Debriefing is definitely one of the most important parts of any training session or any learning experience.
If done right, debriefing is where the learning really happens - where conclusions are done and where participants form their experience into valuable lessons and learning.
But it is also one of the most difficult parts to structure and facilitate, because it requires the trainer to be skilled at navigating the discussion without getting stuck in loops, but also the flexibility to deal with any strong emotion, unpredictable groups dynamics (being it too active or too quiet), unusual conclusions and learnings, or concern from participants.
It requires the ability to build a strong trust within the environment, ask the right questions in the right moment and to balance allowing participants to draw their own learnings while still sticking with the learning outcomes for the session and keeping the discussion on track.
In this "Training Activities Debriefing" visual we tried to present the most important aspects of debriefing to keep in mind, using active reviewing model by Roger Greenaway, through what we like to call the "4F model".
The important thing to add is that the review process should be done in an active way - the active reviewing cycle is intended to move people away from all-talk reviews.
A good review is far more than a recap of what has already been learned - so in the findings phase it is important not to stick just to the potentially rigid "What did you learn?" question, but use the review phase to bring out learning during the review itself, and even create new learnings within the debriefing activity.
According to Roger Greenway, there is an important aditional aspect to keep in mind: "Since creating this model, I soon found that people were using it in a routine way, which was a long way from the spirit of the model which was to encourage an active and creative approach. To emphasise this I introduced the joker at the heart of the model representing "Freedom". This is intended to encourage trainers to be more responsive and to introduce more variety and life into their reviews."
So, dear trainers, check out the active reviewing model, see how to use it within your debriefing (preferably in an active and creative way - let's not forget that joker :)), or, in case you are using it already, take a moment to reflect how you can use it in even more creative and flexible ways and play with this basic framework and enrich it with your own experience and tools.
Wish you a bunch of successful debriefings in your future trainings :)
About the authors of the article
Herve Tunga is an IT Development Engineer, Life Coach and Freelance Trainer with broad experience in managing IT technical projects, strategic development and organisational transformation initiatives in international environment.
Mirna Smidt is the founder of Trainers Toolbox, trainer passionate about learning, getting things done, creating great training content and delivering it in an enthusiastic and energetic way. Being trainer since 2008, Mirna developed rich knowledge in positive psychology, NLP, evidence based training, coaching, and many other innovative trainer's tools and techniques. Next to Trainers Toolbox, she is also a founder of Happiness Academy, project aimed at educating and inspiring people to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. Read more about Mirna at www.mirnasmidt.com.
Mirna , initiator of Trainers Toolbox, is a trainer in love with training tools and innovative games, positive psychology, NLP, and everything that makes learning more impactful and engaging.