She’s there, the attendance register says so, ticks will go into boxes and records of learning will be kept. But she’s there in body only, her mind is elsewhere. She thinks is this Learning? I need to – press pause this isn’t working

Today’s class is about the history of learning and development, apparently considerable transformations have occurred in the field of L&D, leading to the amazing learning opportunities she can provide today.

I would be motivated by goal orientated objectives, not a list of content coverage

There are too many objectives; I need less to help me to pay attention to what is important

There is nothing to tell me why the items on the list are important. I have no sense of context

More interaction in the way they are presented reading from a slide is so passive

You make some interesting points says the voice and you will find this video from, Will Thalheimer useful as he shares scientific research on learning objectives in an attempt to clarify the many confusions and mythologies surrounding their use.

The voice says let’s think about your need for more interaction around how those objectives were presented to you, what opportunities can you identify for interaction, an exchange of ideas?

She thinks for a moment, “I think some pre-work small case studies, video, questions to which we must find answers before the class would be helpful.

The voice says “indeed this method of priming with pre-course activity has been proven to accelerate learning”.

Take a look at this article to understand how priming and pre-exposure works to accelerate learning and retention, and then we can talk a little more about how you can use this.
I also have another idea about how to make the presentation of those objectives or any important facts more interactive and I will show you how very soon. It is linked to your idea about sending out pre-course questions to which you find answers to prior to the training. This idea for an online treasure hunt is a great way of engaging learners both before and during the event.

Now the instructor is talking about significant events which have impacted the industrial revolution, the end of the First World War, 1917, the Second World War. The first apprenticeships, rising unemployment, youth training schemes. Dates, names, numbers, and places, facts, …..yawn!

press pause Once again she hears the voice whispering

Pause| |Press Pause this isn’t working.

The voice says “I have a suggestion for you to consider about how we might make all of these events in history more memorable”.

First we could involve learners in an activity that places these events on a timeline; we could create a project using a Timeline App where they Re-assemble a timeline into the correct order Having done that we could create a talking wall in the room for each significant event and populate with interesting information relevant to the event.We could then organise mini teach back sessions to inform the other groups about our event.

Learning press pause this isn’t working

And so we decide to download a timeline app to capture details from the group work displayed on the talking walls, when the teach back sessions have been completed we save the timelines and upload into Noddlepod to enable each group to share their work.

One week later, she hears the voice again it says…

Remember when I said I would show you how to make the presentation of facts more interactive”? I want to show you how that might work you. Also you will experience how it is linked to your idea about sending out pre-course questions to which you find answers to prior to the training.

You have received some pre course questions and your facilitator is about to interact with you via Zeetings. All you need to do is click the link that has been sent to your phone or laptop. Don’t worry no software will be downloaded. What’s even better is you can share the presentations to move through and participate in your own time.

In seconds she is engaging in an interactive presentation with her group which has been designed to review last week’s lesson.

Press pause this isn’t working

It’s not difficult to engage learners even when the topic is potentially dry. The article above started life as a response to a question from someone who attended our Professional Training Coordinator Course. She has progressed in her organisation and is now on a graduate development programme where she encountered this lesson on the history of L&D. She had decided to take on the task of redesigning this session.

Her frustration with the lack of engagement was evident.  The approach above was what we decided upon during a coaching session. Regular readers of Spectrain’s blogs will know we do not design learning that is passive, we don’t do bums on seats training, and we pay great attention to the media and methods that will engage the learner in collaboration, reflection and application.

Facts and events in history often form an essential part of learning and there is absolutely no need for the learning to be dull.

In the example above we have used a video, a group timeline talking wall activity, a timeline app to capture the output, Noddlepod an online collaboration platform, and Zeetings as a method of generating audience collaboration through PowerPoint presentations and more importantly making recap and assessments fun.

Is it time for you to press pause on approaches to learning that fail to engage? Happy to hear from you, let’s talk!

A little extra reading

Read about learning design and the art of seduction