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.

The Role of Learning Preferences in Training Design

The Role of Learning Preferences in Training Design

Anyone who has trained adults for any period of time has likely heard of the ADDIE  (Assessment, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation) Instructional System Design (ISD)  model. This is the process that many trainers and adult educators use to determine whether training is required, employee performance gaps that exist. If training is required, it also aids in determining the type and how it will be conducted.

The Role of Learning Preferences in Training Design

The Role of Learning Preferences in Training Design by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Brain-Based Adult Training Author

A major point to consider in using the ADDIE training design process is determining the learning style preferences for yourself and your participants. Preferences are also sometimes referred to as learning modalities. These preferences are the sensory pathways related to the manner in which each person likes to access and best processes information from their environment. People typically have a primary and secondary preferred modality. Some people do not have a key preference. Instead, they enjoy learning through all three senses equally. For this reason, you should design your training content delivery in a format that intermittently engages all three modalities so that no learner is left behind. This helps ensure that everyone maximizes their own learning potential and you reach your stated learning objectives. The three primary preferences or means of obtaining information in the learning environment are visual (seeing), auditory (hearing), and kinesthetic (doing).

The Role of Learning Preferences in Training Design

Determine Preferences

As a trainer or adult educator you should be aware of the various possible configurations of learning preferences or styles that you and your learners might have. The potential style sequence options are KVA, KAV, VKA, VAK, AKV, and AVK. Most people have a primary and secondary style preference. For example, I am a VKA, which means that I prefer to see things, then practice what I experienced or learned in order to form memories or grasp the concept soundly in my brain. Like many people, my least preferred style is auditory.

By identifying your preferred style, you can potentially be more effective in designing training for your adult learners. If you have the opportunity to assess participants before a training session, you can also take their collective results into account as you design learning strategies and format content. By understanding your style(s) and that of your learners, you can potentially avoid inadvertently designing training content and delivery strategies based on your comfort zone or preferred preference. This can be useful as you consider and sequence activities that can aid learners who have differing style needs.

Finding Tools That Can Help

There are various assessment tools available that can be located by searching “learning modalities” online. Some of these are free and research-based, while others are not, so use caution in selecting ones that you use. You may want to take several of the different survey formats that are available in order to substantiate or cross-reference your style preferences before accepting what you learn as your preferred learning style or using the instruments to assess participant styles.