During my recent career, I have been involved in training and mentoring colleagues at NCBA CLUSA, some of whom report directly to me and others who don’t but are part of the team on whom we depend to effectively carry out our work. I was pleased to learn during the April 11 – 13, 2017 Training of Trainers workshop given by Humentum, that my methods are effective, and I also refreshed some of my training skills. In addition, I learned some profound lessons on the science of retention and learning cognition.
At the TOT workshop, I engaged with a motivated group of trainees in a workshop that was intensive but broken up with moments of levity and humor as we shared our experiences. We were introduced to new ways of using the classic kit of training props, such as colorful and differently shaped sticky notes, flip charts and brief case studies and scenarios. For me, these props are more suitable than many high-tech methods, since people in parts of the world where I train and conduct teambuilding exercises learn more effectively through personal interactions, and in any event, have poor internet connectivity.
For me, one of the main take-aways and core to the workshop is the CPR Approach. This stands for “Content,” “Participation” and “Review”. The content conveyed could include, for example, the use of management tools, such as budget pipelines, short-term workplans and subward and grant performance tracking, as well as technical topics such as building resilient communities. Participation exercises allow my trainees to apply and internalize the learning of the topics, and the review permits us to recognize the usefulness and relevance of the topic as it applies to our work and to share additional insights.
This concept of CPR can be seen more widely in the context of learning and sharing information, even beyond the training room. For instance, in March of 2017, I attended the final General Assembly of the Yaajeende USAID|Senegal Feed the Future Project. There, I had the opportunity to bring into perspective the impact of our good community governance interventions over the life of that seven-year project, by drawing upon the content previously presented by other facilitators, and from participatory exercises where participants incorporated community governance concepts and took the lead on their own learning. I then analyzed, summarized and delivered a review of our learning, experience and outcomes. In retrospect, I had applied CPR.
Without calling it CPR, I have often used this approach in peer training, and now I provide feedback to other trainers when I see that they have effectively incorporated this approach. I have found that the lessons are more easily incorporated into the day-to-day work of my colleagues when learned through CPR. Since the process is one of mutual exchange, I, as the trainer, have been given an opportunity to learn and improve as well. This leaves both me and my trainee with a high level of satisfaction and mutual respect.
Photo above: Sarah Durso conducting a Resilience Panel for a West Africa retreat.