Tips for Great Training Sessions

November 27, 2014 by  

We know how adults learn. We have good intentions to create an environment that is conducive for learning. But there definitely are times when it is so easy to revert back to talking at our participants. Because most people are not verbal learners, offering interactive opportunities for the students to employ what they have learned to appropriate situations, will make the educational experience more meaningful, fun and conducive to retentive learning.  As a trainer, you must be aware of these issues in order to be effective when you create sessions for your students.

With that in mind, here are 5 basic adult learning principles to remember:
1. Adult learners want to learn. Most realize that participating in training and other opportunities is a critical factor in their performance and ultimate success. In addition, on-going learning is beneficial to healthy brain function as it stimulates our brains to open new neuro-pathways and continue to produce new brain cells.

2. Adult learners need to be assured that the material is relevant. Many participants have juggled tasks, projects and other responsibilities to make the session a priority. Reciprocate that priority by being mindful of the content and present it in a meaningful and beneficial manner.

3. Adult learners appreciate a forum where they can ask questions, challenge the status quo and practice in a safe environment. Give them the opportunity to include such activities in their learning experience; you may learn something, too.

4. Adult learners seek feedback on their performance. Adults appreciate an opportunity to share feedback. Again, include elements that will allow the student to measure what they have learned and see the value of employing new information in their work or home life.

5. Adult learners bring a variety of life and professional experiences with them.  So leverage that experience to engage learners and create a collaborative environment! Once more, this is an opportunity for everyone to contribute knowledge and expertise to the session then everyone gains!

Here are 9 really easy lecture alternatives that require little to no preparation, yet will spark different outcomes as opposed to simply straight lecturing:
1. Brainstorming in small groups
2. Pairs interviewing one another on the topic
3. Create teams & have them list as many possible answers to the question in 3 minutes
4. Write key points to communicate on index cards & pass them out, have participants read the key point, initiating discussion
5. Ask for specific examples from the group prior to the session
6. Poll the audience using a tool like PollEverywhere
7. Incorporate a question into an icebreaker at the beginning of the session
8. Create industry appropriate scenarios to be resolved in groups applying principles or concepts just taught.
9. Use games or short exercises to demonstrate how a new concept works (even offer prizes to the winning team)

If you incorporate the various training tools into your classes you will have more success and more fun as the outcomes will produce more retentive learning.

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