Think back to your last on-the-job training or ‘teambuilding’ activity—what comes to mind? For many of us, there is at least one message or outcome we vividly remember even if, on the surface, it’s no longer directly applicable to your current environment.
But what's important about that experience isn't in the relevancy, it's in the memorability. Of all the things you've learned in your lifetime, why does that one experience come to mind? Understanding how individuals learn is a field of study that continues to evolve, especially in today's complex learning environment.
One of our corporate training options Afterburner, has delivered experiential learning programs to every kind of organisation you can imagine for the past twenty years. Whether the industry is manufacturing, retail, banking or healthcare, or the function is sales, finance, operations or IT, there are a number of facilitation truths that we've found applicable across all verticals of an organisation.
Whether live or virtual, your audience needs to not only apply what they are learning, but see the results it can deliver. Keep the material simple and the experience that surrounds it complex in order to build greater connections in the neural network. Outline a few simple points in the instruction but spend the lion's share of the course exercising the learning in real or near- real simulations.
Furthermore, Afterburner will give participants a simple take-away summarising the content on a single sheet of paper. They use a quick reference card (QRC) that outlines the FLEX Cycle for their clients and over the years, they have had participants using these QRCs as much as a decade later. And in an increasingly paperless, virtual world, tangible materials can have an enormous lasting impact.
Don't be afraid to openly challenge pre-conceived notions and assumptions. It's not just about the rationality and usefulness of the knowledge being transferred, it's also about the emotional experience and how the learner engages with it. Use true stories to illustrate the value of the learning. Juxtapose the learning in action versus the failure to use it. Demonstrate how others that have used the learning have done so with great success.
A desk or table and chair are a barrier to learning and so is a podium. Learners are too easily lulled into complacency, indifference and apathy when shielded behind furniture. Movement increases blood flow which, in turn, increases reception and attention. Engagement with the facilitator and other students leverages the natural socialisation of learning and improves retention and engagement.
Research demonstrates that our brains will attend to failures more than successes. Making the material easy doesn't facilitate the attention and grit needed to fix the learning in memory so create an environment where it is safe to fail. Mix tough problems with tricky ones to challenge participants to leverage new learning in order to overcome those challenges in an environment where failure is not only safe, it's probable. Set them up to fall for their own pre-conceptions and assumptions, then help them assess their performance unemotionally to highlight the learning.
Even in a world where content curation is becoming an overwhelming responsibility of learning and development professionals, how that content is delivered still matters—and may matter more than ever. In a universe of exploding content and growing noise, the quality of facilitation will be an ever more important mark of training effectiveness.
Explore the techniques and processes used by Australia’s fighter pilots; take a look at Afterburner's online profile. If you have any questions please contact us via the enquiry form on their profile on call us direct on 1300 55 64 69.