Trainers: Prepare to Inspire Nine Tactics for Optimal Learning Retention
There are nine basic processes for taking in information.
Let's briefly explore each one to determine the advantages
and disadvantages of each.
Reading has the
advantages of being portable, and to some degree, self-paced. Review and
repetition are effortless. Disadvantages include badly-written material and poor
reading skills (eyesight, dyslexia, bad habits). Uncontrollable distractions
also come into play.
although limited to one sense, has the great advantage these days of being
highly portable. Lectures and presentations can be recorded and played back on
the go. Recorded material can be listened to as many times as desired.
adds the dimension of seeing what is being demonstrated or written. Adding sight
to the sound is synergistic (value is greater than the sum of its parts).
Since it's recorded, it can be viewed as many times as desired. This medium has
recently become highly portable.
Lecture format is certainly easier than conducting a workshop. The lack
of interactivity results in far less understanding and integration. If notes are
taken, it is often at the price of not hearing everything being said. If notes
are not taken, then review is difficult.
implies interactivity. It may be as complicated as tasking smaller break-out
groups and having them present their conclusions or ideas to the larger group.
It might be as simple as participants being asked to find a partner and review
previously-covered material. The common challenges for a trainer are the
logistics (time and environment) and the enthusiasm of the learners.
Collaboration is self-directed group activity. Once a group decides on
its outcome and goals, and consistently keeps them in mind, then great learning
can take place. Best practice is to elect a facilitator to maintain focus. Group
size and composition are important factors.
Computerized Interactive Learning
is ideal for those who thrive on solo work. It is self-paced, multi-media, and
resource-rich. The physical drawbacks, if overdone, are myopia and lack of
movement causing muscle atrophy. The emotional fallout, if overdone, can be low
self-esteem and poor interpersonal skills due to lack of human interaction.
Experience is the best teacher.
We've all heard that. Well, it can be, but it isn't always so. Often experience
is circumstantial, unplanned, and misinterpreted. If it is properly planned,
participants in an experiential program can learn and grow faster than any other
method. I remember when I experienced my first "Warrior Camp". After five
16-hour days, I had undergone such a shift in thinking and attitude that I will
never allow any obstacle get in my way again – for the rest of my life.
Hypnotic style learning
can be very valuable. These include specific sound (and sometimes video)
programs engineered to stimulate and grow the mind. The good ones are expensive,
but worth it. Self-hypnosis can be used to reach the learning state, which is
trainer -- What to do? What to do?
one responsibility is to impart information and inspire your audience. If you do
an info-dump without any inspiration, then no one wins. Can you do both? Of
course you can. Are you fired-up about your subject? NO? Then don't do the talk
- If you do, you'll do more harm that good. For them it won't even be neutral.
It'll be negative. What's the point in that?
If you had a
choice between being inspirational or informative, choose the
former. If you turn them on first, then they gladly get the data later.
front, I advise my audience NOT to take notes.
Why do I do that? It is so they pay attention to me, without the burden of
note-taking. The same conflict exists when you use pre-talk handouts and slides
with bullet-points or text of any kind. The audience will read ahead. And guess
what. When they're doing that, they're not listening to you. I use only a flip
chart. That way, they are following me at my pace. How can they review you may
ask. That is where follow-up notes and visits to your website come in. At the
beginning of the talk, I tell them that my intention is to inspire them. I tell
them not to worry about the data, because it'll come later. Then they can review
everything to their hearts' content.