Using Adult Learning Activities and Flip Charts to Engage Adult Learners

Using Adult Learning Activities and Flip Charts to Engage Adult Learners

Many trainers, adult educators, and facilitators search for group activities, training ideas, adult learning activities, and various strategies to tap into brain research on how people learn best in order to enhance their training sessions.

Using Adult Learning Activities and Flip Charts to Engage Adult Learners

One simple technique is to use flip charts (or flipcharts, if you prefer) in order to get your adult learners actively engaged in a brainstorming or problem-solving session by having them “scribe” or write flip chart content for you.

Using Adult Learning Activities and Flip Charts to Engage Adult Learners by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Blogger

Here is how this works:

  • Cut a standard sheet of flip chart paper into 4 inches (appx 10cm) strips and pass them out to each participant;
  • Give each person a flip chart marker (water-based);
  • Ask a question that is pertinent to your session content. For example, in a customer service session, you might ask something like: “What one way could we better serve our customers?”;
  • Have them write down a short statement for their response (e.g. Follow-up to ensure their satisfaction);
  • Once everyone has finished, have them bring their sheet to the front of the room and tape it to a blank sheet of flipchart paper (from the top down);
  • As they post their comment, have them verbally share it and expand/answer questions about their idea;
  • Once everyone has completed the task, spend a few minutes summarizing their ideas and relating it to other session content covered to that point and answer any questions they have before moving on.

For additional creative ideas on how to participants in adult learning environments or for making, using, transporting and storing flip charts, get copies of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning and The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.

Strategies for Increasing Adult Learner Comprehension

Strategies for Increasing Adult Learner Comprehension

Strategies for Increasing Adult Learner Comprehension

The key to helping adult learners understand what you are sharing with them is to provide information and also provide strategies on how to apply them outside the classroom or learning event. Do not assume that they will get it on their own. They may not because they might be distracted,  confused by your approach or explanation, or simply may not understand a key point.

In many instances they may also be too shy or embarrassed to admit they do not understand; especially, if their peers seem to be following everything without problems. To help ensure comprehension, give examples, build in activities where they can discuss and process information (small group discussion, problem-solving, role-play, demonstrations, learner engagement activities, and open-ended question forums) to draw them in and verify that they grasp your meaning.

For other ideas and strategies on effectively creating an effective learning environment and facilitating learner comprehension, get copies of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning, Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events That Get Results, and Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques That Engage Learners

Strategies for Increasing Adult Learner Comprehension by the Creative Trainer, Robert W. Lucas, Training Expert, and Award-Winning Author

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.

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.

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.

Energizing Training Review Activity – Verbal Volleyball

Energizing Training Review Activity – Verbal Volleyball

Content review activities that engage participants and challenge them to recall key concepts learned tie to brain-based learning research that shows repetition, novelty, and fun can help stimulate brain neurons. This helps learners gain, retain, recall, and use what they experience in a learning event. Adult learners potentially improve their learning potential through the use of such activities.

This activity (Verbal Volleyball) not only engages learners and provides recognition for what they accomplish, but also adds brain-based learning elements like sound, motion, emotion, fun, and repetition to the learning environment.

Time Required: 10 Minutes

Purpose:  To provide an opportunity for learners to review key concepts learned during the session and celebrate their learning.

Objective(s):  Through the use of an end of session review activity, the facilitator will be able to:

  • Actively engage learners in a review of key session concepts;
  • Allow for the individual celebration of learning.

Group Size:  Up to twenty-four (24)

Process:         

  • Form pairs of learners;
  • Have partners face one another:
  • Explain that they are going to play “verbal volleyball” in which they will review as many key concepts from the session as they can remember;
  • Tell learners to decide who will start;
  • When ready to begin, shout “GO” and the learner designated to start will shout out any key concept, idea, or issue covered during the session;
  • Partners will then shout out a different concept, idea or issue and they will continue volleying the concepts back and forth until they run out of ideas;
  • Explain that they cannot repeat a concept, idea or issue already said by their partner;
  • Once it seems that learners are running out of the idea, shout a thirty (30) second warning and at the end of that time, sound a noisemaker to indicate time has elapsed;
  • Have everyone give a “high five” (fingers extended and joined and slapping palms in the air above their head with their partner) for their accomplishment.

Process Follow-up:

Ask: What do you think some of the most important or beneficial concepts, ideas, or issues we learned today were? Why?

  • Go around the room and have each learner tell one key concept, idea, or issue that they experienced and how they will be able to use it on the job or in another environment;
  • Answer any questions learners have about session content;
  • Have everyone give a round of applause for their efforts.

Option(s):

Instead of using this as an end of session activity, you can also use it as an interim review. 

Props/Tools Needed:

Noisemaker (e.g. cowbell, Chinese gong, slide whistle, or bicycle horn)

Possible Topic Application:

Any session in which you desire to review key concepts.

Why It Is Brain-Based:

  • Engages learners mentally and physically;
  • Causes learners to access memory and recall data;
  • Adds a bit of novelty and fun to a review;
  • Appeals to kinesthetic learners;
  • Adds sound to the learning environment.

SOURCE: Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People by Robert W. Lucas

Energizing Training Review Activity - Verbal Volleyball

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. Further, 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.

Engaging Adult Learners with Icebreaker Activities Using Flip Charts

Engaging Adult Learners with Icebreaker Activities Using Flip Charts

Brain based learning research and adult learning theory  (andragogy)point to the value of actively engaging participants in activities throughout a learning event. Doing this early in a session helps them to claim ownership for the learning process, overcome potential hesitance about getting involved, and potentially get to know one another. It also allows you to identify introverts and extroverts and leaders and followers, and to encourage active participation by all learners throughout the session.

Engaging Adult Learners with Icebreaker Activities Using Flip Charts

Here are two easy icebreaker activities involving flip charts that you might use in your next session:

1.    Get participants involved in a self-discovery activity at the start of a session. I do this in a program on behavior styles. I have participants group in threes. I then ask them to write the first names of group members at the top of three columns on a flip chart page. They are given a total of five minutes for each person to think of three characteristics (adjectives) which they think describes their behavior as it relates to the session topic. For example, in a session on supervisory training or leadership, someone might offer goal-oriented, assertive and decisive as their choices. Through such an activity, people become actively involved early in the session, share information, get to know something about others, and begin discussing the program topic. Later in the session, you can conduct an additional activity in which participants explain how the characteristics they identified during the icebreaker might be applied in a given situation related to the program topic

2.   Group participants, then show a flip charted statement related to the program topic. Have participants introduce themselves within their group, then discuss and flip chart their thoughts on the statement they read. For example, in a session on customer service, you might state, “Customers today are very impulsive and in a hurry.” After a specified period of time, go over the group responses as a class. This type of activity provides a vehicle for discussion of a program relevant topic, gains active involvement, and gives people a chance to get to know one another and share how they think.

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 creative games and activities to energize your learning events, check out Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People.

Energizer Flip Chart Activity – Word Search Puzzle Review

Energizer Flip Chart Activity – Word Search Puzzle Review

PURPOSE:    Brain-based learning activity designed to energize participants (in a group with a maximum of 18 people) mid-way through a training session and to review and emphasize key points, issues, and terms covered up to that point.

The activity can be used as a pre-test (icebreaker) to introduce terms at the beginning of a session or as an interim or final review during the learning event.

Energizer Flip Chart Activity – Word Search Puzzle Review by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Blogger

OBJECTIVES:   Through an interactive team activity, participants will be able to:

  • Review and reinforce key content covered in the session.
  • Work together to compete against other groups.
  • Practice intra-group communications.
  • Have fun!

PROCESS:

  1. Form three or four equal-sized teams. Any odd numbered participants can join any group.
  2. Provide a flip chart easel, pad, and markers to each group.
  3. Based on the program topic, the facilitator will prepare identical word search flip chart pages with the terms of key issues, ideas and concepts hidden and scattered throughout a series of letters (see sample below) for each team. These pages will be turned over behind the easels and out of view until the facilitator starts the activity.
  4. Prepare two “master flip chart” pages that the facilitator keeps at the front of the room. On one create an alphabetical listing of all terms to be found in the word search puzzle (words are shown below the sample word search example below). On a second “solution” flip chart page, create a word search identical to that used by the teams and circle each word they are to find from the alphabetical list page.
  5. When ready to introduce terms or as an interim/final review at some point in the program, unveil the prepared flip chart with the alphabetical terms listed. Do not unveil the solution page with circled terms until after the activity ends and a team has been declared the winner.
  6. Have each team line up in a row before their easel containing the scrambled words.
  7. Instruct participants that they are going to be trying to solve a word search puzzle by finding key terms, concepts, or issues that are part of the session content and that words can be found across, backward, up, down, or diagonally.
  8. When the facilitator shouts “go,” the first person in each team quickly proceeds to their easel. Turns over the word search puzzle and looks for the first word from the facilitator’s master list on the team’s flip chart page. When they find it, they circle it with the marker, then rush back to their team and pass the marker to the next person, who repeats the process and so on. Once the marker is passed, the team member goes to the end of his/her line as the activity cycle continues.
  9. The team getting all of the terms first shouts “Done” and all other teams stop looking for words.
  10. The facilitator does verification of terms.
  11. If all terms have been found correctly, the winners are rewarded (small toys, candy bars, or whatever).
  12. If words have been missed, the facilitator shouts “Continue” and they resume until someone again yells “Done.”  The verification process is repeated.
  13. Review the key terms and definitions as a group.

MATERIALS NEEDED:

  • Prepared word search flip chart pages for each team.
  • Prepared master flip chart with word search terms listed alphabetically.
  • Prepared master flip chart with word search showing all words circled.
  • Assorted colored water-based flip chart markers.
  • Incentive rewards for members of the winning team.
  • Flip Chart easels and pads for each team.

ALTERNATIVE:  As an alternative to using flip charts for each team, you can print copies of the puzzle and distribute to team tables. Doing so loses the interactive and physical movement of the activity.

TIME REQUIRED: Approximately 10-20 minutes depending on team sizes.

HOW THIS RELATES TO ADULT AND BRAIN BASED LEARNING:

  • Actively engages learners.
  • Stimulates recall and memory of key concepts and key terms and concepts.
  • Appeals to visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning modalities/styles.
  • Increases energy and noise level in the room, thus energizing learners.
  • Applies the concept of rewards and incentives to help encourage participation.
  • Incorporates novelty and fun into the learning event.

Energizer Flip Chart Activity - Word Search Puzzle Review

For addition, creative training ideas and activities, get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning, The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers and Team Facilitators, and Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People. 

Three Factors Impacting Learner Engagement

Three Factors Impacting Learner Engagement

Three Factors Impacting Learner Engagement

Some research related to brain-based learning suggests that by getting participants actively engaged during a learning event you potentially help them to better gain, retain, recall, and use what they experience. To accomplish this, be creative in identifying activities and processes that will allow your participants to actively engage in the training and share their knowledge and expertise.

Three factors that can impact the success of activities, exercises, and games that you might build into your training design follow.

Audience Makeup. Ensure that you choose activities and content that is 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 to discern who will comprise your audience.

Participant Knowledge and Experience Levels.  To successfully build on what learners know, you must first determine current capabilities, knowledge, and experience levels. You can do this through the needs assessment process that is part of the Instructional Systems Design (ADDIE) model used by many learning and performance professionals.

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.

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 and knowledge with that of your learners, so that they feel appreciated for what they know, but also feel that you are contributing to their knowledge and skill development.

You should not be the “sage on the stage” with all the input or answers. Neither should you simply be a facilitator who simply draws out learner knowledge and expertise without helping meld it so that learners see connections to the session topic and hear valuable ideas from you. Strive for a combination of those roles.

Learn All About Robert C. ‘Bob’ Lucas Now and Understand Why He is an Authority in the Creative Training Skills Industry

Robert C. ‘Bob’ Lucas has been a trainer, presenter, customer service expert, and adult educator for over four decades. He has written hundreds of articles on training, writing, self-publishing, and workplace learning skills and issues. He is also an award-winning author. Robert W. Lucas has written thirty-seven books. The book topics included: writing, relationships, customer service, brain-based learning, and creative training strategies, interpersonal communication, diversity, and supervisory skills. Additionally, he has contributed articles, chapters, and activities to eighteen compilation books. Mr. Lucas is retired from the U.S. Marine Corps in 1991 after twenty-two years of active and reserve service.

Energizer Activity for Train-the-Trainer Workshops

Energizer Activity for Train-the-Trainer Workshops

Energizer Activity for Train-the-Trainer Workshops

If you facilitate trainer development or train-the-trainer workshops, consider ways to have your learners provide their own ideas and experiences throughout the day. This strategy ties into the adult learning theory (andragogy) and brain-based learning research that indicates engagement as a method of increasing comprehension, motivation, and retention among participants.

As part of your effort to identify additional ideas, strategies, activities, or other techniques currently being used by participants in their own. To do this:

  • Form equal sized small groups.
  • Creatively select a group leader and scribe (note taker) for each group.
  • Provide a flip chart and assorted colored markers to each group so that they can capture their ideas.
  • Show a slide or post a flip chart page with the following questions on it and assign each group one of the three questions (depending on how many groups you have, there may be more than one group with the same question).
  • Have participants spend some time answering the following questions and flip charting their responses.

1.  When you attend training sessions, what strategies have you seen used to excite participants and get them involved?

2.  In what ways do you think that you can generate learner enthusiasm in future sessions that you facilitate?

3.  How might learners be actively engaged during a training session?

  • As a large group, discuss ways the pros/cons of each idea and implementation strategies.
  • Reward group leaders and scribes with candy or a small prize related to the program theme (e.g. plastic pointers or small noisemakers) that they can also use in their training sessions.

Out In The Open – An Energizer Icebreaker Activity

Out In The Open – An Energizer Icebreaker Activity

Energizer icebreaker activities get participants engaged early during a training program and also tie into brain-based learning principles and andragogy by getting them actively involved in the learning process.

The following activity can help engage learners while addressing issues or concerns that they have related to the session topic.

Out In The Open – An Energizer Icebreaker Activity by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author

Purpose: To provide a vehicle for participants in a group to surface issues, concerns, or questions so that they can be discussed and potentially resolve them prior to the start of a training program or meeting.

Objectives:  At the end of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Recognize their own concerns or issues related to the meeting/ program topic.
  • Identify issues or concerns generated by their peers.
  • Visualize issues by having them listed on a flipchart.
  • Find issue or concern solutions so that they do not distract during the session.

Process:

  • Pass out blank paper and pencils to all participants.
  • After introducing the meeting program topic, the facilitator will ask participants to write down any concerns, issues or questions related to the agenda or program topic. They are also to write why it is an issue or concern.
  • Starting clockwise, the facilitator asks each participant to share one item they’ve listed and their reason for listing.
  • Each subsequent person repeats the process and it continues until everyone has exhausted their list.
  • As each issue is raised, the facilitator flipcharts it on one page that is titled “Issues.”
  • On a second easel/page titled “Reasons,” participant reasons are listed.
  • As pages are filled, tape them to the wall and continue.
  • Once all issues have been posted, spend a few minutes addressing each and concern, issue or question so that it is put behind and learners can focus on the session/meeting.

Materials Needed:

Time Required:   Approximately 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your group.

SOut In The Open - An Energizer Icebreaker Activityource: The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainer, and Team Facilitators.