Friday Fresh #19: 3 Key Strategies for Learner Participation

Happy Friday, and welcome to another edition of the Friday Fresh newsletter!

Today, let’s focus on the fight against boredom, a.k.a. encouraging your learners to participate during training so you can create a lasting impact.

Most professionals have, at one point or another, found themselves in a training session that feels heavily one-sided, and their participation doesn’t seem invited or even welcome.

On the other hand, some trainers try their hardest to engage learners but meet a wall of blank gazes that may feel discouraging. Both those experiences may be disheartening for the participants and are likely to result in lesser knowledge retention and reduced interest in the subject.

While the saying “It takes two to tango” applies here, “tango” also requires space and is better with music. So, let’s talk about creating the right environment for your educational “dance” to take place.

Speak clearly and audibly

This may seem like unexpected advice, but you will be surprised how often people disengage during training when they struggle to hear or understand the speaker. Whether you’re native in the language you’re delivering training in or not, focus on calming your breath, enunciating your words, and speaking slowly enough with sufficient pauses to allow your audience to follow your thoughts. Test if everyone can hear you at the start of the session to ensure the sound reaches everyone in the room well enough.

Involve appropriate physical activity

Getting people involved with more than just their thoughts and words is likely to provide better overall engagement. If, for instance, you ask the learners to pass around an apple and hold it while answering a question, you will engage all learning types (auditory, visual, tactile) and awaken a better sensory response.

Use Interactive Tools

Tools like Mentimeter provide you with the wonderful opportunity to engage your audience via interactive means with a visual output you can share with your audience (for example Рa word cloud). Using Mentimeter (or similar tools) can also be done anonymously, allowing the shyer members of your audience to participate without worry.

More known methods to engage learners

Here are some additional methods you can use to engage learners:

  • Spark Discussion
  • Regularly ask (easy) questions
  • Encourage “see through my eyes” sessions, allowing learners to express their opinions without anyone commenting on them
  • Ask your quietest learners to comment on the inputs of the most vocal ones
  • Relate everything to real-world examples
  • Use people’s names to invite them to comment

Final Thoughts

Engaging learners is all about finding the right balance between allowing space for expression and ensuring that the knowledge is transferred. Be mindful when inviting your learners to join in a conversation, and remember to take into account their level of expertise on the topic, current mood, and personality type.

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