Six Factors Affecting Active Learning

Six Factors Affecting Active Learning

Active, brain-based, experiential, and accelerated learning are terms used for training initiatives that involve getting learners to become active participants in your sessions. Various theories and research related to adult learning and brain-based learning indicate that through active involvement, participants become more vested in the session outcomes and are more likely to gain, retain, recall and use what they experience.

Six Factors Affecting Active Learning

Six Factors Affecting Active Learning by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adulting Learning Author

Consider the following factors when you sit down to create activities and initiatives that will involve and stimulate your learners.

Audience Makeup.

Ensure that you choose activities and content that are 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 in advance when possible and before you design your content and activities in order to determine who will comprise your audience.

Participant Knowledge and Experience Levels. 

To successfully build on what learners know, you must first determine current capabilities. You can do this through a training needs assessment process that is part of a standard instructional systems design (ADDIE) process. 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 with your planned activities.

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 with that of your learners.

Available Time.

One mark of a professional creative trainer is to be able to accomplish established learning objectives and planned activities within the allotted timeframe in a seemingly effortless manner. When selecting activities, ensure that the time limit set is realistic and allows for successful completion and debriefing without intruding on other planned program segments.

Training Venue.

Take care to select a facility that has space and equipment needed to conduct planned activities. When possible, actually visit the site so that you can visualize layout and activities. Also, talk to the people who will do the room set up for the session to ensure that they understand your needs. Do not count on a third-party relaying your needs to setup people.

Group Size.

Choose activities that are appropriate for the size of your audience and ensure that co-facilitators are planned if necessary.

If you effectively plan and oversee the activity process, chances are that learners will feel a sense of accomplishment and that learning will more likely occur.

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.

Training and Development Trends

Training and Development Trends

There is no doubt that the old training and development era of standup or classroom training is quickly leaving. Thus, the new learning and performance era that encompasses coaching and guiding learners is replacing it. Learning theory is moving to the next level.

Let’s take a look at learning strategies and methods. Using technology availability and shifts, delivery systems, and the business environment, in general, are driving the evolution toward blended (classroom and technology-based learning) at a fast pace.

Learning and Performance professionals and organizations that fail to accept and embrace this metamorphosis will certainly regret it later as they lose professional competence and suffer competitively.

If you missed it, there was a good overview article related to these trends offered on http://www.trainingindustry.com. Good reading and thought-provoking.

Training and Development Trends by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Adult Learning & Training Author

Flip Chart Use - 3 Creative Ways To Attach Flip Chart Pages to Your WallsLearn This Training Industry Expert 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).

Lastly, 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.

ASTD Handbook: The Definitive Reference for Training and Development Now Available

ASTD Handbook: The Definitive Reference for Training and Development Now Available

ASTD Handbook: The Definitive Reference for Training and Development Now Available

ATD (formerly ASTD) recently released the ASTD Handbook: The Definitive Reference for Training and Development, edited by well-known learning and performance expert Elaine Biech. This book is the sequel to the ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professional and offers practitioners of all levels in the learning and performance profession ideas and guidance on how to effectively handle today’s workplace challenges.

ASTD Handbook: The Definitive Reference for Training

Like the first edition, this one draws on the expertise from noted thought leaders and experts in ATD’s core competency areas. Some of the featured authors include:

  • William J. Rothwell
  • Elliott Massie
  • Robert (Bob) W. Lucas
  • Bob Pike
  • Bev Kaye
  • Ken Blanchard

To enhance your knowledge and skills of the training and development process in areas such as, employee development, experiential learning, training, and development, assessing and analyzing learner needs, delivering training effectively, designing and developing effective learning, transferring and evaluating learning, order your copy of the ASTD Handbook: The Definitive Reference for Training and Development today.

Robert W. Lucas

Listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the South & Southeast, Bob Lucas is an internationally-known author and learning and performance expert who specializes in workplace performance-based training and consulting services. He has four decades of experience in customer service, human resources development, and management in a variety of organizational environments. Bob was the 1995 and 2011 President of the Central Florida Chapter of the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Bob 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 Factors That Might Inhibit Trainer Creativity

Three Factors That Might Inhibit Trainer Creativity

Three Factors That Might Inhibit Trainer Creativity

While there is likely an unlimited number of strategies for encouraging creativity, there are also factors that can block your creativity and that of your learners. By identifying and dealing with such factors in advance, you can potentially reduce or eliminate them in your sessions. Once you have done so, you are on your way to increasing creativity by thinking outside the box and establishing a brain-based learning environment where adult learners can become actively involved and maximize their learning potential.

Here are three factors that potentially inhibit your creativity as a trainer:

1.  Organizational Culture.

The organizational environment in which you work or train can either spark or extinguish your creative lamp and that of your learners. If your supervisor or organization effectively plans and welcomes change and new ideas, you are more likely to experiment with program format and the way you approach learning.

Likewise, participants are more likely to become excited and actively involved in brainstorming ideas and solutions to organizational issues. This is often the result of their belief that there is an opportunity for implementation and reward of such efforts. On the other hand, if there is an atmosphere of strict control where supervisors or others dictate content and delivery style, then creativity is usually limited.

Another potentially inhibiting factor within the organizational culture is the percentage of left and right-brained thinkers. People with right-brained dominance often tend to be more big picture and abstract in their thinking while left-brained dominance often leads to focusing on specifics and minutia. For that reason, organizations that traditionally have a large number of linear thinkers (e.g. accounting, some associations, certain government agencies, legal firms, and some types of technology companies) may be more prone to follow existing guidelines or maintain the status quo.

Three Factors That Might Inhibit Trainer Creativity by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author

While creativity does exist within such organizations, and predominantly left-brain thinkers are capable of creative thinking, their efforts are often directed at activities and processes that satisfy an issue or need that arises rather than an unstructured attempt to spontaneously redesign training or another system. When such attitudes carry over into your training sessions, participants may be hesitant to think outside the box unless given specific directions or promised individual rewards.

Speaking of rewards, while they can encourage creativity (e.g. during brainstorming), they can also limit it. For example, if you provide small incentives for participant responses or to the first person to offer an idea in your sessions, you may encourage participation. However, if such rewards are not fairly and equitably distributed to many people, the impact might be negative and counterproductive.

2.  Participant Attitude.

Another potentially inhibiting creativity factor is the attitude that each participant brings to the training environment. If your participants arrive prepared and excited about their impending learning opportunity, they are more likely to actively become involved. On the other hand, if participants are forced to attend training or have not been adequately briefed on expected outcomes, or how they will benefit from the training, their perspective of the training may be grim.

For participants to embrace training, they have to see the value in terms of personal gain (e.g. how it will help them do their job in a more effective and efficient manner). They must also believe that their supervisor and organization support the training initiative and will allow them to apply what is learned and reward appropriately as a result of improved performance.  These things failing, participant attitude will likely be poor and there will be a creativity disconnect.

3.  Trainer Motivation.

A third creativity inhibiting factor relates to your own motivation and desire to be creative in training others. Whether you consider yourself to be creative and having the desire to be so, can increase or decrease training and participant effectiveness.

Too often, trainers stifle their own creativity and fail to try new ideas or training techniques because they fear failure. Rather than attempt a new activity or approach to training (e.g. a magic trick, telling a joke, wearing a funny prop during their introduction, or otherwise experimenting), many trainers stick to the tried and try strategies that they and others have used for some time.

In their mind, even an average program evaluation is better than running the risk of trying something new and being less successful. Some of the reluctance might result from inexperience, while other aspects might relate to fear of the unknown or criticism, lack of confidence, or simple complacency. Whatever the logic, you are likely doing yourself, your participants, and your organization a grave disservice if you allow similar reasons to impede your own creative initiatives.

For creative strategies and ideas on how you might enhance your learning events and encourage participants to actively think outside the box during training sessions, get a copy of The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.