Creative Training Ideas that Stimulate Adult Learners

Creative Training Ideas that Stimulate Adult Learners

Creative Training Ideas that Stimulate Adult Learners

Brain researchers have made tremendous strides in discovering how the human brain functions and processes information. For example, they have discovered that various environmental elements can have an impact on learning and memory formation. Among others, factors such as nutrition, hydration, color, light, sound, motion, movement, and novelty can potentially aid learning in training sessions. The determinant is often the way and degree to which you introduce each element in brain-based learning environments. The important point to remember when considering how to apply what we know is that creative training ideas that stimulate adult learners can potentially make training more fun and productive if used properly.

In the past three decades, I have been writing about and applying creative training strategies in order to add pizzazz to my classroom environments. When sharing ideas on brain-based learning with other trainers I typically role model the techniques being used. I also engage them in activities where they can experience the processes first hand. This approach relates to the research on brain processes and provides knowledge and skills that learners can immediately apply in their own training sessions.

The following are two creative training ideas that stimulate adult learners that I cover in my books and creative trainer programs. Additional ones are posted throughout this blog and in the resources listed at the end of this article.

Balloon reviews.

Put one small strip of paper with a key term, concept or idea related to session content covered to the point of your review inside a variety of colored balloons. Blow up the balloons and tape them around the room before participants arrive. When ready to review, ask volunteers near each balloon to retrieve one, and on your instruction, pop them. Each person is to retrieve their paper strip and, in turn, read the content from their strip aloud. Have other volunteers define or explain what the terms or concepts mean and how they might apply it. Reward all volunteers with a small session-related prize or candy. This activity addresses the use of brain-based elements of sound, motion, movement, review, color, fun, novelty, and reward/recognition.

Manipulative toys.

Most adults enjoy an opportunity to reflect back on their childhood experiences. By placing small soft manipulative toys on each participant’s table before they arrive, I provide that opportunity. I use Koosh balls, foam squeeze toys, flexible rubber bendable, and other simple toys. In my opening remarks, I explain that some research identifies 5%-15% of learners as preferring a kinesthetic learning style preference. In other words, their brain processes information best when it (or they) are actively engaged. I also share that they are free to quietly “play” with their toys during the session, as long as they do not do anything that distracts others. I even encourage them to trade with others if they see a toy they’d prefer to have. Depending on the items provided, I either tell learners that they can keep the toys as a memento of the session or I collect them for future reuse. Using manipulative toys relates to brain-based learning concepts of learner engagement, addresses the needs of kinesthetic learners, adds a bit of fun and novelty to the session, and injects color into the environment.

To get additional creative training ideas that stimulate adult learners, search this blog site for brain-based learning, accelerated learning and creative training. You can also check out The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning, Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners, and Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events that Get Results.


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