Training of trainers – NFL and interactive methods in Youth work – ACHIEVE

Lesson 31 – Training design: Process activities – text

text lesson

(by Ognian Gadoularov)

Process activities are all activities, actions and methods carried out in the framework of a training program/process which are not related to the concrete topic of the training but are directed towards specific objective. In most cases their goal is to help the group processes (passing through the stages of the group dynamics) or to achieve affective (emotional) objectives. Also the process activities can serve for improvement and support of the learning process related to the topic and the cognitive objectives of the training. The process activities can last during all of the training or can be single activities carried out in a certain moment. Examples of process activities are the popular game “Secret friend” and the method “Reflection group”. The first is directed towards improvement of the relations in the group while the second aims to facilitation of the learning process.

The process activities are set during the stage of design of the training process and have to be considered with the main sessions, the environment and the other elements of the training. It is very important to seek the best balance between the thematic sessions and the process activities. As it was said before in the resent manual, often the process activities can be adapted to support the main educational objectives (by giving them a thematic content or using them for delivering of messages). In such way the two-layered effect of the educational process is achieved. From one side objectives that were out of the main theme of the training are achieved and on the other side the activities support the thematic field of the training.

Many of the unexperienced trainers can slip into conducting a big number of process activities instead of achieving the training objectives. This is because the process activities are directed towards the relationships between the participants and the result is a highly positive environment and positive emotions which lead to increased level of trust and admiration for the trainer. On the other hand the result from such training process is meagre and without significant meaning for the participant.

Here I will present a brief selection of process activities which you can use to improve the training programs which you conduct.

Group dynamic games and reflection methods

Name games, Getting to know each other activities, Icebreakers, Trust games, Team challenges, debriefing etc. These activities are used to facilitate process of group dynamics.

Energizers

Very short, dynamic games with fast and easy instruction. Used to increase energy level in the group, to create atmosphere and to focus attention.

Reflection Groups

Daily gathering in same small groups of participants for discussing and sharing learning outcomes and training process. Used to facilitate the process of group and individual learning, assessment of learning outcomes and giving feedback for the training;

Morning program presentation

Short presentation of daily program as first activity every morning. This gives participants feeling of structure and reminds specific objectives for the day. It is very useful in long training programs (4 days and more).

Analysis of the day

Short session at the end of each day when trainers explain logic behind every activity during the daily program. This tool is suitable for raining the trainers and educators where is needed analysis of the logic of the activities carried out during the day in order to deepen participants’ understanding of the levels/layers in the design of a training program.

Mail boxes

Each participant have personalized “mail box” on the wall (envelop, box, bag etc.) for receiving letters. This supports communication and cohesion in the group.

Evening activities

Star gazing, Movie nights, Game evenings etc. All this can support creation of good atmosphere in the group. Do not forget that all this activities can be topic related to the training.

Adventurous activities

Including adventure activities in the program (climbing, Via ferrata, caving, rope course, trolley etc.) can reveal hidden potential of participants, to provoke them and to take them out of the comfort zone. They also can demonstrate principles of Experiential learning or Group dynamic development.

Learning diary

Each participant are provided by notebook (nice one) and asked to personalize by droving, application writing etc. Each day during personal reflection time participants answer specific questions by writing in the diary.

Solo

Time that participants spend alone in the nature to reflect about their learning, life etc. The place is same every day and time can be increased during the process.

Resources poster

Poster that participants can write resources related to the training (books, movies, web pages etc.). The content is distributed to the group after the training.

Parking lot

Poster where participants can write any question or topic to be discussed. Trainers decide when to rise the questions and to answer.

Daily closing activity

Every day content part of the training to finish with short activity. This crate feeling of completeness of the day, closing the learning part and increase positive emotions in the group. Activities can be also related to daily evaluation – one word sharing, movement feeling expression etc.

 

The training program “Training of Trainers” is an educational product that is currently missing in the partner countries – Bulgaria, Cyprus and Romania. Due to the early stage of development of the youth sector and youth work in these countries the educational materials aimed at non-formal learning are still limited and insufficient. The lack of adequate educational framework for training of youth workers in the field of formal education leads to inefficient use of the capacity of professionals.

This course fills a gap in the youth sector, namely the need of methodologies for the preparation of trainers, who are able to train youth workers. This course will set the basis for the preparation of teams of trainers of youth workers. The course will serve the goal of development of youth work in the participating countries and other interested parties. A large number of youth workers can be trained according to the methodology at national and international level to use and promote non-formal learning as a tool to enhance the realization of young people in the labor market and increase their social cohesion.

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