Tip #870: Gesturing Increases Learning

“Why do people always gesture with their hands when they talk on the phone?”  Jonathan Carroll

We’ve discovered that movement contributes to greater learning and retention in our learning programs.

Participants who take notes with paper and pencil are known to learn and retain their learning more effectively than those who don’t.

Peg systems, where participants learn movements that are associated with different steps in a procedure, increase the probability of learning retention.

Getting participants up out of their seats and moving around increases their learning because more oxygen flows to their brains.

Now, studies have shown that participants will have better learning retention if their learning is associated with gestures. It doesn’t matter if the participants are: making spontaneous gestures, watching an instructor’s movements, using their hands and arms to imitate the instructor, or blindly following instructions to make certain movements while they learn. Isn’t that interesting?

By the way, gesturing also keeps participants engaged.

I think of the participants in my train-the-trainer and presentation skills programs who were so concerned about their natural inclination to gesture while they spoke. I always advised them to be authentic and not to worry. It would take too much conscious effort for them to restrain themselves. If they tried it would result in very awkward movements and poses. It was better if they just let their gestures happen.

Who knew that their gestures in front of participants in their learning programs would contribute to more engaged participants as well as better learning and learning retention?

How can you incorporate gestures and movement in your learning programs to increase learning and retention?

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


#learning #learningretention  #instructorgestures

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