skills participants may also practice on a case that is familiar to them. Each sub-group can even work on their own case. As such, they gain (RESULTS) knowledge, skills and attitude and get confident in applying those aspects in their work (Overall Objectives). The PURPOSE of training is that participants, preferably heterogeneously mixed, get sufficient practical exposure that makes them feel competent (PURPOSE) on understanding and applying the topic. In a TRAINING it would be nice if participants have some interaction with the trainer and feel free to ask (“stupid”) questions. Only then LEARNING takes place as the questions boil up after THINKING. A training can be 2, 3 or even 5 days depending on the scope of the training and the desire to have practical exercises during the training.
On the other hand, in a WORKSHOP a facilitator guides a group of 12-20 (max!) representatives from involved stakeholders through the Analysis and Planning procedure, called the Logical Framework Analysis Quality instrument (LFA). The procedure starts with the analysis of a specific situation (Stakeholder Analysis and Problem Analysis) and helps participants to DESIGN an intervention (WHAT matrix) and helps them to Prepare a Capacity Building Plan to strengthen the implementing agency (HOW).
A workshop deals with a REAL and PAINFUL situation around which several Stakeholders play a role, either as “End-user” getting affected by the situation or as a “Supplier” in one way or another involved in contributing to solving or causing the situation. Mostly the participants know each other and work in the same field. In a workshop the facilitator does not (or very briefly) explain the LFA methodology, but applies the procedure of the LFA methodology. A workshop is dealing with a real issue that in real life is important to all the participants, some even more (like the End-Users!) than others.
The procedure of a Participatory LFA workshop for Project Design is:
1. Determination of the entity,
2. Determination of the Stakeholders (WHO),
3. Identification of problems as perceived from the points of view of the different stakeholders (WHY),
4. Discussing the problems identified until these are clear to all,
5. Building a cause-effect logic of the problems identified,
6. Formulating the problems into objectives,
7. Preparing the Logical Framework Matrix: Project Purpose, Overall Objectives, (Assumptions to Overall Objectives), Results / Outcomes, Assumptions to Purpose, Activities to reach Results and Assumptions to reach the Results, Preconditions.
8. Identify the Implementing Agencies and define the need to strengthen that organisation.
9. If needed prepare a Capacity Building Matrix for each organisation in need of support.
The Outputs of a workshop are a thorough and commonly agreed analysis of the specific problematic situation and an agreed plan of action.
A facilitated participatory multi-stakeholder consultation WORKSHOP for project Design with max 20 participants and a rather complicated issue may take 3-5 days. Sometimes the Capacity Building matrix is postponed to a later date.
Mixing both the TRAINING concept with the WORKSHOP concept does not work well.
A TRAINER aims at delivering his or her message to participants as effective as possible using explanations, demonstrations, examples, exercises on case studies, group discussions and reflections.
A workshop FACILITATOR, on the other hand, guides the group through a particular procedure. In that process his or her role is to QUESTION the participants and get INFORMATION and PERCEPTIONS about a specific situation out of participants and share and reflect on that information among the group. As such, the workshop participants are expected to have the KNOWLEDGE on that situation.
In the TRAINING the focus is on the LFA / PCM / RBM methodology, the process, while in a workshop the focus is on the content. In a training we use a simple and not too complicated case somehow familiar to all participants to demonstrate the methodology, while in a workshop we use the real situation that is as perceptions in the heads of the participants. In a workshop we try to harmonise perceptions and reach a common understanding on the existing situation.
The power of a workshop is ANONYMITY as all topics are written on cards and treated anonymously. This technique does often bring out sensitive issues never spoken about before.
Regarding the physical organisation of both a training and a workshop is that all participants should be able to easily READ the text on the cards! In that sense the setting of the room plays a very important role. That is why I, if possible, work on the long side of the room where I can post my visualisation sheet and the cards and participants do not sit too far away. Read an article on our Blog: http://projectsforchange.eu/room-set-working-long-side/
Examples of real WORKSHOPS are documented in our Blog:
– Sanitation for Afghanistan (UNICEF): http://projectsforchange.eu/shame-shock-and-disgust/
– Leprosy in Cambodia (Novartis): http://projectsforchange.eu/formulation-leprosy-program-cambodia/
– Strategy for Rwanda National Police : http://projectsforchange.eu/strategy-workshop-for-rwanda-national-police/
– ONE UN in Vietnam : http://projectsforchange.eu/one-united-nations-in-viet-nam/
Examples of topics in the TRAININGS are explained in our Blog:
– the LFA :http://projectsforchange.eu/lfa-logical-framework-analysis-or-logical-framework-approach/
– Forking© concept :http://projectsforchange.eu/forking-concept-analysis-planning-1/
– Challenging the pain : http://projectsforchange.eu/logical-framework-analysis-challenging-the-pain-turning-negative-energy-into-positive-energy/
– LFA versus PCM : http://projectsforchange.eu/how-come-lfa-is-often-confused-with-pcm/
While not disagreeing with your point, sometimes facilitating a workshop, requires you to explain certain concepts or methods. The less participants are knowledgeable about the process and concepts being used the more explanation is needed. This can contribute to the blurring of the distinction between a workshop and a training among participants. Furthermore the intended users of the workshop output are not always the one giving the contract to the facilitator. This common situation might also be a factor As a facilitator you might think you are contracted to facilitate a workshop, participants might perceive it as a training.