The Trainer’s Role in the Adult Learning Environment

The Trainer’s Role in the Adult Learning Environment

Your role as a facilitator of knowledge exchange is to ensure that your adult learners “get it.” Anything less means that you failed to meet their learning needs. You can have all the knowledge in the world between your ears; however, if you cannot effectively communicate it in a way that allows your learners to “gain it, retain it, recognize and recall it and use it,” they will likely leave the room feeling cheated.

The Trainer's Role in the Adult Learning Environment

To ensure that there is a transfer of learning from you to learners during training, and ultimately to the workplace, you must act as a conduit in the knowledge exchange process. Your challenge is to make everything you do learner-centered since your participants are the only purpose for your being there. Without your learners, you are not needed in the learning environment. To accomplish all this, actively engage learners from the beginning of the session or workshop and continue to do so at various points throughout the session. Give them information, let them experience and apply it, and then review the information or concepts periodically.

The key to effective learning is to not only provide information but also show participants how to apply it outside the classroom. Do not assume that they will get it on their own since they might be distracted, confused by your approach or explanation, or simply may not understand a key point. Give examples, build in activities where they can discuss and process information (small group discussion, problem-solving, role-play, demonstrations, and open-ended question forums) to draw them in and verify that they grasp your meaning.

Above all, when you design and deliver information, apply brain-based learning concepts such as motion, novelty, sound/music, color, and engagement to maximize learning potential.

The Trainer’s Role in the Adult Learning Environment by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Blogger

For additional ideas on how to effectively design brain-based learning events, actively engage learners and reinforce key concepts while helping ensure positive learning outcomes and transfer of learning, get copies of 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.

Learning Strategies That Actively Engage Learners

Brain Based Learning Strategies That Actively Engage Learners Can Increase Learning Outcomes

Brain-Based Learning Strategies That Actively Engage Learners Can Increase Learning Outcomes

Adult learners gain and retain more when they are an active part of the learning process. To effectively engage and energize your participants, you must build a variety of learner-centered activities into each of your sessions. Such involvement can be the result of individual and/or group activity. In whatever format, involvement can lead to more confident, independent, and self-managed learners.

Learning Strategies That Actively Engage Learners

To really take advantage of the concepts of brain-based learning, it is important to apply experiential learning strategies and get learners actively engaged. The lecture is typically not the answer for effectively sharing information, teaching new skills, and helping adult learners assimilate knowledge. Be careful not to automatically assume the role of “expert” as you step into a training room. Use activities that will draw participants out so that their knowledge, skills, and abilities are also tapped to enhance learning.

With all the creative resources in print, on the Internet, and available through other sources, there is little reason for you to do all the work in stimulating learning. There are literally thousands of ideas and accelerated learning strategies already developed and proven to teach knowledge and skills on virtually any topic. These can be adopted or adapted or you can create your own in order to provide an effective high-energy training environment for learners.

Increase Learning Outcomes by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author

If you want more ideas on ways to actively engage learners and activities that make learning fun and more effective, get copies of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning and Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People.

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.

Accelerated Learning: Using Adult Learning Styles to Engage Training Participants

Accelerated Learning: Using Adult Learning Styles to Engage Training Participants

Accelerated Learning: Using Adult Learning Styles to Engage Training Participants

Anyone who trains and educates adult learners must be familiar with how to effectively use accelerated learning (active learning) strategies related to adult learning styles or modalities to aid participants in gaining the knowledge and skills needed to perform on the job. Learners do so through their senses – seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. More specifically, a number of research studies point to three primary adult learning styles or modalities: Visual (seeing), auditory (hearing) and kinesthetic-tactile (touching or physical movement). According to research on percentages of learners with each style, summarized by Laurie Ellen Materna in her book Jump-Start the Adult Learner : How to  Engage and Motivate Adults Using Brain-Compatible Strategies, 40-65 percent of learners are visually dominant, 25-30 percent are auditory and 5-15 percent are kinesthetic.

Accelerated Learning: Using Adult Learning Styles to Engage Training ParticipantsAccelerated Learning: Using Adult Learning Styles to Engage Training Participants by The Creative Trainer 

By designing your adult learning events to include a variety of opportunities for participants to use the three most prevalent sensory modalities; You aid learners in better gaining, training, Accelerated Learning: Using Adult Learning Styles to Engage Training Participantsrecalling and using what they experience. Some means for actively engaging adult learners and accomplishing this include applying accelerated or experiential learning techniques.

These approaches apply what researchers and educators in the past three decades have discovered about brain-based learning or how the brain best processes and retains information.

Here are some strategies related to the three prominent adult learning styles:

  • Add color to your learning environment with colored handouts, slides, markers, posters, pictures and other visual stimuli that relate to your session content.
  • Include sound by adding background music at the beginning of your session, during breaks and activities and as learners leave the room, varying your vocal quality (e.g. inflection, tone, pitch, and volume), using audio training aids (e.g. video, webinars, and recorded messages), and involving learners in training activities in which they talk and exchange information.
  • Encourage participation and interaction in activities such as icebreakers, games, simulations, role-play, small group discussions, team building activities, and other events where learners become active participants in the learning process and they learn from one another.

For hundreds of additional creative training tips, ideas, techniques, and strategies to help your adult learners potentially enhance their learning outcomes, 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, Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events That Get Results, and Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People.

 

 

Getting Adult Learners Actively Engaged

Getting Adult Learners Actively Engaged

Getting Adult Learners Actively Engaged

One point to remember when designing activities and planning your delivery strategy when conducting adult learning training sessions or educational courses is that some learners may be uncomfortable being a focal point in front of others. This fact may create challenges if you call upon them directly for role play or ask them to share their ideas and information, be a small group leader, or read material to others. The cultural background could contribute to their reluctance.

Getting Adult Learners Actively Engaged by The Creative Trainer

For example, many people in Hispanic, Asian and Middle Eastern cultures teach their children to respect their teacher (instructor) and those who are older or from a higher social class and not to question or challenge them. Their hesitation might also be due to their personality style or because they are more introverted versus extroverted. Because of learner comfort level, you may have to rethink activities, session format and overall structure of the content and delivery.

For additional ideas on how to effectively designing, developing and delivering adult learning training sessions, actively engaging an adult learner and strategies for creating an effective brain-based learning environment, check out Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners, Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events That Get Results and The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.

Who is Robert W. Lucas?

Listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the South & Southeast, Bob 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. Bob was the 1995 and 2011 President of the Central Florida Chapter of the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

Bob 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 Behavioral Learning Objectives to Prepare An Effective Adult Training Session

Using Behavioral Learning Objectives to Prepare An Effective Adult Training Session

Adult learners like to know where they are headed in a training session as it begins. Compare this to taking a trip, if someone said to you, “Let’s go on a trip; get into the car?”  Your first question is likely to be, “Where are we going.” Similarly, if you step in front of a group and say, we’re going on a journey to explore new ways to serve customers, you learners probably will want to know what will be addressed. This is to help them determine if they need it and the potential result for their time investment.

To identify the path and content for your learning journey, you should do a needs assessment. You can do this by surveying or interviewing potential attendees, their supervisors and possibly their customers. Your goal will be to determine what knowledge and skills potential participants already have and what they need to learn in order to improve their performance on the job. By discovering potential performance deficits, you can then structure training content to meet their needs and make the learning event valuable in terms of time, money and effort spent by learners, their organization and you.

Using Behavioral Learning Objectives to Prepare An Effective Adult Training Session Using Behavioral Learning to Prepare An Effective Training

As you design and develop session content and training aids, make sure to list learning objectives in participant handouts. Also, make objectives visual for learners by listing them on a flip chart page or slide. Doing these things allow you to display them and discuss how each point will be addressed as the session progresses. This approach will also aid your visual learners and help reinforce the areas on which they should focus throughout the program.

Robert Mager was one of the first human resource practitioners to identify a format for performance objectives. Two criteria that he proposed were that a learning objective should be specific and measurable. The objective should also start with an action verb. Here is a sample behavioral learning objective format:

At the end of this session, and when using what was learned, participants will be able to create behavioral learning objectives that include specific knowledge or skills and will be measurable.

For additional learning strategies that can be used for creating and using learning objectives, enhancing learning outcomes and improving adult learning session outcomes, get a copy of Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events that Get Results.

Using Flip Charts to Gather Information During Training Sessions and Meetings

Using Flip Charts to Gather Information During Training Sessions and Meetings

Using Flip Charts to Gather Information During Training Sessions and Meetings

Flip charts continue to be used to facilitate the exchange of information in training and other types of learning events or meetings. While they are a low-tech alternative for making ideas and information visualization, they are still a valid tool for trainers, educators, presenters, and others who interact with adult learners and audiences.

Adult learning theory and brain-based learning research show that actively engaging learners is the best way to help them effectively gain, retain, recall and use what they learn, Anyone using flip charts to engage learners should rehearse with this simple piece of equipment and perfect their technique for eliciting feedback.

Related to effectively gathering information from learners, there  is a saying that goes something like, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it that counts.” The same is true when asking questions or soliciting information. If you want to know something, ask a question – just make sure it is the right type of question.

Many people ask questions each day and often get unexpected or incomplete responses. This is because of the way they phrase their questions. Typically there are two categories of questions that used to gather input from your participants.

1. Open-ended. 

Such questions usually begin with “what” “how” or “why.” They typically:

  • Do not elicit one-syllable responses (i.e. “yes” “no” “five”).
  • Stimulate thinking.
  • Encourage elaboration on topics.
  • Allow the respondent to talk more.
  • Draw out ideas, opinions, emotions, or information.

2. Closed-ended.

These types of questions often begin with action verbs such as did, do, will, could, and similar ones. They normally:

  • Focus on specific facts.
  • Help control the conversational.
  • Elicit one syllable or short answer responses.
  • Add little or no new information.
  • It can be used to gain consensus.

Using Flip Charts to Gather Information During A Training

To help ensure maximum participation during a learning event or meeting, it is usually helpful to write questions you plan to ask across the top of individual flip chart pages. This provides visual (as they read), as well as, the auditory stimulus for participants (as they respond). Obviously, in brainstorming or problem-solving scenarios, this is not possible since questions are more impromptu and added as new items or issues surface.

A key in determining the level of participant involvement is often how you phrase and ask your questions and handle responses. Some facilitators have a knack for asking for information and facilitating information exchange, while others stumble and often fail in their quest.

For additional ideas on how to effectively use flipcharts to collect and record information during a learning event, team meeting, or brainstorming or problem-solving session, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers and Team Facilitators.

Giving Tangible Rewards to Adult Learners in Training

Giving Tangible Rewards to Adult Learners in Training

Giving Tangible Rewards to Adult Learners in Training

There are mixed feelings about trainers, facilitators, and adult educators when it comes to giving tangible rewards in adult learning environments. On the “negative side, some people believe that, as adult learning theory points out, adults have internal or intrinsic motivation and want to learn. Thus, providing rewards to trainees is unnecessary and may even detract from learning.

Like me, other proponents of using rewards in adult learning sessions believe that by using small topic-related prizes, incentives and other types of rewards when training adult learners, you are tapping into experiential learning instructional methods. This helps to enhance and enrich a learning environment. Further, some brain-based learning research indicates that by using fun, novelty, and a variety of adult learning strategies, you can potentially create an opportunity in which participants become more actively engaged in a learning event. This potentially helps learners better gain, retain, recall, and use what they experience.

Here are three simple ways to reward your adult learners

1. Use session related toys to tie into the content theme and to provide novel incentives for participants who return from breaks on time, volunteer during the session, or take on leadership roles (e.g. group leader or note-taker). For example, if you are conducting a customer service session, you might provide small toys with smiley faces on them. Not only are these items fun, but when participants take them back to their workstations and view them later, they are reminded of the session and its content.

2. Give coupons each time someone answers a question asked of the group, volunteers, or otherwise does something worthy of recognition. I use the double-roll carnival-type coupons. I give one to participants and keep the other with a matching number on it. At the end of the session, I have a random drawing and give prizes (e.g. books, products or other items related to session content).

3. Imprinted items such as mugs, t-shirts, pencils, key chains, and so on are great reminders of the session and content that you provide. You might give these to everyone who attends, as a reward for small group competitions or quizzes, or for volunteering to lead during a session. They make great gifts in conjunction with the coupons mentioned in #2 above.

For additional experiential learning strategies and hundreds of ideas and techniques for creating a brain-based learning environment that can potentially increase learning outcomes, get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.

Creating An Enriched Adult Learning Environment Can Aid Learner Retention

Creating An Enriched Adult Learning Environment Can Aid Learner Retention

In the past twenty-five years, brain researchers have made many wonderful discoveries about how the human brain functions and processes information into memory. The result is that adult educators, trainers, and facilitators have redefined what a successful training environment should look like. They have also developed a plethora of brain-based learning strategies to tap into the three primary learning styles (e.g. visual learning, auditory learning, and kinesthetic learning).

Aid Learner RetentionAid Learner Retention

Through the use of accelerated learning approaches that actively engage the brains of adult learners, participants typically become a more intricate component in the learning process. For example, they use learning strategies such as getting participants to work individually or in small groups to identify issues or situations that they commonly encounter on the job, and then work to find solutions. This often encourages them to take ownership of the end product or ideas. Because of that, learners are more likely to use what they come up with and ensure the transfer of training to the workplace. This all relates to the adult learning theory that Malcolm Knowles proposed decades ago.

By using experiential learning techniques and a variety of learning strategies, such as the use of props, incentives, music, color, motion, and others creative training elements, tied to the activities described above, session leaders can increase the chance that adult learners will better gain, regain, recall and use what they experience.

For hundreds of ideas, activities, learning strategies, and suggestions for creating a stimulating learning environment for your adult learners get copies of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning and Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners.

Learn about Robert W. Lucas

Listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the South & Southeast, also known as ‘Bob’ 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. Bob was the 1995 and 2011 President of the Central Florida Chapter of the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

Robert 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.

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.

Brain Research Points To The Value Of Using Music In Accelerated Learning Training Environments

Brain Based Research Points To The Value Of Using Music In Accelerated Learning Training Environments

Brain Research Points To The Value Of Using Music In Accelerated Learning Training Environments

It has been said that music soothes the savage beast. Whether that is true or not is irrelevant. What is important is that brain-based learning researchers have found a direct correlation between certain types of music and brain functioning.

In 1993, an important study was conducted related to the impact of music on the brain. This experiment resulted in what has been termed the “Mozart IQ Effect” because the famed composer Amadeus Mozart created the music selected for use in the study.

During the research, students at the University of California, Irvine listened to relaxation music, Mozart, or white noise for ten minutes as they performed spatial tasks. Afterward, it was determined that those listening to Mozart outperformed others.

Brain-Based Research Points To The Value Of Using Music

Eric Jensen points out that while this study alone cannot adequately cement the conclusion that listening to music was the reason for improved performance:

  • The effect also occurs in rats exposed to music.
  • People with Epilepsy also show increased spatial reasoning.
  • Twenty-seven studies replicating the original resulted in at least some positive “Mozart Effect.”
  • Subjects of electroencephalogram (EEG) studies, who listened to Mozart and then performed spatial-temporal tasks, showed enhanced brain activity compared to a control group that listened to a short story.

While there is a controversy about the strength of the Mozart Effect, there seems to be little doubt that music can positively impact brain functioning in adult learners. In reality, many researchers now believe that it is not the type of music played in training, instead, it is the melody, harmony, and rhythm of the music that mostly influences the brain.

To learn more about brain-based learning, using creative instructional strategies in training to address different learning styles, and the value of using music in adult learning environments in which experiential learning strategies are employed, get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.