Whimsical Ways to Engage Learners and Prop Up Your Adult Learning Events
Many professional trainers and adult educators continually look for ways to gain the attention of, inspire and entertain adult learners as they attempt to help learners more effectively gain, retain, recall and use what they experience in the classroom.
If you study a broad range of brain-based learning research that developed during the past couple of decades, you will find numerous effective approaches for facilitating knowledge in adult learning environments. By actively engaging learners through the use of creative environmental elements (e.g. sound, motion, movement, music, color, novelty, and fun) you can improve your approach to content delivery. You can also aid adult learners in their effort to master concepts and skills in the learning environment.
Props are very effective in helping to create a fun and content supportive learning event. They can add color, novelty, sound and other elements to your delivery while helping create memory pegs that help cement key points into the brains of your participants.
Whimsical Ways to Engage Adults Learners
Here are some effective props that you might consider including in your session design. Just remember to relate anything that you do, say, or use directly to your session content and to aid retention. Do not use an item simply to add unconnected humor or to entertain.
Noisemakers. Classroom call bells, cowbells, metal gongs, whistles, kazoos, hand clappers, and party noisemakers and similar fun items can be used to gain and refocus attention to the front of the room before starting a session or after a break or activity.
Hats. Using various hats that tie to a theme of your subject to emphasize a key concept or topic. For example:
- Chef’s hat. These can be used when facilitating food service related topics or to emphasize “cooking something up” in management or customer service training.
- Wizard’s hat. These might be worn to reinforce topics related to solving problems or “whipping something up” related to solutions for customer service or workplace topics.
- Baseball caps can be used as a symbol of a way to keep your eye on the ball or to coach others.
- Sherlock Holmes hat. Use these in sessions related to problem-solving and decision-making that focus on deduction and taking appropriate corrective actions.
Brain shaped items (e.g. squeeze stress toys, models of a brain, or rubber brain erasers) can be used as props or incentives in sessions related to brain based learning, creative thinking or other sessions in which use of one’s brain or brain-based research are prominent.
For many more creative ideas on how to develop a creative, brain-based training environment or classroom, and to assist participants in maximizing their learning potential through experiential learning techniques, get copies of Energize Your Training: Creative Techniques to Engage Learners and The Creative Training Idea Book: Inspired Tips and Techniques for Engaging and Effective Learning.