Taking an Experiential Learning Approach for Training

Taking an Experiential Learning Approach for Training

If you are a trainer or educator of adults, you likely already understand that training or classroom time is precious. The challenge is to get learners to appreciate that what you are delivering to them meets their needs, matches their personal learning goals, and is relevant. One means of accomplishing this is through applying brain research to your learning events.  By taking an experiential approach to learning and tying into brain-based learning research, you can help create connections in the brain and facilitate the likelihood that learning will be used once the session is over.

Taking an Experiential Learning Approach to Training

Taking an Experiential Learning Approach for Training by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Brain-Based Adult Training Author

As adults and professionals in a given field, your learners likely already have a base knowledge of the content that you plan to share with them. For that reason, you must take the information learned from your needs analysis and create links or short-cuts between what they know and what you have planned. For example, if you are facilitating a workshop for a group of experienced supervisors, they likely have already been exposed to the basics of coaching, counseling, communicating, motivating, and providing performance feedback to employees. If these are topic areas covered in your session, you will need to think of ways to show learners how to more systematically and logically use the knowledge and skills they possess to improve their on-the-job performance.

An easy way to help learners see how to apply what they are learning is to provide the format or structure for using knowledge or skills in the classroom, perhaps in the form of a model or through a team game activity. You could then give them an opportunity to work in small groups to determine ways of applying their new knowledge and skills in their work environments. Through this technique, they actually take what you give and customize it to their individual needs while receiving feedback from their peers on how it might be improved. In this fashion, when they walk out of the room, they have real-world knowledge, skills, and strategies that can be applied immediately.

Practical application and taking an experiential learning approach for training sessions and education typically add more value to any learning experience and enhances return on investment. It can also enhance your session evaluation results.

More Information On This Topic & It’s Blogger

For activities and games to engage your learners, get a copy of Creative Learning: Games and Activities That Really Engage People.

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

Robert W. ‘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.

Three Tips for Identifying Adult Learner Needs In the Classroom

Three Tips for Identifying Adult Learner Needs In the Classroom

Three Tips for Identifying Adult Learner Needs In the Classroom

According to numerous research studies on adult learning (andragogy), it is crucial to identify the needs of your learners so that you can address them in the design phase of your corporate training or educational initiatives. Otherwise, you will likely be providing content that is of little use to your learners and you will be wasting time, money, and effort in your training delivery. In such instances, the transfer of training from the classroom to the workplace may be limited.

The ideal time to do your learning needs analysis (training needs assessment) is before you begin your training program design. Unfortunately, in many cases, you will not have time and money allotted for reaching out to attendees to determine their needs. In such instances, you may have to conduct a mini-assessment once adult learners arrive in the classroom and then solicit or validate their needs. You can then make on-the-spot adjustments to content and delivery.

Three Tips for Identifying Adult Learner Needs In the Classroom by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author, and Blogger

Here are three simple, tested strategies for gathering learner needs in the classroom.

Engage Learners with Index Cards.

Pass out index cards to learners at the beginning of your session and have them write down one bit of knowledge or skill related to the training topic that they want to take away. This type of activity can sometimes alert you to needs that you had not previously anticipated. If that is the case, try to address the newly identified needs in the session.

If multiple people identify a similar need that you are not prepared to address during your mini-needs analysis, either discuss other resources for learners to access, agree to discuss them during breaks or after the session, or plan an additional session to address the topic.

Generate a List of Workplace Issues.

Pass a sheet of blank paper around the room and ask learners to write down one workplace issue related to the program topic that they encounter regularly. Use this list to pull examples and to create a dialogue or small group discussions throughout the workshop.

Incorporate Brainstorming.

Have learners participate in a small group or instructor-led brainstorming session in which they identify key session related workplace issues on which they want more information or help. Put their responses on a flip chart for discussion or reference later.

For additional training methods and creative ideas on how to identify and address learner needs when conducting adult training or educational sessions, get a copy of Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners, The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning, and Training Workshop Essentials: Designing, Developing and Delivering Learning Events That Get Results.

Tips for Effective Presentations and for Using Humor To Maintain Audience Attention

Tips for Effective Presentations and for Using Humor To Maintain Audience Attention

Tips for Effective Presentations and for Using Humor To Maintain Audience Attention

To ensure that you are in the right frame of mind and ready to facilitate an adult learning event successfully, make sure that you have your opening remarks memorized. That way you do not have to keep referring to notes or visual aids.

If you plan to tell a joke but are not a regular joke teller, make sure you have practiced it on a few people to see if it is funny to them before using it in training. Otherwise, you may want to think of alternative ways to gain learner attention and start your session with a bang. This is because if your opening remarks do not grab learners and pique their interest in what you are saying at the beginning; you are likely to lose them in the opening minutes of the presentation.

Tips for Using Humor To Maintain Audience Attention

Two other important points to consider related to joke-telling in training:

  1. If you could potentially offend ANYONE in the group because of a joke you plan to tell that relates to race, gender, body type, ability level, or anything else, do not use it.
  2. Keep in mind that humor and sarcasm do not always transcend cultural divides. If learners are from other cultures in which humor is not commonly used in training or in which they have no context for the context of the joke, learners will not “get it” and your intent will be lost. For example, humor related to certain sports, politics, or cultural-related issues may have no meaning to someone from another country. Additionally, because of cultural beliefs, some people view jokes in a learning or work environment as a waste of time and as unprofessional behavior.

For more creative ideas on presenting information professionally in an adult learning environment, a variety of training methods, gaining and maintaining the interest of adult learners, and incorporating creative training strategies into your training, 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.