The growth and genesis of participatory approaches to training for rural development are traced, suggesting that PRA has given an 'enormous boost' to the movement. Conventional and participatory approaches to training are compared in terms of their assumptions about the learning process. Various ways of looking at training approaches are suggested : 'content' versus 'process'; behavioral concerns ('coping skills, transforming behaviour and self reliance/ transcending behaviour'); and looking at task learning in terms of 'enabling factors' (knowledge and attitudes) and 'performance' factors (or skills). The roles of the 'new' trainer (of the participatory approach) are 'multifaceted and highly demanding'. There is also a need for institutional change to 'provide a supportive environment if participatory approaches are to be successful'.
This overview of issues around participatory training approaches would interest PRA trainers and trainers of trainers.