Way back in April, we brought you Recipe for Learning (Part 1).
For successful learning you need a message or topic, some learners and a suitable training space. In part 1 we looked at what makes a training space conducive to learning.
Now we will look at what makes a learner ready and able to learn.
Learners come in all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, etc, etc, etc. We have all learnt something at some time in our lives and most of us continue to learn something every day. For some, learning is easy and even enjoyable. For others it is a constant struggle.
So what can we do to make learning a positive experience for all involved? Here are five basic tips.
- Get to know your learners
We all learn in different ways – visual, aural, kinaesthetic. You don’t need to know the fancy names for all the different learning styles. What you do need to do is talk and listen to your learners. Ask them about previous training. How did they go? What would have made the experience better for them? You will soon learn (yes the trainer can learn as well) what your students need. If you have a classroom full of learners who span the seven learning styles, you will most probably need to adopt a mixture of training methods to engage everyone. This is the basis of ‘Blended Learning’ (but that is a topic for another day).
- Make the content relevant
If, for example, you are training someone to drive a haul truck, do not waste their time and yours teaching them the String Theory of physics (the theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one-dimensional objects called string) – they just don’t need to know. The best way to develop a confident and competent equipment operator is to show them what they need to do and let them get on-the-job experience, under the watchful eye of a mentor while filling in a training log book.
- Keep it simple
As with any form of communication, keep the message simple and to the point. If the topic is complex, break it down into smaller pieces, have an illustration or model to help you explain. Use language that is appropriate for the audience and don’t use acronyms or jargon unless you are sure EVERYONE understands it.
- Make the learning fun
eLearning has opened up a whole new world of engaging training tools. From simple powerpoint presentations to animations and gamification, there is no excuse for boring training. Many templates and ideas are available on the Internet and most training resource developers will offer a choice of instructor lead training or eLearning materials. For some amazing and fun ideas check out: community.articulate.com
- Take the time that the learner needs
While it is important to have a general time indicator, it is just as important to spend the time required for each learner to understand the information. Training is about supporting people to learn, not just implementing a lesson plan.
Advanogy (2014), Overview of Learning Styles, http://www.learning-styles-online.com/overview/
Bernard, S. (2010), Edutopia, Science Shows Making Lessons Relevant Really Matters, http://www.edutopia.org/neuroscience-brain-based-learning-relevance-improves-engagement
E-Learning Heroes, https://community.articulate.com/e-learning-examples
Wikipedia, String theory, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory