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Resource: Taking It Forward


A simple process to transfer learning from workshops into action at work.

Short description:

This is a simple and effective process to pull together the key learnings from a workshop and identify small actions for participants to take when they return to the work place. This activity combines group work with individual reflection and builds individual commitment to taking action.


  • Time frame: Allow 25-30 minutes
  • Optimal group size: 6-60


  • This activity can be used towards the end of a workshop, and works equally well with teams that work together and know each other and those who don’t. It is helpful to review learning and expand participants’ ideas about how to apply what they have learned during the workshop.
  • This activity can be used to review the content of any workshop.

Purpose and practical effect:

The aim of this activity is to review the course content and maximise the possibility of the skills, ideas and tools learned being transferred to the workplace.

By creating a positive future, the activity motivates people to take action after the workshop. Participants are encouraged to choose small actions and to speculate on the positive consequences of taking those actions – and this too increases their commitment to using what they have learned.

Detailed description:

Process overview:

  • Get participants into groups
  • Collect ideas, concepts and tools covered during the workshop
  • Create a desired future poster
  • Individually identify small actions
  • Sharing small actions with positive consequences


Start the activity by explaining that they are now going to explore how they will take forward what they have learnt during the workshop – from this room into their jobs.

Get the participants into groups of 3 -5.

NOTE: You can use coloured markers to form groups. For example if there are 12 people in your group, have 4 red, 4 blue and 4 black markers. Invite the participants to take a pen and then find the other people with the same colour pen. Direct each group to a flip chart…then ask them to take the tops off their pens, ready for action.

Show the instructions below on a slide or flipchart

…and ask them to list all the ideas, concepts and tools from the workshop that they can think of. Tell them they have 2 minutes for this activity. They don’t need to agree or discuss it at length. They all have a pen which they can use to write on the group’s flip chart.

NOTE: If they are a bit slow to get started you might like to give an example of what you are looking for, eg: that ‘resourceful questioning’ is a tool, or they might like the idea of ‘following rather than leading’

Call time after a couple of minutes. Ask the participants to rip the page off the flip chart and put it somewhere they can see it…such as on the wall, a table or the floor nearby.

Show the following on a slide or flipchart

Read the instructions to the participants and explain that a poster can be whatever they want it to be – it’s a visual representation of them putting this into practice over the next three months.

Tell them they have 8 minutes for this, then ask delegates to share their posters with the group

Then show the next set of instructions below

and invite the participants to sit at their tables, and say that now they have created a desired future, the next thing to do is to pick some small steps that will make the maximum impact over the next days and weeks.

Invite them to spend a few minutes choosing their small steps and to write them down in their work books.

After a few minutes, show a slide / flipchart with these instructions and ask the participants to turn to the person next to them (working in 2’s or 3’s depending on the number in the group) and to share their steps – those they are happy to share – with their colleague , and to speculate on the beneficial consequences that might arise from these steps…what good things might happen as a result of them taking these small steps?

After a few minutes, check with the group that everybody has a step that they can take.

If time: you can ask people to say, on a scale of 0 – 10 where 10 is you will definitely take this small step and 0 is there is no chance – where are they now. If everybody says about 8, 9 or 10, then move on. If any are lower, invite them to spend a few more minutes with their partner exploring what might increase the likelihood of the step being taken.

What happens next:

As this activity is best positioned at the end of a workshop, it can be followed by an appropriate closing process.

The “Knack” – Background and comments:

This activity emerged as I looked for a simple, pacy and effective way of combining a review of workshop content and identification of action steps to be taken after the workshop. I wanted something that helped participants make more connections between what they had learned in the workshop and what they did at work.

I found that by getting the participants into groups using coloured pens that they were more likely to contribute to writing their contributions on flip charts. The fact that they don’t necessarily need to have group consensus on everything that is written on the flip chart also helps with this.

The drawing of a collective desired future facilitates a sharing of ideas and the creation of new applications.

The sharing of small actions seems to have a large impact on the probability of taking the action, and the idea of checking the likelihood that they will take the step on a scale of 0 – 10 reinforces this too.

About the Author

Janine Waldman MSc FCIPD is founder and director of J9W and has over 20 years of experience in executive coaching and training, plus a wealth of expertise in consultancy and organisational development. A frequent contributor to management journals, she is co-author of ‘Positively Speaking’

E: Janine@j9w.co.uk

T: +44 (0)1727 840 340

W: www.j9w.co.uk

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