Encourage Learner Participation


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Any trainer who’s been in the business for a while can tell which learners are going to do well on their assessment and which ones are going to struggle. The winners all follow a similar pattern, while the losers follow a much different pattern. A lot of the difference between the two is how much they participate in the learning process.

It doesn’t matter the subject matter, the amount that a learner participates in the training sessions will make all the difference in the world as to whether or not they grasp the material and can apply it. Those who are active in the training sessions, asking questions, participating in discussions, answering the trainer’s questions and always ready to try and apply what they are learning, will almost always be the ones who learn the fastest and the best.

This is an important key. Those who learn the fastest also learn the best. That’s because they have more time to practice the task, rather than just learn it. The extra repetitions of the activities and tasks, after they master it, serve to increase their ability, making them better at it.

Some learners are naturally inquisitive and outgoing, enjoying participating in group activities and sharing from their own experience, while others are more solitary and uncomfortable in a group setting. As the trainer, you have the responsibility of drawing the quiet ones out of their shell, and preventing the talkative ones from taking over the class.

This balancing of the classroom dynamics can be one of the most challenging parts of training. Yet, even if you have the best presentation, the best activities, and the best training aids; if you don’t get those learners to participate, they’re not going to learn.

There are a number of strategies you can use to draw these learners into the group’s activities:

• Call on them, by name, when you want an answer to a question

• Ask their opinion during a group discussion

• Try and get them to sit in the front of the training room

• Give them more personal attention when it is time to do hands-on activities

• Provide them with feedback on their learning, encouraging them

• Ask them to pass out materials to the rest of the group

The extra time you invest in these learners will pay off in less time that you have to spend working with them to get them to pas their qualification assessment. Their increased participation will help them learn the material faster, which will put them in that category of learner who has more time to practice, because they are not having to spend all their time mastering the skills.

This is an important subject, one which we talk more about in the Deliver volume of the Learning Guide. In there, you will find many ideas about how to make your training more effective, so that all your learners can pass their qualifications assessment.

This article was published in Equipped, Fortress Learning’s free monthly magazine for success.