“Active Training” by Melvin Silberman


Mel Silberman is the master of active training. Just skimming his book gave me a handful of new ideas I immediately applied in my training. Reading the book helped me to revamp my training courses to include many more participatory training exercises.

What is active training? Everybody loves being involved, talking, interacting, and exploring during a training event. Lecture, however, is too often the default delivery methodology. In some ways lecture takes less time to prepare and is less risky, but studies show it is not the most effective learning style.

These days, linear, delivered-from-up-front training often does not produce the desired return on investment in terms of participant behavior change. Instead, shift over to active training, which engages and empowers participants to learn rather than be taught. I’m reminded of Winston Churchill’s observation, “I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.”

Silberman gives idea after idea of how to spice up lectures, or better yet, replace them with other a dozen other learning methods that actively involve participants. The 100+ exercises and examples in Active Training makes it easy to incorporate non-cheesy learning activities that really work.

Wake up your participants! Get active.

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    Keith is President of Creative Results Management. He helps busy leaders multiply their impact. Keith is the author of several books including The COACH Model for Christian Leaders.

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