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What is Training from the BACK of the Room?

Training from the BACK of the Room! (TBR). It’s a strange name. It’s the title of a book by Sharon Bowman. The book is an exceptional treasure trove of accelerated learning and instructional design techniques. Sharon brought together her great experience of corporate training and as a teacher to create a wonderful resource. However, it’s not just a book. Training from the BACK of the Room! is also a training course that Sharon designed.

What do you learn on a Training from the BACK of the Room! course?

Whilst the book is great, this is one of those occasions where the practical experience of attending the course and seeing TBR in action gives you much more than the book alone. You have to see it to really “get it”.

Fundamentally, the Training from the BACK of the Room! course focusses on 2 things:

These (combined with the activities you learn in the class) make up the approach that we call “Training from the BACK of the Room!”. They come from what we know of how the brain works and how it processes and retains information.

I will write in more depth about how to create engaging training with the 4Cs and the 6 Trumps in future posts, but I feel it is important to give a brief overview here.

The 4Cs

Training from the BACK of the Room! 4Cs Map
4Cs Map

The 4Cs is the “Bowmanised” version of an instructional design model that has been around since the 1970s. This is how we design content using Training from the BACK of the Room!

As the name “4Cs” suggests, it consists of 4 steps:

  1. Connections
  2. Concepts
  3. Concrete Practice
  4. Conclusions

With Training from the BACK of the Room!, we connect learners to the content and each other. Then we introduce new concepts to the learners. The learners do concrete practice of the learning to aid recall and demonstrate that they’ve “got it”. In conclusion, the learners evaluate and celebrate what they have learned and decide what they will do with their new knowledge.

When trainers design their courses around these 4 steps, the result is a more brain friendly and memorable learning experience.

The 6 Trumps

The 6 Trumps are training principles from Training from the BACK of the Room! They get their name from card games – as in “this card trumps that card”. If you follow them, then will your training sessions will be more brain friendly. As a result, your training course will be very different from standard corporate training.

They are as follows:

  1. Movement trumps sitting
  2. Talking trumps listening
  3. Images trump words
  4. Writing trumps reading
  5. Shorter trumps longer
  6. Different trumps same

Without going into these too deeply, let’s take it at face value that these 6 statements are true by our understanding of how humans learn best. Let’s reflect on typical corporate training:

You spend 2 days sitting whilst listening to a trainer talk over very wordy slides which you have to read in long lectures in a training space which feels like any old familiar office space.

Let’s try that again using the 6 Trumps and Training from the BACK of the Room!

You spend 2 days moving around the training space talking to your fellow learners, drawing out your ideas, using metaphor, having moments of reflection to write down short pieces of lecture content in an everchanging training space that is colourful and engaging.

I know which of these 2 I’d rather teach in… let alone learn in!

Much of what you think about delivering training is broken… Training from the BACK of the Room! fixes it.

A little while back, I wrote 2 blog posts – Anti-Patterns of Training and Anti-Patterns of Training Part II. I examined some of the things that trainers do that we can avoid. Instead we can design and deliver brain-friendly, student-centric content. Training from the BACK of the Room! is a great way to do this.

If you would like to learn more, go to our TBR Course Page.

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