Photo by: Karolina Grabowska via Pixabay
When training adults we often assume they know how to learn and have already developed techniques to help them acquire knowledge and skill. This is not necessarily the case. After being in the workplace for years, some adults have been out of their “learning mode” for quite some time and may have forgotten how to learn. It is important that we remind adult learners of the techniques that will help them learn while in class.
Here are ten ways to help learners get the most out of a training session:
1. Take notes – Provide a means for learners to take notes (e.g. lined paper, notes section in the participant manual, etc.). Encourage learners to take notes to refer to later. Writing notes will help reinforce the content and learning.
2. Stand up – Encourage learners to stand up during class when needed. Nothing says they must be “prisoners” in their chairs. Standing during class often helps with concentration and engagement.
3. Use a highlighter – Provide learners with a highlighter and encourage them to highlight key points in the manual.
4. Draw diagrams – Suggest that learners draw pictures, diagrams, and charts to help retain key information. Each diagram will serve as a visual aid.
5. Ask questions – Make sure learners are aware they can ask questions. Remind them of this often throughout a training session. Also, provide a “questions” flip chart for learners who might be uncomfortable asking questions out loud or even quietly in front of their table group.
6. Use activity time – Encourage learners to take full advantage of the time given to complete activities.
7. Make up acronyms – Suggest that learners create acronyms for key points in the content. This will aid in recalling important information. Also, as an instructor, be sure to use acronyms to help reinforce the key points presented.
8. Make mistakes – Create a risk free, non-threatening training environment where learners feel comfortable trying new things. Reinforce with learners that it’s okay to make mistakes and that training is the best place to make them.
9. Participate – Adult learners tend to enjoy small group exercises, so encourage learners to participate fully by contributing ideas and experiences, and asking questions.
10. Play with toys – Provide small toys, clay, etc. that learners can manipulate in their hands. Using table toys will help hands-on kinesthetic learners concentrate and stay engaged.
These ten simple instructional techniques will allow participants to maximize their learning. As instructors, we must provide the materials, the setting, and the encouragement to ensure adult learners get the most out of their training, especially if they have been out of the learning environment for some time and are out of the habit of learning.
What techniques do you use in your training to encourage learners to get the most out of their training experience?