Tirian Definitions

What is a Tirian program, and why are they effective?

"Tirian's programs involve the deliberate use of action events and facilitated reflection to bring about lasting change and learning. Tirian doesn't just provide training, Tirian also educates"

What's The Difference Between: Keynote Speakers, Facilitators and Trainers?

Conference / Keynote speakers

Conference / Keynote speakers are expected to have originated the material they are talking about, AND OR done the sporting /adventuring /political achievements they recount. They can present their material in an interesting, engaging and stimulating way, reaching cynics and interested people alike. For this reason, keynote speakers fees are higher than trainers fees.

See a list of Tirian's best keynote speakers


Facilitators provide stimulus to encourage the group to discover the answers. Since reflection is the key to deeper learning that leads to more lasting change, anything that a "facilitator" does to enhance reflection before, during, or after an experience is called "facilitation."

The central purposes of facilitation are to:

  1. enhance the quality of the learning experience,
  2. to assist clients in finding directions and sources for functional change, and
  3. to create changes that are lasting and transferable*.

Facilitators need to be very skilled in working with group dynamics as what they work with is "live" and "fluid". They need to be able to deal with difficult people and win them over to positive participation.

Facilitators can present formally from out the front, but where possible would prefer to keep the environment conducive for self discovery - such as using experiential learning methods. Good facilitators can still bring audiences to self discovery from out the front formal presentations, by the way they construct their presentation and the methods they use. Good Facilitators educate.

“Education” implies that the learner has developed an understanding of the issues or principles and acts deliberately on the basis of these because they have become committed to them. For this reason facilitators fees and experiential learning programs are the higher than trainers fees


Trainers refer to existing material or tell you stories about other people. Thus trainers must be good communicators and perhaps technical experts but are not originators or the source of their own knowledge. Training is about developing a specific skill set, imparting knowledge. (Education is about developing skills for ongoing learning and enquiry). Training teaches people what or how to do something with little understanding as to why it is the case. For this reason trainers fees are the lowest of the categories.

Did you know that most of Tirian's programs are exclusively designed and created by Tirian?

Tirian doesn't just train, we educate as well.


How does having a Conference Learning Director change your event?

The traditional compere is often either a glamorous TV or fashion personality or a funny raconteur and entertainer. They attract attention to themselves and attempt to lift the event by their superior presentation skills. If not done well, the net effect can often end up deflecting attention away from the core subject of the conference and can often make the speakers appear, by comparison, clumsy and dull.

Post conference surveys sometimes reveal that the comedian or glamorous host was the most remembered aspect of the conference. In an age where learning is a key success determinant, such a conference outcome can only be seen as a failure.

Tirian’s Conference Learning Directors have a fundamentally different role. While certainly expert communicators in their own right, their role is to ensure the presenters communicate their knowledge effectively and the conference achieves its learning aims.

Tirian's Conference Learning Directors can occupy the anchor role once performed by personalities or comedians, but do not attract the audience’s attention to themselves. Rather, by summarising the previous presentation articulately, linking it to the overall learning aims, revising delegate notes and posing insightful interview questions to the presenter, they enhance the ‘takeaway value’ of the presenters and reinforce the total conference learning experience.

All Presentations Should Be "Outcomes Based"
And Therefore Create A Great Learning Environment

What is Education?

  1. True education is where something valuable is learned and a desirable state of mind is developed.
  2. For true education to take place the participant must come to appreciate what they learn.
  3. A person who is educated has acquired a body of knowledge that is not just a collection of random facts; instead it is organised into some sort of conceptual scheme by which they are able to relate the various pieces of knowledge to each other.

"Education results in the learning of something of value that involves knowledge and understanding which is organized into some kind of cognitive perspective, and this learning has been acquired by methods involving awareness and some degree of voluntariness on the learners part."

(RS Peters)


— A mediocre teachers tells

— A good teacher explains

— A superior teacher demonstrates

— A great teacher inspires


What is Learning?

Learning is a change in the way we feel, think, or behave. When we are aware of the change, when we intend to make the change, and when the change is maintained over time, then our learning has been conscious, deliberate and lasting. Unfortunately, and all too often, attempts to learn or change are prevented by a lack of reflection (defeating awareness), the presence of resistance (defeating intent), and many barriers to supporting transfer (defeating maintenance).*

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential learning is founded more on the active doing rather than the passive being done to. In this way, people practice the very skills they are learning and are more likely to maintain their change back at work. Experience-based learning becomes "experiential" when elements of reflection, support and transfer are added to the base experience.*

What is Debriefing?

In Debriefing facilitators ask clients for their opinions and refrain from making statements to clients. In this way, clients learn to think for themselves and begin to take ownership over confronting issues (educational programs). If they "own" their issues, they are more likely to commit to changing the situation and to following through on their commitments. In a debrief discussion, clients are asked (under the guidance of a questioning facilitator) to reflect on their experiences and to discuss points of learning that they believe took place.*

Tirian's Method

Through unique methods of input "practice fields" or "virtual worlds" are created that enable participants to see:

  • Issues that arise in the work place over a long period of time can be isolated and focused on to see more clearly the consequences of particular actions.
  • Incidents that occur very rapidly can be examined in detail to study more carefully.
  • Actions and attitudes that cannot be reversed or taken back in the real world can be re-tried countless times in a protected environment.
  • The complexities of the everyday working environment can be simplified and analysed.