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.

Engage Adult Learners: 4 Active Strategies that Get Results

Engage Adult Learners: 4 Active Strategies that Get Results

Engage Adult Learners: 4 Active Strategies that Get Results

There are many ways to engage adult learners in your classroom. The key is to consider factors such as audience composition, venue, types of training aids and equipment that you will use, available time and other pertinent factors when designing your learning event. In addition, consider the following four active training strategies that in your design in order to your participants.

Make the classroom active.

If you have been a trainer and adult educator for any period of time, you likely been exposed to the concept of active learning. An easy way to engage adult learners is to design your session content and delivery effectively. Ensure that you offer a variety of learning strategies and use creative training techniques that will help accomplish objectives and stimulate learners. Include movement, activities, periodic reviews, varied visual aids, music and other elements to gain and hold learner attention. Apply brain-based learning environmental elements that researchers have identified as having a positive impact on the brain. For example, color, sound, motion, light, novelty, vegetation, nutrition, and hydration.

Address all learning modalities (styles).

Neuroscientists and researchers continue to explore the nuances of how the human brain best gains, retains, recalls and uses information. Depending on the research study that you reference, you are likely to find learners in your sessions who prefer visual stimulation (40-65%), auditory input (25-30%) or kinesthetic stimulation (5-15%). Most people have a primary and secondary learning modality preference and gather information in multiple ways. The key to ensuring that all learners have an opportunity to maximize their learning potential is to continually provide material and use creative training strategies that address all three learning modality preferences.

Allow learners time to discover.

If you truly want to help adult learners maximize their learning experience, do not be a “sage on the stage” who provides all the answers. Unlike children, adults come to the learning environment with a lot of personal knowledge and experience. Capitalize on this by creating situations and activities in which each person can become an active participant. Tap into what your learners already know and help them share it with one another. Your role as an instructor or facilitator is to provide the framework under which learning can take place. Design session structures that offer ample time for participants to interact and engage one another. Use brainstorming, games, discussions, role-plays and other interactive strategies. Offer thoughts, theory or challenges and then step back and let learners take over. Do not provide all the answers. Give learners the tools to create and arrive at decisions or develop ideas and strategies that they can immediately apply after they leave the session.

Provide interim opportunities for reflection and assimilation.

Make sure that you build in periods during your session and at the end, in which learners have an opportunity to think about what they experienced. Prompt them to capture their ideas, thoughts, or questions on paper for future reference and follow-up. For example, you might provide a problem scenario related to the session topic, then have learners break into groups to identify possible solutions or strategies to address it. After you lead and a debriefing and collection of their ideas or thoughts on a flip chart, have them write pertinent information that they can use later.  They should also write questions that they want to take back to their team or supervisor to discuss.

To learn more about ways to engage adult learners, review other articles on the topic on this blog. The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning, Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques that Engage Learners and Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events that Get Results also contain thousands of ideas and strategies for creating stimulating and effective learning events.

Designing Effective Training Programs for Adult Learners from Generation X

Designing Effective Training Programs for Adult Learners from Generation XDesigning Effective Training Programs for Adult Learners from Generation X

There are many factors to consider when designing effective training programs for adult learners from Generation X. Members of each generation have specific needs and expectations based on their background and experiences.

Obviously, you need to conduct an individual training needs assessment of each adult learner rather than assume that certain characteristics apply to everyone in a given age group.

Designing Effective Training Programs for the "Builder" GenerationFor members of Generation X (1965-1980), the following are general aspects of their generational period that may define what they need, want and expect in an adult learning environment. Never forget that each individual is unique and these are general characteristics related to the generation.

  • Multi-task well because of technology background.
  • Challenge status quo and do not accept “because” type answers.
  • Bring “out of the box” thinking to the learning environment.
  • Accept diversity easily.
  • I have typically mastered technology.
  • Process information in non-linear and fast-moving fashion (due to exposure to technology).    
  • They are comfortable with technology and facilitator-based training.

To better help members of this generation to succeed in a learning environment:

  • Make learning experiential and employ active learning.
  • Include ample use of technology.
  • Use a variety of learning strategies.
  • Design creative learning environments that are casual and allow for ample interaction.
  • Provide an opportunity to creatively problem solve.
  • Build flexibility into the program design so that learners can brainstorm and discuss options when addressing issues.
  • Be prepared with answers to questions related to workshop topics and explain how to effectively apply what they learn to the real world.
  • Provide support and feedback, but reduce control in activities.

For more ideas on adult learning and working effectively with all learner types and generations, check out the following books: The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips for Engaging, Effective Learning, and Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events that Get Results.

The Role of Brain-Based Research in Experiential Learning

The Role of Brain Based Research in Experiential Learning

The Role of Brain-Based Research in Experiential Learning

For brain-based learning concepts to be effectively used to enhance the experience for an adult learner, everyone involved in the learning process (e.g. program designers, managers, facilitators, trainers/educators, and learners) must understand the basics of how the brain functions. They must then identify personal strengths and areas for improvement related to the theory concepts, gain necessary knowledge about brain data application, and modify their approach to learning accordingly. Additionally, they must consciously and continually focus on learner needs and learning styles that they have identified to ensure that program content and format are effective and provide an experiential approach to learning.

The Role of Brain-Based Research in Experiential Learning by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas

According to the brain-based theory, for adult learners to receive the maximum benefit in the classroom, they must be engaged in an active learning process that includes elements of creativity, challenge, and ambiguity. Answers are not readily provided. Instead,  learners are provided the tools and information needed to develop their own ideas and solutions to dilemmas, problems, and issues identified. In such an experiential learning environment participants learn through their active reflection, examination, and critique of the situation, participants are actively engaged in determining the best course of action that is needed in order to find a viable solution.

During the learning process, participants are prompted to think outside-the-box related to the examination of information and issues. Problem-solving, questioning, ongoing interaction, and feedback are important elements in the absorption process and are used freely. Learners are also provided with many opportunities to make associations with knowledge and skills that they already possess while forming new patterns and making additional connections. These connections are strengthened by the use of analogies, simulations, metaphors, jokes, stories, examples, and various interactive techniques.

For information and strategies on how to create a brain-based learning training environment, get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.

Active Learning Quote – D. Blocher

Active Learning Quote - D. Blocher

Active Learning Quote – D. Blocher

Adult learning facilitators must tap into brain-based learning research on how the adult brain functions in order to help ensure that participants maximize their learning potential in training. A major element of this approach is to actively engage adult learners in the learning process.

“Learning is not a spectator sport.” D. Blocher

By tapping into multiple learning styles (visual, auditory, and kinesthetic) trainers and educators can more effectively share information. Keeping learning active through accelerated learning techniques and strategies is much better than being a talking head or simply verbally sharing information with adult learners.

For thousands of ideas and strategies on how to actively engage adults in the classroom, 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. 

About 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.

What is Experiential Learning?

What is Experiential Learning?

What is Experiential Learning?

Experiential Learning is a training process that capitalizes on the life experience as well as work experience, industry knowledge, and abilities of participants. Activities provide mental and emotional stimulation in which learners experience or replicate potential situations that they might encounter in real life. Throughout the training event, attendees are actively engaged in a learning process that incorporates a variety of active strategies, such as, goal setting, planning, critical thinking, observation, experimentation, personal reflection, and ongoing review.

A key component of experiential learning is that the learner, rather than the instructor, plays a pivotal role in ensuring that learning is taking place and transfer of knowledge and skills following the session. This helps each person extract meaning from the content and provides enhanced potential for application outside the classroom.

The following are additional terms often associated with and used instead of experiential learning.

These approaches incorporate various elements of creativity and interactive strategies and focus on experience-based learning:

  • Discovery learning.
  • Interactive learning.
  • Transformational learning.
  • Active learning.
  • Action learning.
  • Accelerated learning.
  • Brain-based learning.

For hundreds of ideas and strategies on creatively engaging adult learners, 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,  Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People.

Flip Chart Activity – Supervisory Training Session Icebreaker

Flip Chart Activity – Supervisory Training Session Icebreaker

Getting participants to actively become involved in a learning session can sometimes be a challenge and can potentially inhibit or slow leaning opportunities.  To help overcome this obstacle, you may want to consider a creative icebreaker activity like this one in your next supervisory training session, especially if participants do not work together regularly or do not know one another.

Flip Chart Activity - Supervisory Training Session IcebreakerPrior to the arrival of your participants in a supervisory training session where you will assign them to teams and have them work as groups throughout the program, place a page of flip chart paper, several different colored markers, and some painters tape at various points in the room.

Once everyone has arrived, form equal-sized groups and assign team leaders and scribes (note-takers) in a fun, creative manner.

Have each team select a group name and draw a graphic image that represents their team name. Once the time has elapsed, ask the team leaders to display their artwork, and explain why they chose their name and image. Follow this with individual introductions.

Next, assign a project, question, or challenge related to the session topic and allow learners time to discuss it (or come to a decision/solution) depending on the task. For example, in a supervisory session on delegation skills, you might have each team discuss reasons why many supervisors and leaders do not effectively delegate and how they might change that in their organization.

Flip Chart Activity – Supervisory Training Session Icebreaker by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Brain-Based Adult Training Author

I like these types of activities early in a learning event because they provide a way to have participants get to know one another, relax a bit, and quickly become active participants in their own learning.

This type of activity can help get people immediately thinking and networking. And, it helps them recognize that you will be facilitating their learning, but not doing all the talking.

For additional ideas on creative ways to create, use, transport, and store flip charts, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators. FOr additional activity and game ideas, get a copy of Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People.

Use Flip Chart Icebreakers to Engage Your Adult Learners

Use Flip Chart Icebreakers to Engage Your Adult Learners

As learning and performance professional for over four decades, I have found that in most learning environments I have to give adult learners a reason for listening and participating in the program. To do this early in a program, I have to help tune their internal “radio station,” from which they get their life experiences, into station AVAR FM — Channel 1. AVARFM stands for Added Value And Results For Me — #1. In other words, I have to give them a reason to listen by showing what they will gain or how they will benefit from participating.

Use Flip Chart Icebreakers to Engage Your Adult Learners

One of the easiest ways to show value is to get participants involved as soon as possible in their learning. There are numerous ways to accomplish this. And, with each, you can have them flip chart their responses or ideas to share with the group. Here are two simple techniques you may have seen or wish to consider:

  1. Pair participants and have them interview each other. Give them a list of things to find out about each other and have them flip chart the responses using a “T” chart format. This type of simple activity allows participants an opportunity to network and learn about their peers through active involvement. It also ties into brain-based research by getting them actively engaged and tapping into past experiences as they generate their lists.
  2. Group people and have them develop a list of questions that they have heard or want to be answered related to the program topic on a flip chart? For example, in a program on interpersonal communication, they might ask, “Why do people sometimes read into the non-verbal cues of others?” Once each group is finished, review the questions and either answer them at that time or state that as you go through the program you will be discussing the topics raised (assuming you plan to do so). By using this activity, you can uncover the needs of your group while determining what is important to them while getting them involved in the program.

For additional ideas on creative ways to create, use, transport, and store flip charts, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.

Brain-Based Learning Quote

Brain Based Learning Quote

Brain-Based Learning Quote

Some brain based learning research suggests that by actively engaging adult learners as trainers, facilitators, and educators, we can potentially help increase learning and formation of memories in participants.  The simple act of getting people up and moving increases heart rate and blood flow, which carries oxygen to the brain and stimulates brain neurons. It also potentially helps learners maximize their learning potential and might allow them to better gain, retain, recall and use what they learn later.

You may have heard that as people age, their brains start to shrink and they do not use as much of their brain. While that is true in some instances, research continues to find that we still develop neural pathways through which ideas and information pass and that the brain can remain healthy and active well into senior years. We simply need to regularly engage it through activity, reading, problem-solving, and decision-making activities and through similar means. Getting older does not mean that people cannot learn new things.

For creative ideas on how to actively engage learners and apply brain-based research to your learning environments, get copies of Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People; The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning and Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners.

Brain-Based Learning Quote by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Brain-Based Learning / Adult Training Author

Meet Robert W. Lucas

Listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the South & Southeast, Mr. Lucas is an internationally-known author and learning and performance expert who specializes in workplace performance-based training and consulting services. He has four decades of experience in customer service, human resources development, and management in a variety of organizational environments.

Robert was the 1995 and 2011 President of the Central Florida Chapter of the Association for Talent Development (ATD). He has lived, traveled, and worked in 28 different countries and geographic areas. During the past 40 years, Mr. Lucas 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, he 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 Active Learning Strategies to Increase Attention Span

Using Active Learning Strategies to Increase Attention Span

There are many ways to spark excitement and enthusiasm in your sessions. Take the time to search out and develop active or experiential learning strategies and techniques that are innovative and require learners to think while they have fun and enjoy their experience.

Using Active Learning Strategies to Increase Attention Span

 

Here are five ways that you can potentially gain and hold learner attention and help stimulate enthusiasm in your classroom.

Be enthusiastic about your facilitation.

Through your own interest and excitement, you can engage and stimulate learners.

Plan and deliver activities that add value.

Your goal is the overall accomplishment of learning objectives. Do not add activities just because they are fun. Make sure that anything you do in your programs is relevant to session content and aids learning.

Ensure that initiatives are well organized.

Take time to prepare and practice before learners arrive.

Clearly and concisely deliver directions.

To ensure that participants get the maximum benefit from all activity in a session, take the time to explain what learners are to do.

Since a majority of your participants will likely be visual learners, provide the instructions in written form via a handout or on a flip chart or slide. This allows them to refer back to the instructions during the activity.

Communicate the purpose and AVAR-FM of the activity.

Always explain the AVARFM (Added Value And Results For Me) to participants so that they feel the time spent on an activity will be valuable to them personally. It is crucial that learners have the value of what they are doing explained so that they will understand potential benefits. Making an assumption that the objective of an activity should be obvious could be a serious mistake. Remember that adults learn and process information differently.

For more ideas and strategies on engaging learners and increasing learning effectiveness, get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.

Using Active Learning Strategies to Increase Attention Span by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Training Industry Blogger

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.