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How to Make Training Active by howardtheduck


									How to Make Training Active
By: Shelley Conroy, e-Training Solutions, Inc.

THERE IS A WHOLE MORE TO TRAINING THAN TELLING! Learning is not an automatic consequence of
pouring information into someone’s head. It requires the learner’s own mental and physical involvement. Lecturing and demonstrating, by themselves, will never lead to real, lasting learning. Only training that is active will.

WHAT MAKES TRAINING “ACTIVE”? When training is active, that participants do most of the work. They
use their brains – studying ideas, solving problems, and applying what they learn. Active training is fastpaced, fun, supportive, experiential and personally engaging. Often, participants are out of their seats, moving about and thinking aloud.

WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO MAKE TRAINING ACTIVE? In order to learn something well, it helps to not only
hear it, but to see it, ask questions about it, and discuss it with others. Above all else, we need to “do it.” That includes figuring out things by ourselves, coming up with examples, rehearsing skill, and doing tasks that depend on the knowledge we have. While we know that adults learn best by doing, how do we promote active learning in training programs? It’s all in the design. An active training program is characterized by activity, variety, and direction. Trainers, whether experienced or novice, who teaches technical or nontechnical information, concepts and skills to adults must incorporate the following three strategies into their programs:  Get participants active from the start through activities that build teamwork and immediately start people thinking about the subject matter.  Conduct full-class learning and small-group learning, stimulate discussion and debate, practice skills, prompt questions, and even get the participants to teach one another.  Finally, use active techniques to review what has been learned, assess how one has changed, and consider the next steps to take so that training sticks. How To Get Active Participation From the Start  Team Building: helping participants to become acquainted with one another or creating a spirit of cooperation and interdependence  On-the-Spot Assessment: learning about the attitudes, knowledge, and experience of participants  Immediate Learning Involvement : creating initial interest in the subject matter How To Actively Teach Information, Skills and Attitudes These are instructional strategies that can be used when you are at the heart of your training program. The techniques are designed either to replace or to reinforce lecture presentations. A wide variety of alternatives can gently push participants to think, feel, and apply.  Full-Class Learning: trainer-led instruction that stimulates the entire group  Stimulating Discussion: dialogue and debate of key issues  Prompting Questions: participant requests for clarification  Peer Teaching: instruction led by participants  Independent Learning: learning activities performed individually  Affective Learning: activities that help participants to examine their feelings, values and attitudes  Skill Development: learning and practicing skills, both technical and non-technical How To Make Training Unforgettable Integrate ways to conclude a training program so that the participant reflects on what he or she has learned and considers how it will be applied in the future. The focus is not on what you have told the participants, but what they take away.  Reviewing Strategies: recalling and summarizing what has been learned  Self-Assessment: evaluating changes in knowledge, skills, or attitudes  Application Planning: determining how the learning will be applied by the participant after the training program is over  Final Sentiments: communicating the thoughts, feelings, and concerns participants have at the end

Some words of advice for implementing active training techniques in your programs: 1. Don’t experiment wildly. Try a new method no more than once a week. 2. When you introduce a method to participants, sell it as an alternative to the usual way of doing things. Obtain their feedback. 3. Don’t overload participants with too many activities. Less is often more. Use just a few to enliven your training program. 4. Make you instructions clear. Demonstrate or illustrate what participants are expected to do so that there is no confusion that might distract then from getting the most out of the technique. Turn your ordinary training programs into memorable occasions by making your training active!

For great training activities:
Active Training: A Handbook of Techniques, Designs, Case Examples and Tips by Mel Silberman

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