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.

Strategies for Encouraging Participation In Adult Learning Environments

Strategies for Encouraging Participation In Adult Learning Environments

Strategies for Encouraging Participation In Adult Learning Environments

Getting adult learners to actively participate during a learning event can sometimes be difficult. A number of factors may inhibit learner involvement. Some possible inhibiting elements maybe culture, participant personality, learner motivation, or the facilitator’s approach to delivering information and asking for involvement.

A simple strategy to help improve the potential that participants will volunteer is to explain the value of their input and ideas and to encourage their involvement. In addition to encouraging involvement, tell participants in your opening remarks that it is okay for them to “opt-out” of a volunteer role, such as small group leader or note-taker, or when asked their opinion. Even so, emphasize the importance of their participation. This may help limit the number of times that they choose not to participate.

Strategies for Encouraging Participation In Adult Learning Environments by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Blogger

In order to encourage the sharing of ideas by everyone, build in a variety of activity formats to provide a chance for learners to participate at their level of comfort. For example, build in large group question and answer (Q&A) and learning activities, but also use small-group activities in which four to six learners work together on a task. The latter approach allows a more intimate setting and many learners who are uncomfortable in large group settings will often open up in the smaller ones.

Another option to get input from all learners is to have them write down ideas or questions on paper or 3X5 cards and either pass them anonymously or put them into a pile in the center of their group table. Each sheet or card can then be selected and read for discussion or comment by the entire group. This allows shy people and those who are reluctant to challenge the instructor an opportunity to voice their questions, idea, or concern.

Activities, such as those listed above, are great for engaging participants in adult learning situations. They are also useful for tapping into brain-based learning research and adult learning theory (andragogy) that suggests active learner involvement stimulates brain neurons and potentially enhances learning outcomes.

For more creative training ideas and strategies for getting adult learners actively involved during a learning event, get copies of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning, Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Events That Get Results, and Creative Learning: Activities and Games That Really Engage People.

Connect Energizers to Adult Learning Objectives To Enhance Transfer Of Training

Connect Energizers to Adult Learning Objectives To Enhance Transfer Of Training

Connect Energizers to Adult Learning Objectives To Enhance Transfer Of Training

Always ensure that energizers (and anything else that you do in an adult learning environment) have sound purposes tied to your learning objectives. Never have learners participate in an activity simply to entertain or engage them. Doing so may cost you credibility and value in the eyes of your participants. It can also lose future management support and investment in your programs.

Connect Energizers to Adult Learning Objectives To Enhance Training

Instead, develop energizers that challenge learners to think and practice real-world skills that relate to session content and promote the learning outcomes you are seeking.

Like anything else in adult learning, your training design, development, and delivery efforts should be shrouded under brain-based learning research. By applying adult learning theory tenets and using experiential learning activities and games that actively engage your learner’s minds and bodies, you are more likely to affect better learning outcomes and have participants immediately apply what they learn on the job.

For specific creative training ideas related to accelerated learning strategies and how to create a brain-based learning training environment, 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.