Three Strategies for Making Activities Effective in Adult Learning
Like any other successful portion of a training or educational event, you must design energizer activities effectively if they are going to effectively and accomplish your intended purpose when working with adult learners.
The following three tips can help make your next adult learning session more successful:
1. Provide adequate room.
Often trainers and adult educators fail to think through the activities that they will use with their learners. As part of the session planning, think about how many people you will have, how many groups will participate and how much space you will need to conduct each learning activity. Obviously, if the activity is an individual effort where learners work on own and then report to the rest of the group, you will need less floor space. However, if you plan to get training participants up and moving to stimulate their brain neurons through active learner engagement, you will need to plan additional space. Always factor in time and extra space when having them move chairs, tables or other items.
2. Allow plenty of time.
When planning energizers and other types of activities, a big mistake that some trainers and educators make is to underestimate the amount of time for setting up, participation and debriefing of an activity.
This is often very frustrating for adult learners, shows a lack of experience or professionalism on the part of the trainer or educator, and contributes to an ineffective learning experience. Once you explain an activity, provide materials and have learners start to accomplish the assigned task(s), step back, observe, offer appropriate guidance throughout, and let the activity run its course.
When you are creating a training agenda, it is better to plan too much time, than not enough. Learners should have time to experience the full impact of the learning objectives for the activity so that they can maximize learning outcomes.
3. Encourage risk-taking.
The final tip for making sure that your energizer activities are effective is to encourage adult learners to think outside the box and take risks in activities where problem-solving, decision-making and other situations where they individually or jointly look for solutions related to the session learning objectives are involved. For example, having frontline employees self-disclose an aspect of their jobs would likely be a low-risk activity for them.
However, you can bump up the level of risk and engagement by asking them to share something they like and dislike about their jobs and how they would fix the latter if they were in a leadership position. Just be careful to set up a scenario appropriately so that the activity does not turn into a gripe session or become derogatory towards their supervisor or organization. Always focus on positives.
Making Activities Effective in Adult Learning by The Creative Trainer
You might use a risk-taking energizer for a variety of workplace-related topics or other pertinent situations on a session topic.
For additional creative training tips, techniques, and strategies that can assist you into turning your adult learning sessions into powerful training or academic events, get copies of Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners or The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.