Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
John Rodwell is a learning and development and management consultant with 20 years' experience of learning and development design, delivery and evaluation in the Customs and Excise and Cabinet Office. He is the author of Participative Training Skills, published by Gower in 1994. This new text is particularly relevant to trainers and managers involved in the design of knowledge based learning activities.
In his Introduction, the author identifies two problems associated with traditional question and answer type participative training methods:
they are not particularly exciting or engaging for the learner; and
they do not necessarily enable identified or desired learning outcomes to be achieved.
use tools and techniques which will engage learners;
promote the effective learning of knowledge; and
are fun to work with for learners and trainers.
The text comprises four parts:
The Design Process;
Active Reading Activities;
Card Sort Activities; and
Games and Activity Boards.
how each activity works, why it works and purpose and principles;
preparation, running the activity (briefing, monitoring and reviewing);
examples based on the author's experience of using each approach; and
summary of key points.
The benefit of the book is contained in the fact that the author has obviously designed, delivered, evaluated, thought about and revised the activities himself and is sharing this experience with the reader. “Transforming” the learning of knowledge as claimed in the sub‐title of the book may potentially be too strong a claim, and “revitalising” might be more appropriate. In his conclusion the author states:
I can only reiterate what I said at the beginning of the book, that the use of these methods has in my experience made the learning process quicker and more effective than the traditional ways of disseminating knowledge. The activity‐based methods are simply just more fun for not only learners but trainers too.
As a resource the book contains a total of 17 activities which can be run as suggested or adapted to meet the needs of a variety of audiences. The hardback version of the book is relatively expensive. However, for those with little experience of training/learning design or those wishing to consider new approaches/methods, there is the potential of accessing a range of useful activities which have already been applied successfully.