Six Steps to Effective Adult Training

gintyBy Ginty Chalk, Organisational Design and Change Specialist at BMGI South Africa

Ever wondered why training isn’t successful?

Ever wondered why delegates aren’t engaged?

Ever wondered why you just can’t get through to your delegates?

Wonder no more… Because adults prefer learning situations which:

1. ARE PRACTICAL AND PROBLEM-CENTERED, SO…

  • Give overviews, summaries, examples, & use stories to link to the content
  • Discuss and help them plan to apply their new knowledge and skills
  • Use collaborative problem-solving activities
  • Anticipate problems applying the new ideas to their setting so, offer suggestions
  • CAUTION: Don’t be too theoretical.

2. PROMOTE THEIR POSITIVE SELF ESTEEM, SO…

  • Provide low-risk activities in small group settings
  • Plan for building individual success incrementally
  • Help them become more effective and confident through guided practice and establishing routines.
  • CAUTION: Readiness to learn depends on self-esteem

3. INTEGRATE NEW IDEAS WITH EXISTING KNOWLEDGE, SO…

  • Help them recall what they already know from prior experience that relates to the topic of learning.
  • Share your agenda and assumptions and ask for input. Adjust time for topics to fit their needs.
  • Use a continuum that describes a range of skill & knowledge. Ask them to apply stickers or marks showing what their current level of knowledge/skill is in the topic(s)
  • Ask what they would like to know about the topic
  • Build in options within your plan so you can easily shift to address needs.
  • Suggest follow up ideas and next steps for support and implementation after the session
  • CAUTION: Collect needs data and match the degree of choice to their level of development

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4. SHOW RESPECT FOR THE INDIVIDUAL LEARNER, SO…

  • Provide for their physical needs through breaks, snacks, coffee, comfort
  • Provide a quality, well organized, differentiated experience that uses time effectively and efficiently
  • Avoid jargon and don’t “talk down” to participants
  • Validate and affirm their knowledge, contributions and successes
  • Ask for feedback on your work or ideas, provide input opportunities
  • CAUTION: Watch your choice of words to avoid creating negative perceptions

5. CAPITALISE ON THEIR EXPERIENCE, SO…

  • Don’t ignore what they already know, it’s a resource for you
  • Plan alternate activities and choice so they can adjust the process to fit their experience level
  • Create activities that use their experience and knowledge
  • Listen and collect data about participant needs before, during and after the event
  • CAUTION: Provide for the possibility of a need to unlearn old habits or confront inaccurate beliefs

6. ALLOW CHOICE AND SELF-DIRECTION, SO…

  • Build your plans around their needs, compare desired behaviors (goals) & actual behaviors
  • Share your agenda and assumptions and ask for input on them
  • Ask what they know already about the topic (their perception)
  • Ask what they would like to know about the topic
  • Build in options within your plan so you can easily shift if needed
  • Allow time for planning their next steps.
  • CAUTIONS: Match the degree of choice to their level of development. Also, since there may be things they don’t know that they don’t know, use a mix of their perception of needs AND research on needs and organizational needs and calendar to guide your planning.

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