The Benefits of Workshops vs Courses

by | May 26, 2019 | Think & Learn

While doing my morning review of the industry, I came upon a piece by Seth Godin describing the differences between workshops and courses, particularly the online ones. He wrote something that resonated loudly with my own experience:

Traditional courses, online or off, are linear. They’re based on a direct connection between the instructor’s content and the student’s attention. Write this down, memorize this, understand that.

Traditional courses scale in a particular way. They scale even better when the instructor appears on video.

Workshops are different. Workshops are about the cohort. The other students. The people you meet, the people you learn from and the people you teach. Workshops involve work, not the compliance inherent in testing and certification.

If you want to learn to build a boat, take a workshop.

I recently used a similar metaphor, piggy backing on the old saying about teaching a man to fish, while discussing on-boarding / training programs. Some focus about fish, others focus on teaching how to fish but rare are the ones engaging in a conversation about fishing. I say we need to talk about fishing.

Workshops engage all the participants. They are tell tales of how your colleagues will react because they are acting in real life situations. In a course, it’s one person admonishing a group of people. They all go home with different ideas and takeaways from the course, never sharing their thoughts.

Next time you want to solve something in your organization or have people learn new skills, book a workshop. Yes, it is far more demanding on everyone’s part. But it is also much more rewarding.