Taking an Experiential Learning Approach for Training

Taking an Experiential Learning Approach for Training

If you are a trainer or educator of adults, you likely already understand that training or classroom time is precious. The challenge is to get learners to appreciate that what you are delivering to them meets their needs, matches their personal learning goals, and is relevant. One means of accomplishing this is through applying brain research to your learning events.  By taking an experiential approach to learning and tying into brain-based learning research, you can help create connections in the brain and facilitate the likelihood that learning will be used once the session is over.

Taking an Experiential Learning Approach to Training

Taking an Experiential Learning Approach for Training by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Brain-Based Adult Training Author

As adults and professionals in a given field, your learners likely already have a base knowledge of the content that you plan to share with them. For that reason, you must take the information learned from your needs analysis and create links or short-cuts between what they know and what you have planned. For example, if you are facilitating a workshop for a group of experienced supervisors, they likely have already been exposed to the basics of coaching, counseling, communicating, motivating, and providing performance feedback to employees. If these are topic areas covered in your session, you will need to think of ways to show learners how to more systematically and logically use the knowledge and skills they possess to improve their on-the-job performance.

An easy way to help learners see how to apply what they are learning is to provide the format or structure for using knowledge or skills in the classroom, perhaps in the form of a model or through a team game activity. You could then give them an opportunity to work in small groups to determine ways of applying their new knowledge and skills in their work environments. Through this technique, they actually take what you give and customize it to their individual needs while receiving feedback from their peers on how it might be improved. In this fashion, when they walk out of the room, they have real-world knowledge, skills, and strategies that can be applied immediately.

Practical application and taking an experiential learning approach for training sessions and education typically add more value to any learning experience and enhances return on investment. It can also enhance your session evaluation results.

More Information On This Topic & It’s Blogger

For activities and games to engage your learners, get a copy of Creative Learning: Games and Activities That Really Engage People.

Learn All About Robert W. ‘Bob’ Lucas Now and Understand Why He is an Authority in the Creative Training Skills Industry

Robert W. ‘Bob’ Lucas has been a trainer, presenter, customer service expert, and adult educator for over four decades. He has written hundreds of articles on training, writing, self-publishing, and workplace learning skills and issues. He is also an award-winning author. Robert W. Lucas has written thirty-seven books. The book topics included: writing, relationships, customer service, brain-based learning, and creative training strategies, interpersonal communication, diversity, and supervisory skills. Additionally, he has contributed articles, chapters, and activities to eighteen compilation books. Mr. Lucas is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991 after twenty-two years of active and reserve service.

The Impact of a Brain-Based Environment on Learning

The Impact of a Brain-Based Environment on Learning

Brain-based learning researchers continue to discover the importance that environmental factors such as color, sound, music, light, aromas, images, and fun have on the human brain.

To capitalize on research findings related to adult learning theory (andragogy) and brain-based learning, you can design your learning environments in a manner where participants have maximum access to information. To do this, plan activities in which participants can best use their five senses to receive and process information.

Additionally, your training environment should complement the subject matter as close as possible. To accomplish this, consider the audience, organizational culture, subject matter, and expected outcomes for the training when creating your design. With these factors in mind, set out to create a learning utopia in which all the elements of brain-based learning are addressed to your fullest capability. Even if you have only indirect control over the room (e.g. a hotel or conference room) in which training will take place, you can still incorporate a variety of creative ideas for creating a stimulating learning environment.

The Impact of a Brain-Based Environment on Learning by The Creative Trainer - Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Creative Training AuthorThe Impact of a Brain-Based Environment on Learning by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas

The wonderful thing about being a creative trainer is that through a little innovation, you can procure and use a variety of inexpensive tools to complement your training. You can also reconfigure seating and in some cases, lighting, to better accommodate participants and learning needs.

Often, for a small amount of time and money (less than $50 dollars), you can obtain decorations, materials, and props related to your training topic that will add pizzazz to your classroom. In doing so, you will be helping to better attract and hold attention while relaying your thoughts and ideas to learners.

The key to enhancing and enriching your training vestibule is to add variety and novelty while fully engaging learners. Your goal should be to entice, challenge, raise emotion, and stimulate their brains to a point where the transfer of training to the workplace is a natural outcome.

To make a positive first impression on your trainees, you simply have to do some advance planning and preparation. To start with, locate some related inspirational quotes by well know people that relate to your topic. Either have a graphics company create an assortment of professional looking posters or produce your own visually stimulating flip charts or slides. Use a variety of bright colors, borders, clip art, photos, or other images. Post sayings around the room at eye level to reinforce the program theme.

For additional creative ideas and strategies for creating a stimulating learning environment, get copies of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning and Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing, and Delivering Learning That Gets Results by Robert W. Lucas.

5 Ways to Enhance Your Presentation Flip Charts with Color, Shapes, Borders and Images

5 Ways to Enhance Your Presentation Flip Charts with Color, Shapes, Borders, and Images

There has been quite a bit of research on the impact of color, images, and other graphic additions and the effect that they have on the human brain. Unfortunately, many trainers and educators fail to consider the potential for using visual elements to stimulate brain neurons. Nor do they recognize that adding a splash of different hues to their presentation flip chart pages might actually contribute to learning. The following chart shows the emotions communicated in various colors.

COLOR

EMOTION/MESSAGE

Red Stimulates and evokes excitement, passion, power, energy,   anger, intensity.  Also, it can indicate   “stop,” negativity, financial trouble, or shortage.
Yellow Indicates caution, warmth, mellowness, positive meaning,   optimism, and cheerfulness. It can also stimulate thinking and visioning.
Dark Blue Depending on the shade, you can relax, soothe, indicate maturity, and evoke trust, and tranquility or peace.
Light Blue Cool, youthful, or masculine images can be projected.
Purple Projects assertiveness or boldness, youthfulness, and contemporary image. Often used as a sign of royalty, richness, spirituality,   or power.
Orange It can indicate high energy or enthusiasm. Emotional and sometimes stimulates positive thinking. The organic image can result.
Brown An earth-tone that creates a feeling of security,   wholesomeness, strength, support, and a lack of pretentiousness.
Green Can remind of nature, productivity, positive image, moving forward or “go,” comforting, growth, or financial success or prosperity. Also, can give a feeling of balance.
Gold/Silver Illustrates prestige, status, wealth, elegance, or conservative image.
Pink Projects a youthful, feminine, or warm image.
White Typically used to illustrate purity, cleanliness, honesty,   wholesomeness, enhance colors used, and provide visual relaxation.
Black It represents a lack of color. It creates a sense of independence, completeness, and solidarity. Often used to indicate financial success, death, seriousness, or heaviness of the situation.

Enhance Your Presentation Flip Charts by The Creative Trainer

Take advantage of what researchers have discovered about using colors and visual elements to enhance your learning environment and aid in the acquisition and retaining of information.

Consider the following presentation flip chart tips when you design your next training or presentation visual aids.

1. Use Colored Icons or Bullets in various shapes that relate to your topic in order to visually tie to written text and the program theme. Here are some examples:

• For training on telephone skills, use small telephones or headsets;
• For customer service skills, use small smiley faces or faces with various expressions;
• For travel-related training, use cars, boats, ships, airplanes, etc.
• For EEO or legal training, use justice scales; and
• For technical skills, use small computers or other equipment.

presentation flip chart tips, creative training techniques, brain based learning2. Use Colored Shapes Around Text to set off the words from the surrounding material. For example, you might use clouds, stars, circles, bursting bombs, or geometric shapes drawn in various colors to highlight a concept, word, or phrase.

3. Attach Key Concepts Written on Cut Out Shapes that you then attach to the page with either tape, Velcro, or artist’s adhesive. For example, a creative training content review activity where “bright ideas” might be elicited from learners and written on light bulb cut-outs in various colors. Learners could then come up, attach their idea to a sheet of paper, and discuss their idea. Post the pages for everyone to view and note during breaks.

4. Add Borders to flip chart pages with either colored markers or colored tape. Ypresentation flip chart tips, creative training techniques, brain based learningou can tie to program themes by adding images related to the topic. For example, if you are discussing selling or doing business in another country, choose images that relate to that country.

5. Add Images that are done in various colors. Cartoon characters, caricatures, simple stick figures, and similar figures are great. Go to Microsoft Word® toolbar to Insert/ Picture/Clip Art for ideas. If you cannot draw well and have an overhead projector still sitting around, you can make copies of images on transparency film, project it onto a flip chart page and trace it! You can also create a slide and project it on paper to trace.

By using these simple flip chart presentation tips when designing and developing your flip charts for learning events, you potentially increase the opportunities for learners to gain, retain, recall, and use what they learn.

 

 

Six Factors Affecting Active Learning

Six Factors Affecting Active Learning

Active, brain-based, experiential, and accelerated learning are terms used for training initiatives that involve getting learners to become active participants in your sessions. Various theories and research related to adult learning and brain-based learning indicate that through active involvement, participants become more vested in the session outcomes and are more likely to gain, retain, recall and use what they experience.

Six Factors Affecting Active Learning

Six Factors Affecting Active Learning by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adulting Learning Author

Consider the following factors when you sit down to create activities and initiatives that will involve and stimulate your learners.

Audience Makeup.

Ensure that you choose activities and content that are appropriate for the group you will be facilitating. Some activities (e.g. role-play) work best when participants know one another well or are comfortable with one another. Talk to program sponsors and/or participants in advance when possible and before you design your content and activities in order to determine who will comprise your audience.

Participant Knowledge and Experience Levels. 

To successfully build on what learners know, you must first determine current capabilities. You can do this through a training needs assessment process that is part of a standard instructional systems design (ADDIE) process. Also, ensure that the planned activity suits the audience level (e.g. frontline employee, supervisor, manager, or executive). Otherwise, you can easily either intimidate or bore your learners with your planned activities.

Desired Involvement.

Decide how, and to what extent, you want to involve participants. While much self-discovery is possible, you will need to intermingle your own involvement with that of your learners.

Available Time.

One mark of a professional creative trainer is to be able to accomplish established learning objectives and planned activities within the allotted timeframe in a seemingly effortless manner. When selecting activities, ensure that the time limit set is realistic and allows for successful completion and debriefing without intruding on other planned program segments.

Training Venue.

Take care to select a facility that has space and equipment needed to conduct planned activities. When possible, actually visit the site so that you can visualize layout and activities. Also, talk to the people who will do the room set up for the session to ensure that they understand your needs. Do not count on a third-party relaying your needs to setup people.

Group Size.

Choose activities that are appropriate for the size of your audience and ensure that co-facilitators are planned if necessary.

If you effectively plan and oversee the activity process, chances are that learners will feel a sense of accomplishment and that learning will more likely occur.

Learn This Blogger – Robert W. Lucas

Robert W. Lucas is an internationally-known author and learning and performance expert. He specializes in workplace performance-based training and consulting services. Furthermore, he has four decades of experience in human resources development, management, and customer service in a variety of organizational environments. Robert Lucas was the 1995 and 2011 President of the Central Florida Chapter of the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD).

Robert W. Lucas has lived, traveled, and worked in 28 different countries and geographic areas. During the past 40 years, Bob has shared his knowledge with workplace professionals from hundreds of organizations, such as Webster University, AAA, Orange County Clerk of Courts, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Martin Marietta, all U.S. military branches, and Wachovia Bank. In addition, Bob has provided consulting and training services to numerous major organizations on a variety of workplace learning topics. To contact Bob visit his website at www.robertwlucas.com or his blog www.thecreativetrainer.com.

Using Games to Engage and Energize Adult Learners

Using Games to Engage and Energize Adult Learners

Using Games to Engage and Energize Adult Learners

Using games to engage and energize adult learners is an effective creative training strategy. However, the qualifier to that statement is “if you use the game correctly.” During the past four-plus decades I have facilitated hundreds of adult learning events. In those sessions, I have used games and dozens of other brain-based learning strategies. My purpose was not to entertain or provide “busy work,” as I have seen other trainers and adult educators do over the years. Instead, my intent was to get participants actively engaged in the learning process. I was also focused on reinforcing key concepts and generating topic related ideas and strategies. I wanted learners to recall and use what they experienced once they left the classroom.

If you want to use games in your own sessions, I suggest that you first learn how to effectively accomplish learning goals with this technique. Look to experts like Thiagi for ideas on how to select, develop and execute games. Also, choose a game that will help support and reinforce your learning objectives. Next, make sure that you familiarize yourself with the rules and structure of the game and rehearse facilitating it before learners arrive.

Related to facilitating a game, I suggest that you avoid statements, such as, “We’re now going to participate in a game” or “Let’s form groups so that we can play a game.” Adults and their supervisors have too many important things to do to feel that they are going to participate in what they may perceive as a frivolous activity. Instead of announcing this, form groups in a creative manner. Once learners are in groups, explain that they are going to explore key concepts, identify strategies, or whatever your goal for the game will be, through a group activity. Then, visually display the rules on a flip chart, slide or handout. This will aid in understanding and reduce confusion or forgetting the objectives later. As the game proceeds, monitor activity, answer questions, remind of time constraints and inject any additional necessary comments or assistance necessary.

The key to using games to engage and energize adult learners is to make the games effective. Keep things upbeat, fun and focused on learning objectives. Strive to engage, motivate and inspire your learners by creating an atmosphere that stimulates your learner’s brains. Tap into a variety of brain-based elements to accomplish this. For example, use music, bells, whistles, novelty, rewards and other reinforcement, and active participation, as appropriate. Let learners laugh, inject, create, and otherwise become an active part of the learning process.

For additional using games to engage and energize adult learners and identifying other creative training strategies based on brain-based learning research, search this blog for related articles on those topics. Also, check out The Creative Training Idea Books: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning and Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners.

Engaging Adults Through Use of a Music-Based Learning

Engaging Adult Learners Through Use of a Music-Based Learning Activity

Engaging Adults Through Use of a Music-Based Learning

Engaging Adult Learners Through Use of a Music-Based Learning Activity

Brain-based research indicates that by incorporating music, fun, and novelty into adult learning environments, the opportunity to maximize the formation of memories and learner retention improves.

The following is a creative training activity that can help improve the chance that learning retention and transfer of learning will occur.

Activity Title: Getting Down with the Sound

Time Required: 50 Minutes

Purpose: To energize learners and tie into session content using music.

Objective(s):    Through the use of a fun music-based activity, the facilitator will be able to:

  1. Engage learners in a group activity;
  2. Reinforce learning content;
  3. Foster team collaboration.

Group Size:   Up to twenty-four (24)

Process:      

  • Prior to the start of the session select a well-known song. This can be a current hit from the radio or other well-known verses (e.g. Happy Birthday, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Somewhere over the Rainbow, or Don’t Worry, Be Happy);
  • Make copies of the words to each of the song chosen and give one to each group leader for use during the activity;
  • Provide each group with a flipchart easel, pad, and water-based flip chart markers to capture their song verses
  • When ready to begin the activity, creatively form equal-sized teams (e.g. if you have 24 learners, four-team of 6 learners);
  • Creatively select a group leader (spokesperson, facilitator, and timekeeper) and scribe (note taker) for each group;
  • Explain that each team is to create a song by modifying the words to a popular song (whatever you have selected);
  • Considering the fact that there may be learners from different cultures who may not be familiar with the selected song, you might want to have everyone in the room sing it before having them begin the activity, or play a recording of the song so that everyone knows what their goal is;
  • Once everyone is sure of the task, explain that they will have thirty (30) minutes to come up with a version of the selected song that incorporates as many of the session concepts as possible in the lyrics;
  • Tell leaders that they should monitor time and that scribes will be responsible for capturing lyrics on a sheet of paper as they are developed and later transfer them to a flip chart so the team can follow along as the song is sung;
  • To expedite things, you may want to show a flip chart or slide that has the activity guidelines bulleted so that learners can refer to them as they work;
  • At the fifteen (15) minute point and again at the two (2) minute remaining point, sound a noisemaker to attract attention and let learners know the time and answer any questions they have. At this point determine if additional time will be needed and adjust accordingly;
  • At thirty (30) minutes sound a noisemaker or play music to attract attention and regroup learners;
  • Have each group leader gather his or her group together and then lead them in their version of the song;
  • After each rendition, have everyone offer a round of applause.

Option:

Instead of selecting a song for groups, allow them to choose any song they desire and then have them proceed as outlined in the original activity.

Process Follow-up:

Ask: What do you think was the purpose of this activity?

Possible Answers:

  • Review and reinforce key session concepts;
  • Involve learners in the learning process;
  • Give a mental break;
  • Have a bit of fun;
  • Give an opportunity to work as a team.

Ask: How were music and verse used to reinforce learning during this activity?

Possible Answer:

By making the activity fun and encouraging each adult learner to work in groups, it provided an opportunity to recall and use the key concepts of the session, which aids learner retention and taps into brain-based learning concepts. It

Ask: What key concepts were reviewed through the use of your songs? (Answers will depend on what learners chose to include in their songs);

Answer any questions learners have about the activity or session concepts;

Have everyone give one more “encore” round of applause for their great performances.

Props/Tools Needed:

  • Flip chart paper;
  • Various colored water-based flip chart markers;
  • Masking tape to hang pages on the walls;
  • Copy of the selected song lyrics for each group;
  • Recording of the selected song (if you decide to play it);
  • CD player and CD with music (as needed).

Possible Topic Application:

Any session in which you want to review key concepts or where interpersonal communication, creativity, or teamwork are desired outcomes.

Why It Is Brain-Based:

  • Engages learners mentally and causes memory access as concepts are selected for use in songs;
  • Taps both left and right brain thinking;
  • Appeals to visual learners and auditory learners;
  • Involves several of Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences (e.g. Bodily-Kinesthetic, Musical, Linguistic, and Interpersonal);
  • Adds sound and music;
  • It uses novelty and fun.

NOTE: Extracted from Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People.

For additional creative training resources that contain hundreds of ways to actively engage adult learners, apply adult learning techniques and incorporate brain-based learning strategies into your training environment, get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging And Effective Learning.

Addressing Gardner’s Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Addresssing Howard Gardner's Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence in Adult Learning Envirionments

Addressing Gardner’s Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Addressing Howard Gardner’s Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence in Adult Learning EnvironmentsHoward Gardner published his research on seven bits of intelligence in 1983 and later added an eighth intelligence category.  His perspective on learning differed from the traditional view that intelligence was primarily a linear process that was quantifiably measured through intuitive Intelligence Quotient (IQ) tests.

Addressing Gardner’s Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence in Adult Learning

Since Gardner’s multiple intelligence theory and research was introduced, many trainers and adult educators have focused on delivering information in ways that address the various bits of intelligence that adult learners possess. Doing so maximizes learning and aids a more holistic manner in which the brain processes information.

According to Gardner, people who use Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence tend to excel at activities that include movement and manipulation of items using various parts of the body. They learn best by actively doing something, rather than simply reading or hearing about it.

As a trainer or someone wh0 deals with adult learners, you can address this intelligence by incorporating physical activities to engage brain neurons and help stimulate learning. Activities and exercises that cause learners to work together in teams to solve problems, create a product with materials provided, or simply get moving to cause their blood to carry more oxygen to energize their brains can help accomplish this. To help your kinesthetic learners address their need for movement, try simple adult learning activities in which movement or engagement is encouraged. In addition, you might simply place toys or other props on tables and encourage learners to manipulate the items quietly throughout a learning event.

For adult learning techniques and additional ideas on how to apply brain-based research done by Gardner and other researchers in your adult learning events, get copies of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.

 

Brain-Based Learning for Adults Helps Get Results

Brain Based Learning for Adults Helps Get Results

Brain-Based Learning for Adults Helps Get Results

As a trainer, I have been a strong advocate of brain-based learning for adults (sometimes referred to as accelerated learning) for years. I love to watch the reaction of adult learners who walk into my classrooms and encounter a variety of environmental components related to brain-based learning research. For example, colorful balloons on the wall, music playing in the background, colored handouts neatly lined up on their tables, manipulative toys, and other fun session-related novelties or props. As they enter, I greet them with a smile at the door and introduce myself. Their typical reaction is “Am I in the right room for…?”

The wonderful thing about using strategies associated with brain-based learning for adults is that I am able to pique learner interest and get them immediately mentally and physically engaged. This occurs without my having to say anything. I do this by creating a novel environment that pulls participants of their comfort zone since a “normal” adult learning environment does not contain such elements. Later, when I ask their reaction to the environment during my opening remarks, I typically hear things like, “This is going to be fun” or “This is different.” Because of my efforts during session design, learner expectations are raised and they are likely to be more receptive to information that I will provide. Also, some brain-based learning research indicates that by introducing elements, such as, sound, motion, movement, fun, color, and novelty, you can create an environment in which learners potentially better gain, retain, recall and use what they experience.

You can create similar experiences for any adult learner by gaining more knowledge about brain-based learning strategies (neuroscience of learning). You can then create environments where participants have the opportunity to become engaged in their learning while having fun.

Search this blog for other articles on brain-based learning for adults and accelerated learning. Also, to identify hundreds of ways to apply brain-based learning techniques and creative training strategies that you can easily and inexpensively use in your adult learning environments, get copies of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning, Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners and Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People.

Strategies for Engaging Adult Learners to Enhance Learning Outcomes

Strategies for Engaging Adult Learners - Enhance Learning Outcomes

Strategies for Engaging Adult Learners to Enhance Learning Outcomes

Trainers continually look for strategies for engaging adult learners to enhance learning outcomes. Many have discovered what is termed as brain-based learning in order to create content and environments that help challenge and actively engage their learners.

Scientists and researchers continually explore the human brain and have made some amazing discoveries related to how the human brain functions and reacts to various stimuli.  Neuroscientific research on learning (also referred to as brain-based learning) continues to provide new insights into how a person’s brain best processes information and forms memories for future recall. This is a key element of an adult learning environment. It is crucial for helping adult learners gain, retain, recall and use what they experience, is engagement. That is why anyone involved in adult education, training, and facilitation, or who presents information to adults, should learn how to use strategies for engaging adult learners.

The following are three proven strategies for engaging adult learners that I have used for nearly four decades when training and educating adults.

Encourage risk-taking. Develop and use energizer activities at various points during your session. Design them in a manner that can be either low-risk or high-risk and encourages learners to step outside their comfort zone. For example, in a low-risk activity, you might have participants self-disclose something about their jobs. To take that to a high-risk level, you might ask them to share something that they like and dislike about their job and how they would improve the job if they were in a leadership position. Based on what they disclose, you could encourage them to create a plan to speak with their supervisor in a constructive manner about job enhancement.

Incorporate energizers into your sessions.  Energizer activities are great for helping teach and reinforce session content and for providing a vehicle in which participants take an active role in their learning. Depending on the time of day, session content, physical environment, and other factors, learners need periodic mental and physical breaks if your session lasts more than an hour. The key to effectively using energizers is to connect them to session objectives and not just do something that is fun or that you enjoy. During the activity, encourage learners to think and practice real-world skills that relate to the session topic and help promote the learning outcomes that you are seeking. There are many books, articles and Internet content that provide energizer activities based on a variety of topics.

Use fun activities for reviews. Rather than simply reviewing key concepts covered during your session, engage learners to do that for you. You can do this as an interim review after a section of content has been addressed or as a final session review of all concepts. There is an endless array of possibilities limited only your available time, willingness and creativity. Find activities in books, on the Internet, or create your own. One that I use is a Hot Potato Review. I use a modification of the children’s game that involves music and tossing something. I purchase Hot Potato games to use for concept reviews. I then form teams of six to eight participants and arrange each group in a circle. Next, I creatively select a team leader for each group. When I sound a noisemaker, the leaders squeeze their potato to start the music and tosses it to someone else. This process continues until the music stops. The person holding the hot potato at that time calls out a key concept, term or skill learned in the session. He or she then squeezes the toy to restart the music, tosses it to someone else, and sits down or steps back out of the circle. Once a concept, term, or skill has been mentioned, no other participant can use that one. The goals of the activity are to not be the person holding the toy when the music stops and to review key terms and concepts covered in the session. Once there is only one person standing for each group, I either bring those people together for a final round or wrap up with summary comments. In either case, I generally have everyone give a round of applause for all the input provided and reward the last person standing (as an individual or from each group) a small prize (e.g. candy, toy or other items related to the session theme).

The key to using strategies for engaging adult learners is to tie them directly to learning objectives, get learners actively involved, and make the learning fun.

Looking for more ideas on using activities and strategies for engaging adult learners? Check out other articles on the topic on this blog. Also, take a look at Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage Learners; Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events That Get Results; The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning; and Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners. 

Do you have creative and effective strategies for engaging adult learners that you are willing to share with others? Share one here.

Creating Effective Handouts for Presentations and Training

Creating Effective Handouts for Presentations and Training

Creating Effective Handouts for Presentations and Training

Some trainers and adult educators do not give handouts at the beginning of their sessions. Instead, they pass the resources out at the end of a program or class. Their logic is that handouts distract adult learners because participants will read information instead of paying attention to what the facilitator or trainer is saying. While this may occur in some instances, it overlooks brain research on learning modalities (styles) that shows approximately 40-65 percent of learners prefer the visual learning style (modality). In other words, the more effectively learn by seeing the information. This is why creating effective handouts for presentations and training is essential to learning success. Also, approximately 5-15 percent of participants are kinesthetic learners who gain insights through engagement and tactile means. Those learners better gain and retain information through activity (e.g. note-taking on handouts).

There are also trainers who do not use handouts at all and instead tell participants that if they will give their business cards or visit their website they can get a copy. Often, this is nothing more than a ploy to build a mailing list used for marketing to participants later.

No matter what your approach, it is important to make sure that your handouts are easy to understand and contain useful session-related information. You can use whatever format you prefer, as long as it reinforces what you share in the session. You might use mind-map diagrams that learners complete as you share information, graphs, images, key bulleted points, or short definitions or descriptive statements.

One easy way to tap into brain-based learning research related to incorporating color into your sessions is to use a variety of colored cover sheets. These can double as a group identifiers. For example, if you have twenty-five participants and want them to break into five equal groups (five people per group), create cover sheets using paper in five different pastel colors. Print an equal number of cover sheets on each color of paper and you now have a way to quickly form five groups of five participants. Simply instruct people to move to different areas of the room for an activity based on the color of their cover sheet.

For additional ideas on creating effective handouts for presentations and training and other creative ways to conduct adult learning sessions, check out The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning and Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners.