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.

Creativity Quote – Maya Angelou

Creativity Quote – Maya Angelou

Adding brain-based learning strategies into training sessions by engaging your creativity in the design, development, and delivery of program content is a perfect way to engage adult learners.

Many trainers and adult educators shy away from building in activities, games, novelty, and other fun factors for fear that they might be seen as frivolous or a waste of time. The key is to ensure that everything that you use, do, or say in your session has a purpose and is focused on accomplishing stated learning objectives.

Creativity Quote – Maya Angelou by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Training Industry Blogger

I have been using accelerated or active learning strategies and sharing ideas with other trainers and adult educators in professional development programs for over four decades will success. Using such elements not only engages learners and makes the program content more fulfilling for them, but it also keeps me mentally alert and engaged as I design new processes and monitor their outcome in the classroom.

As Maya Angelou said:Creativity Quote - Maya Angelou

For ideas and strategies on ways to use creativity in you adult learning sessions through the application of brain-based and adult learning research get copies of The Creative Trainer: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning; The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators; Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners; and Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People.

Learn This Adult Learning 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.

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.

 

Creativity in Adult Learning Quote – Mary Lou Cook

Creativity in Adult Learning Quote – Mary Lou Cook

There are many ways for trainers and educators to interject creativity into adult learning environments. Since creativity is a state of mind and each knowledge facilitator can put his or her own spin on how to share information with their adult learners, there is no one correct way to train others.

Through the application of what brain researchers have discovered in recent decades about how the brain best gains, retains, recalls, and uses what it experiences, trainers and educators, can enhance the adult learning experience. By using brain-based learning research, facilitators of knowledge are able to apply elements such as color, sound, motion, movement, light, novelty, engagement and other factors to potentially improve learning outcomes.

Creativity in Adult Learning Quote – Mary Lou Cook by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Blogger

As Mary Lou Cook is quoted as saying:

Creativity in Adult Learning Quote - Mary Lou Cook

For additional information, ideas, and strategies on applying brain-based learning and how to use creativity in an adult learning environment, 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.

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.

Quote About How The Brain Learns – David Sousa

Quote About How The Brain Learns – David Sousa

Every day, brain-based learning researchers continue to discover more about how the brain best gains, retains, recalls, and uses what it encounters. Adult learning facilitators and educators then apply what has been learned.

By tapping into knowledge about andragogy (adult learning) and learning styles or modalities then creating effective brain-based learning environments, learning, and performance professionals can potentially enhance learning outcomes for adults.

Quote About How The Brain Learns

“We do not teach the brain to think. We can, however, help learners to organize content to facilitate more complex processing.” – David Sousa

Noted brain-based learning author and researcher David Sousa offers the following quote as guidance for anyone in the business of sharing information with others in a learning environment. Quote About How The Brain Learns - David Sousa

For creative ideas, techniques and strategies for applying brain-based learning knowledge when training and educating adults, 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 Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning That Gets Results

Quote About How The Brain Learns – David Sousa by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and 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.

Three Simple Strategies That Enhance Adult Learning

Three Simple Strategies That Enhance Adult Learning

With the business world getting more competitive every day while organizations struggle to do more with less, workplace learning is a key that many successful companies have found to harness the potential of their employees and the environment. By providing timely and effective training and learning opportunities to employees, many organizations have seen a dramatic increase in productivity and a decrease in turnover.

Strategies That Enhance Adult Learning by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas

Here are three techniques that can help maximize learning outcomes when sponsoring learning events in your own organization or for clients:

Make learning meaningful.

Don’t waste time with hypothetical events and unrelated role plays. Tie all learning activities and content directly to the real-world workplace. Find real issues that learners can relate to and can use to solve real problems so that they can then transfer the applications to the workplace immediately.

Get learners actively involved.

There should be no passive observers in the classroom. It is crucial that trainers and facilitators learn effectively facilitate the exchange of ideas and knowledge. They are the conduit through which ideas pass between participants and they provide the structure for the learning that will occur.

Anyone in front of a group of learners should be aware of principles of adult learning, the basics of how the brain is structured and functions, different learning needs and modalities and how to discover them in their learners, and myriad other concepts related to learning. They should use this knowledge to stimulate and engage all learners.

Use small groups for activities.

Normally 5-8 participants are all that is needed to provide a forum for sound problem-solving and discussion. Any more than that can become cumbersome and result in several people becoming observers and one or two people dominating. Any less and there may not be the depth of knowledge needed for fruitful outcomes.

When using small groups in training, always have a specific outcome in mind and provide adequate guidance for the groups before beginning the activity. Additionally, make sure that you actively monitor the discussion within groups so that they stay on task and so that you are available for questions or to redirect them if they start getting off the designated subject.

For more ideas on effectively designing, developing and delivering training for adult learners, get copies of 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.

Learn about this 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.

Using Quotes to Help Create a Brain-Based Learning Environment

Using Quotes to Help Create a Brain-Based Learning Environment

An easy and useful way to reinforce information and concepts that you will share during adult learning events is to quote famous people or experts on the topic of the session.

By either posting colorful quotes on flip chart pages or poster board or creating slides that either rotate before the session or during breaks or are inserted at appropriate points in the presentation, you can add variety and interest to the content. You can also include quotes in your handouts.Using Quotes to Help Create a Brain Based Learning Environment

Build a collection of quotes on the topics you facilitate. This allows you to switch them as needed or desired in subsequent sessions. Doing so helps keep participants interested each time they come to training and also creates a stimulating environment for you. This is especially important if you have some participants returning on multiple days. You will want each day to be fresh and stimulating in order to spark a positive emotional reaction.

Using Quotes to Help Create a Brain-Based Learning Environment by The Creative Trainer

Related to posting quotes, if you have a standard training room in your organization, you may want to remove or cover pictures or images that do not complement your content and can distract learners when their attention lags. Replace them with your own themed images or quotes.

These simple changes can help generate thought in learners. Relate this to rearranging the furniture in a room of your home to make it look different, or to wearing different clothes each day of the week to project a variety of images. In doing such things, your brain has to stop and go through a conscious effort of cognition and reflection as you select different items, thus stimulating brain neurons.

For additional ideas on creating a stimulating brain-based learning environment for adults, get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning by Robert W. Lucas.

Creativity Quote – Edward de Bono

Creativity Quote – Edward de Bono

Using creativity and applying brain-based learning strategies when designing your training sessions adds depth to the delivery and enhances the opportunity for elevated levels of learning. By varying your approach to information delivery, actively engaging learners, and providing for a shared learning experience, you increase the potential for the attainment of learning objectives.

Creativity Quote – Edward de Bono by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Training Industry Blogger

Noted creative thinking expert, Edward de Bono sums this message up in something he once said:

Creativity Quote - Edward de Bono

For ideas on how to add creativity and enhance your learning events, get a copy 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 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.

One Minute of Praise – Training Feedback Activity

One Minute of Praise - Training Feedback Activity

One Minute of Praise – Training Feedback Activity

PURPOSE: To provide each member in a day-long training session or meeting with positive feedback on their performance at the end of the program. It can also be used to encourage participation during training or meeting.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES: At the end of this activity, participants will:

  • Feel good about their performance during the training session or meeting.
  • Be able to practice their feedback skills with their peers.

One Minute of Praise – Training Feedback Activity by The Creative Trainer 

PROCESS:

  • Prior to participant arrival, create a flip chart page with each participant’s name at the top in large colorful letters.
  • Post the pages on the wall with painters or masking tape in the back of the room. To prevent bleed through onto the walls, make sure to use water-based flip chart markers and put an extra sheet of paper under each of the pages.
  • Point out that everyone has a sheet with their name at the top for use during breaks and at the end of the session. Explain that they are encouraged to provide feedback on something they liked about each person’s performance.  For example, “I appreciated the fact that you arrived on time and returned punctually from breaks,” or “I liked the way you didn’t back down when _____________ said . . .”
  • At the beginning of the session/meeting, stress that each person’s input is crucial during the day. Explain that to encourage participation in the session, each person will receive feedback on their pages throughout the day.
  • Throughout the day, before breaks and lunch, remind everyone to go to the easel and comment on each sheet.
  • At the end of the day, give sheets with comments to each person.

NOTE:      To ensure that everyone gets at least one positive “stroke,” the facilitator should also write comments on the pages throughout the day.

MATERIALS NEEDED:   

TIME REQUIRED: No extra time needed since comments are added during breaks and lunch.

HOW IT RELATES TO BRAIN BASED AND ADULT LEARNING (ANDRAGOGY):

  • Actively engages learners.
  • Engages visual and kinesthetic learning modalities.
  • It causes a review of the day’s events.

For more creative ideas, strategies, and activities get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning. For ways to energize learning events Check out Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners and for additional activities using flip charts, get The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.

Energizer Training Activity – What Do I Wear?

Energizer Training Activity – What Do I Wear?

Making learning fun while accomplishing your stated learning objectives is a good way to stimulate learning and tie into brain-based learning research on how participants learn best.

Energizer Training Activity - What Do I Wear?

By actively engaging your adult learners, you are tapping into basic tenets of adult learning (andragogy) and encouraging learners to become active participants in the information exchange process.

This activity is an easy way to encourage learner participation providing a forum for future information exchange.

Energizer Training Activity – What Do I Wear? by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Brain-Based Adult Training Author

Time:  30-45 Minutes (depending on group size)

Group Size:    24-30

Purpose:  To provide an opportunity for learners who work in the same organization to get to know one another a bit better. This activity also allows them to have a bit of fun while doing getting to know one another in sessions dealing with diversity, non-communication, team building, customer service, or other topics where relationships and understanding others is an important desired outcome.

Objectives:     Through the use of this activity, learners will be able to:

  • Get to know one another better on a more personal level.
  • Recognize that predispositions about others may create challenges in relationships.

Process:

  • At the beginning of a session, have participants form small, equal-sized groups (5-8 people) at round tables.
  • Explain that participants have been invited to a costume party.
  • They have two minutes to decide what costume they would wear.
  • Have everyone write their costume choice and nothing else on a strip of paper that you provide.
  • After everyone has written their answer, they should fold it and put it in the center of their table.
  • Instruct all participants to retrieve one strip of paper from the center of the table and one by one open it.
  • After all, participants have opened their paper and read what is written, have them introduce themselves one-by-one (e.g. who they are, where they are from, where they work, why they are attending the session, or whatever you prefer to have them disclose).
  • Following the introductions, have each person turn their paper over and write down the name of the person that they believe wrote the costume name on the other side.
  • Once everyone has done this, have them one at a timeshare who they believe the owner to be and why. 

Debrief:

  • Ask for a show of hands of how many people guessed correctly.
  • Ask those who guessed incorrectly, why they believe they might have done so.
  • Ask those who were correct what led them to believe the person they chose wrote their paper.
  • Hold a general discussion related to how we sometimes make assumptions about others and that can create challenges in relationships.

Materials Needed: Three-inch strips of paper.

For more ideas on engaging learners see Lucas, Robert W., Creative Learning: Activities and Games That REALLY Engage People, Jossey Bass/Pfeiffer, San Francisco, CA.