Isomorphic Framing- When the Wall is like life
Climbing a wall is like living your life , just take it one step at a time!.
One might question, What has the wall got to do with real life?
In our work as Experiential and Outdoor Educators, we use high ropes and adventure based challenges as metaphors for intrapersonal and interpersonal process work.
When the holds, harness, helmets, carabiners are like your resources, opportunities or challenges in life!
When the belayer represents all those people who extend help and support you in life.
When the rope becomes the trust or relationship you have with family and friends that creates your life support system.
An metaphor is an idea, object, or value that is like another different idea, object or value in the participants life. It is symbolic, denotes comparative likeness and similarity between the two.
Isomorphic Framing in facilitation is used as a intervention for creating a metaphorical structure. For example, in the case of a climbing wall, The activity of climbing along with the holds, harness, ropes, safety devices, belayer create a meaningful link to other aspects of the participants real lives.
Essentially Isomorphic framing creates a metaphoric relationship between two different environments (activity/experience and real life) and enhances the transfer and application of the learning from one environment to the other and enables the participants to change the way they think and behave in their real life.
Priest, S., & Gass, M. (1997) Effective Leadership in Adventure Programming.
Vishwas Parchure - DEEP - Diploma in Experiential Education and Practice
Planning an Outbound Training Program
Outbound Training in India is known with lot of different names like Outbound Learning, Outdoor Learning. Adventure Based Learning, OBT Training. Corporate Adventure Offsite, Team Building program, Management Development Training etc.
Outbound Training is more prominent in metro cities of India. It started in the early 90's in Pune by then Outdoor Experts Mr. Vasant Limiye and Mr. Mrunal from High Places, who initiated the first outdoor management development program along with Dr. G.K. Date an OD consultant. Slowly other companies also started offering outbound training in metro cities of Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi and Hyderabad.
The essence of an Outbound Training is based on Experiential Education methodology and the Experiential Learning Cycle that consists of various phases of learning from experience, reflection and transference of the learning to the workplace settings, by a facilitator who uses a method called questioning, debriefing or processing that is based on the experience and behaviors observed in the activity.
The following are some of the important steps in planning an outbound training program for your company
1. Identify Learning Needs and Outcomes for the Outbound
The first step in any training is to identify the need for conducting the outbound. The learning objectives need to be identified clearly with the expected outcomes. It is generally advisable to consult the various Business Heads, the participants and the business needs to come up with the learning needs. Typically about 2 Learning objectives can be addressed in a day (6 hour) through an outbound training intervention. Avoid putting too many learning objectives and outcomes as the training focus may be diluted.
2. Identify Location for the Outbound
Outbound Training needs an environment that is safe for learning and gives a sense of belonging to the participants. Ideal locations would be green and serene environments that has a therapeutic effect like nature based camps and those that bring the participants out of the comfort zones. Outbound Training is also extensively done at places like resorts and in banquet halls. The environment can have a major effect on the experience and learning of the participants. Some Learning partners will have their own campsites with all facilities for Outbound Training Interventions.
3. Selecting your Learning Partner
Selecting your learning partner can be the determining factor on the impact of the program. Training Companies that specifically focus on experiential education tend to be better at design and delivery of the programs that can meet client expectations.
The Outbound Training partner should be able to understand the learning needs and outcomes, Industry segment, and business needs. They should design the program keeping in focus the learning objectives and the outcomes. Should be capable of coaching, mentoring and evaluating to measure the impact after the program.
4. Selecting the Outbound Facilitator
The outbound facilitator is the person who will deliver the program. Its important for the facilitator to be an expert in expereintial education and have the relevant experience delivering outbound training programs.
The facilitator should also be involved in understanding the learning objective and outcomes of the program. ask the learning partner on who will facilitate the program and get in touch with the facilitator much in advance to discuss the objectives, outcomes and flow of the training agenda.
The facilitator to participant ratio is utmost important, while recreation programs can have 1 facilitator to 40 participants, educational programs should not exceed 1 facilitator to 20 participants and Leadership based program may have 1 facilitator to 10 participant ratio.
5. Preparing the Participants
The success of the outbound program will also depend on the involvement and participation of the employees as Outbound learning programs require the participants to get involved, share experiences and make the program participatory . Make sure to inform the participants to set the expectations on the nature of the program and guidelines to prepare for a better outcome.
6. Finally Remember
Outbound Training is not a one time quick fix and the participants may need followup, further mentoring or coaching with regular assessment and intervals of training for the behavioral changes.
The budgets spent on outbound will be higher than a classroom training sessions and so is the overall impact. Sometimes companies tend to spend huge amount on the resort facility and a paltry sum on the training by hiring a emcee or team building trainer to deliver the program, making the program ineffective. so decide whether you want to do a fun based recreational program or a outbound based development program and balance between the needs and outcomes.