Tip #633: Do We Bloom Where We’re Planted?

On August 8, 2016, Posted by , In learning, By ,, , With Comments Off on Tip #633: Do We Bloom Where We’re Planted?

“You have to get up and plant the seed and see if it grows, but you can’t just wait around, you have to water it and take care of it.” Bootsy Collins

Last year, a friend gave me iris bulbs from her garden. I planted them in three different places and was delighted to see their skinny green leaves poking up out of the soil.

Much to my surprise, although they were divided from the very same iris plants that my friend had in her garden, there was a distinct difference between the irises that grew in my yard.

The first to grow and blossom were the beautiful deep blue irises of Van Gogh’s painting. They grew in great profusion … Read the rest

Tip #582: The Power of Multiples of Five in Training

“A rule to live by: I won’t use anything I can’t explain in five minutes.” Philip Crosby

The number five, or multiples of five, occurs frequently in training. It applies to curriculum design, room set up, training delivery and group facilitation.

  1. Accelerated learning promotes participant-centered “whole body learning” by engaging as many of the 5 traditionally recognized senses as possible. Audiovisuals and peripherals on the walls will engage the sense of sight. Experiential learning activities will engage the senses of hearing and touch. Bowls of candy on the training tables will engage the sense of taste. Fragrant magic markers will engage the sense of smell.
  1. Five is the ideal number of participants to be seated at a training table.
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Tip #487: Training Engagement Strategies

On October 14, 2013, Posted by , In curriculum design, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #487: Training Engagement Strategies

 “Getting involved is so, so . . . involving.” Vera-Ellen

When someone asks how I plan to engage learners, the first thing that comes to mind is the use of cartoons, kinesthetic items on the tables, candy, music, colorful kites and agenda maps on the walls. However, these are really only supplemental strategies, because the training design and facilitation are the strategies that actually engage the participants.

We structure our training courses to engage the participants in meaningful and practical skill-building learning activities.

Our engagement strategy begins with the development of the lesson plan. We first identify two goals: (1) what the participants will learn and (2) why the participants will want to learn this content. We understand that we … Read the rest

Tip # 419: Markers, Stickers and a Long Table: A “Just-in-Time” Learning Activity

On May 29, 2012, Posted by , In learning activities, By ,,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip # 419: Markers, Stickers and a Long Table: A “Just-in-Time” Learning Activity

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”  Edward De Bono

The Jordan travelogue will definitely continue, but I thought you might appreciate a description of a short serendipitous learning activity.

It can be a real nightmare for a trainer when participants complete learning activities much more quickly than anticipated. I found myself in that predicament this week when I was facilitating a workshop on “Managing Your Stress and Time Before They Manage You!” Two activities that were each supposed to take an hour were completed in one hour. There was an entire hour calling for additional content.

For the last exercise, the participants had paired up to take turns discussing … Read the rest

Tip #356: Make Learning Sweet

On January 3, 2011, Posted by , In learning, By ,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #356: Make Learning Sweet

“Give people a fact or an idea and you enlighten their minds; tell them a story and you touch their souls.” Hasidic proverb

Welcome to 2011!

There is an old Talmudic (Jewish) custom. When a boy goes to study the Torah (which is a religious text) they have him touch a page of the Torah and then dip his finger in honey to learn that learning is sweet.

There are many ways to make learning sweet. Taken literally, I bring bowls of candy. I create a comfortable learning environment with seating arranged in pods, kinesthetic objects on the participants’ tables (Koosh balls, pipe cleaners, glitter wands, etc.), and colorful kites on the walls.

I sweeten learning by treating the participants … Read the rest

Tip #354: Avoid the Mistake of Thinking Participatory Learning Activities are a Gimmick

On December 20, 2010, Posted by , In learning activities, By ,,,, , With Comments Off on Tip #354: Avoid the Mistake of Thinking Participatory Learning Activities are a Gimmick

The better a man is the more mistakes he will make for the more things he will try.
Peter Drucker
One reason that participatory learning activities get a bad reputation is the fact that some trainers incorporate them solely to add an element of fun and excitement. For participants who are stretched thin at work and feel that every minute of training should be of practical use, having to participate in extended fun and games that have no relevance to the training content is a waste of their time.
Please avoid these three mistakes when thinking about participatory learning activities:
Mistake #1: Believing participatory learning activities are pure entertainment rather than a training necessity. There are four reasons for using … Read the rest