3 Course Formats for Different Kinds of Learning

In-Person Event
When you choose to level up your skills with training, you’re faced with a bunch of decisions. One of the most important (and often overlooked) is the format in which the training is delivered.

At Humanizing Work, we organize training in 3 different formats: a multi-day workshop, a series of shorter sessions, and self-guided. They’re good at different things. Here’s how we think about it…

The Classic: Multi-day Workshops

Originally, all our courses were 2-3 day live workshops. This is the classic way to do training in the business world, and it worked well for traveling to in-person courses in other cities.

Multi-day live training is ideal for creating a shared peak experience, for teaching a system of concepts and skills that work best together, and for getting a group aligned around a common language and set of mental models. So, while we’ve added other formats to our repertoire, we still use multi-day live workshops for:

  • Agile for Teams, our popular workshop for launching or relaunching an Agile product development team
  • Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), our intro for ScrumMasters and team coaches, who benefit from a fairly comprehensive set of models and skills as they take on a new role
  • Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), the counterpart to CSM for Product Owners, who are often coming from a different role and benefit from a solid overview of what they’ll need to be successful as a PO
  • Leadership Team Launch, our immersive experience that turns a group of leaders into an actual team who can collaborate towards a shared purpose

A Little at a Time: The Series Approach

Back in 2018, when we first designed our Advanced CSPO program, we realized the multi-day format wasn’t ideal. For A-CSPO, we wanted to give participants a chance to practice what they were learning on their real work. The concepts in A-CSPO were well-suited to practicing one at a time (since they built on the more comprehensive PO system from CSPO). And tools like Zoom and Miro had begun to come into their own to make interactive virtual training possible. So, we decided to run A-CSPO as a series of shorter workshops with hands-on practice in between.

Our hypothesis was that learning outcomes would be better with the bite-sized pieces of content and hands-on practice, but the results exceeded our expectations. A-CSPO participants tended to integrate the concepts from the course into their work right away and to sustain them over time.

When the pandemic pushed more training virtual, we started looking at what else would benefit from a series approach, and the Humanizing Work management series was born. Running this series with leaders revealed an additional benefit to the series approach: It’s way easier to keep up with your normal work responsibilities when training is only a few hours every couple of weeks. This, plus time to practice, makes learning more agile and more sustainable.

While we’ve been doing private management training as a series, our public leadership offering has remained a traditional multi-day workshop. That changes in May. Based on our experience delivering customized leadership series with our clients, we’ve pulled together the core workshops into a new public leadership intensive as 4 half-day sessions over two months, with live group coaching sessions in between to help participants apply the concepts and skills in their own work. Register today to join our May cohort.

Just-in-Time Learning: The Self-Guided Course

Sometimes, the best approach is learning on your own schedule. In almost two decades of training and coaching, we’ve noticed that sometimes a client needs a particular skill, and they need it right now. In those cases, telling the client, “Sign up for a product ownership course that happens in two months,” doesn’t work so great.

So, there are some concepts and skills we’ve chosen to package as self-guided online courses. These are available on-demand so you can get the modules you need right when you need them.

Our flagship online course is 80/20 Product Backlog Refinement, which pulls together the essential skills for Product Owners to break down big ideas into good features and stories and to have a backlog with just the right detail at the right time.

Here’s how one manager described the impact of making 80/20 Product Backlog Refinement available to his teams on-demand:

When I make this available to my teams, it becomes part of their learning library that travels with them. They can access it and tap into the insights as their demands change, understanding changes and evolves. It’s there with them. And that to us is just a huge game changer to have that on tap and accessible at any time is. It’s not often that you get something with that much potential packed into something that can work into everyone’s schedule.
—Michael O’Neil

But our online course catalog also includes more targeted mini courses like one about using the Theory of Constraints to find the one change you can make for maximum results and a course about setting goals that actually fit how human motivation works.

Content & Format Both Matter
When it comes to finding training for yourself or your team, it’s important to consider not just what concepts or skills you need, but also the optimal format for learning those concepts or skills in a way that actually sticks and produces results.

Of course, we’re always happy to have a conversation to help you sort through the options. Simply use the calendar tool on our website to schedule a call.

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