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.

Tips for Effectively Designing and Using Learning Handouts

Tips for Effectively Designing and Using Adult Learning Handouts

Tips for Effectively Designing and Using Learning Handouts

Professional trainers, presenters, facilitators, and adult educators know the importance of using professional-looking, content-driven session handouts when training and educating adult learners. That is because a well-designed, functional handout or training workbook is essential for reinforcing content that you deliver in your adult learning environment. This is especially true for the visual learners in your group.

Tips for Effectively Designing by the Creative Trainer

The following are some proven tips to use when designing your next handouts.

Focus on content.

Some adult learning educators and trainers forget that the handouts are training aids that should help learners better grasp concepts and remember key elements tied to the learning objectives. You should address material that will help them accomplish this and not try to use the piece as a sales tool for yourself or your products and services.

It is acceptable to put a footer with your copyright notice (e.g. Copyright 2014 Susan Right) along with phone number, email, and web domain on each page. This type of information helps protect your intellectual content from plagiarism and provides contact information in case one of your learners wishes to contact you later.

You might also include a short personal biography listing your experience and publications related to your topic in order to help establish credibility. However, the materials should not be a blatant promotional piece that has continual references to your expertise, research, website, products, and services. You can provide those items on the registration table or on a display table in the room along with any products, books, and other promotional items you want to offer or sell.

Keep the format and design “tight.”

Handouts aid kinesthetic and visual learners by engaging them mentally.

Less is more when designing handouts.

Keep in mind that they are not an article or a book. They should not contain everything that you plan to share with learners. Instead, they should highlight important points and perhaps add a bit of additional content (e.g. a definition or model) that will enrich the learning.  Use pertinent content bullet points and maybe a sentence or two, then leave space for taking notes in the margins, following bullet points, or on the back of each page as you expound on the information.

Number your pages.

By placing a page number on each sheet, you can refer to a specific item or section, and learners can quickly find and follow along with it.

Ensure that you have enough.

Always make at least 10% more copies than scheduled participants. It is very frustrating for learners when they do not receive a copy.

Provide references for material used in the handouts.

Use a page at the end of your handouts to list key resources (e.g. people, books, websites, or organizations) to which you referred during the session. This allows learners to follow-up and reads more about the concepts, principles, models, or whatever they shared.

Include complimentary graphics and images.

To reinforce the written content and to attract and hold learner attention and to reinforce the text, include various images that relate to your verbiage. Make sure that you have copyright permission to use the images that you include and where appropriate give credit to the sources.

For additional creative training tips and techniques and adult learning strategies that can enhance your learning environments and help your adult learners to better gain, retain, recall and use what they experience, 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.