There are three aspects involved in learning: ideas (cognitive), feelings (affective), and actions (behavioral). Adults learn best when training moves beyond ideas and feelings to incorporate actions as well. That is, training that provides opportunities to practice new skills will increase the likelihood that learners will apply the new knowledge and behaviors in their own environments. Also, participants are more likely to believe and retain the information they’ve learned if they arrive at the ideas themselves. Structured activities can foster the exploration that learners need in order to make their own connections and conclusions.
Here are a few strategies to incorporate activities into your training session:
- Once every 10 minutes or so, give participants two minutes to discuss with a partner the concepts you presented.
- Ask guiding questions and facilitate discussions.
- Facilitate an activity that allows participants to practice the skills or techniques you’re teaching.
- Use case studies, videos, or stories. Invite learners to describe, analyze, apply, or implement what they’ve learned.
- Play a game that slowly presents new information and allows participants to interact with the new information.
- Ask participants to record their new learning and create action steps to take after the training. Ask them to share these with others to increase the likelihood that they follow up on their action plans.