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Together we achieve more - Why group learning is still important

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I've just returned from a PGL holiday. For those unfamiliar with PGL the basic idea is that it's an outdoor activity camp for kids: Abseiling, Kayaking, Climbing etc. Most of their 'business' is school groups throughout term time, but in the summer they open the centres up to families...who get exactly the same programme delivered in exactly the same way!

There were about 120 people in the 'families' group, and we were split into groups of 12. We were so lucky to have 6 adults and 6 kids in our group and we all got on (always a bonus!). We did all our activities together. As the week went on, our knowledge of each other, friendship and trust grew. We manhadled each other over obstacles, gave each other tips and advice, cheered when people succeeded, 'pushed' each other when we felt hesitant and commiserated when we failed. As a result, we got tiny people to the top of 'Jacobs Ladder', got people scared of heights abseiling, and even the more reticent actively involved in every activity in some way or another. That's what doing things together, with support, challenge, peer pressure and encouragement does for you. I would have happily passed up the opportunity to do the 'Trapese' if it had been offered as an individual activity. Another lady would not have abseiled if she hadn't learned to trust us, and feel happy that we wouldn't judge her if she changed her mind. Another only went on the 'giant swing' so she didn't let her daughter down.

That's also why, in this wonderous technological age when so much learning can accessed anytime anywhere, I still believe in getting people together in a group for training. When we learn together we share ideas, we build friendships and support networks, we encourage each other, we feel the 'peer pressure' and so have a go at things that we might not if we were alone as we don't want to let the group down. We push ourselves and IF we fail, we are commiserated with, and when we succeed we celebrate success together. Of course, learning together is also more FUN and ultimately more memorable because we remember the 'non-learning' stuff too, and this creates more pathways in our brains to retain and retrieve what we HAVE we learned.

Time and organisation is always a factor with group training, but you don't need to go on a 5-day residential. You don't even need a full day. Getting people together for a short 1-2 hour session that is interactive, challenging and practical will almost always leave more of an impression that 2 hours of solo learning. Also, people are far more likely to have 'had a go'. This means the learning is more likely to retained, and therefore more likely to be applied. Isn't that what training is all about?

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