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I was just thinking about all the courses I’ve taught with Langevin in the last 20 years. How time flies when you’re having fun! Yes, back to my story. In every single course, I’ve had participants with different levels of experience.
What do I mean by that? Well, let’s take one of our instructional design courses. I’ll get some participants who are brand new to design. They’ve never designed a course before. I’ll also get participants who have a little experience. They’ve done some design work or helped on a design project. Finally, I’ll have participants who’ve designed complete courses on their own.
In our How Adults Learn workshop, we have a model that breaks this down and it’s called the four stages of learning.
The first stage is the Novice – these are people who “don’t know what they don’t know.” They are brand new. If given the choice to attend, they will display enthusiasm. If forced to attend, they may appear negative.
The second stage is the Apprentice – these folks “know what they don’t know.” They may be uncomfortable because they fear the unknown.
The third stage is the Journeyman – these are people who “know what they know” but aren’t yet experts. They may cycle between increasing success and intermittent failure.
The final stage is the Master – these folks not only “know what they know” but they know it so well, it’s like second nature. They can do it without thinking.
Now, here’s the big question: What can we do in our training sessions to accommodate our learners in each of the four stages? Clearly, this can impact their motivation and desire to learn. Well, great news! I have some tips to address each stage of learning:
• Have specific objectives
• Keep it short and simple
• Deliver with enthusiasm
• Ask learners for their expectations for the course
• Assign pre-work
• Focus on hands-on activities
• Give relevant feedback
• Share success stories
• Offer coaching after the training
• Create team practice opportunities
• Challenge the participants
• Practice as much as possible
• Build in fun
• Build in individual practices
• Let them facilitate
• Share their expertise
• Sit side-by-side with a novice
• Give them more challenging exercises
By using these tips, you’ll ensure the novice isn’t overwhelmed and the master isn’t bored. When you recognize the various experience levels and address their needs, you’ll become a better designer and facilitator. What else do you do to ensure you’re meeting your learners’ needs?
If you’d like even more tips to connect with your audience, check out our How Adults Learn workshop, offered in person or live online in a virtual classroom. We discuss adult learning principles, learning styles, and retention techniques, just to name a few!