Top 10 Tips to Engage Learners

You’ve spent days preparing for a workplace training that you’re sure will keep everyone on the edge of their seats – content-rich slides, some great jokes, and even a fun game to break-the-ice. You arrive early, prep the room, and are enthusiastic for the day’s event. As you look out into your classroom, awaiting the smiles of those eagerly learning, you notice mid-way through that your audience is fading. To your surprise your training isn’t quite as riveting, as you had planned.

The last thing you want to hear when your students leave your classroom is “that was a waste of time.” If students enjoy what they are doing, their brains become more active and with higher brain activity comes the ability to absorb more information. Disconnected students who switch off, will most likely leave your session having learned very little.

So how do we create an engaging learning environment, with high information retention, and everyone leaving with an enthusiasm for more?

Here are your top ten tips for making learning fun again:

1. Consider Different Learning Styles

Can you read a book and instantly retain everything you read? Or, do you need a visual to fully understand? How about an aural story with a logical narrative? Do you prefer to work alone or with other people? Group learning is often the most feasible way for employers to deliver workplace training and is a prime chance for all involved to expand their knowledge and skills. When training in a team-setting, be sure to keep in mind that each individual learns differently. Really take the time to consider how different modes of acquiring knowledge can help you tailor your training to address a variety of learning styles.

2. Divide And Conquer

Whether by role, department, or team; making your presentation and training materials match your audience is one sure-fire way to keep trainees engaged. Employee-based scenarios and role-specific case studies can help connect the what someone is learning to how they can apply it to their day-to-day business.

3. Build Anticipation

There’s nothing better for an instructor than to have your students come to training willing and eager to learn. Help build that anticipation by giving your course an exciting title. No one wants to come to a class called “CRM Training,” but they do want to come to “Turbocharge Your Sales.” Try giving participants a quick Getting Started guide, including a sneak-peak of what’s to come on training day. This will not only get your participants excited but will help them to begin thinking about questions they may have and understand more fully why they need to attend and what’s in it for them.

4. Make It A Story (with characters)

Many of us learn by following a story, which is why role playing can be an effective way to keep your trainees in the learning mindset. Try nominating individuals in the class to play specific roles. Have these roles weave through the storyline of the training and into the demonstrations, activities, scenarios, etc. Not only will the participants feel they are part of the training but will also gain a deeper understanding of the content.

5. Use Visuals

Visuals help to bring your content and story to life. If using a slide-deck, add images and animation to keep your audience engaged. To help people dive deeper into a more difficult or larger topic or process, try using a whiteboard/flip chart to draw an illustration of a diagram or process. This will give you something to refer back to in the session and allow the audience a chance to see where all the parts of the topic fit together.

6. Offer Rewards

Who doesn’t love a gold star? Keep your students rewarded for their efforts by offering candy or small prizes when someone asks a thought-provoking question or helps another student. You could also create a game, where you give points, with an exciting prize at the end. Gamification is a great way to keep your audience wanting more and healthy competition can inspire conversation amongst the group.

7. Swap Presenters

Have you ever heard the adage, practice makes perfect? One of the most reliable ways you can confirm your students have fully understood your training is to have them teach what they’ve learnt to someone else. Real learning comes from making mistakes and mistakes come from practice. Encourage participants to demonstrate how to do something, explain a concept in their own words, or relate what they’ve learnt to a real-life scenario. In doing so, it will solidify the information in their brain, while also helping to work out which areas they may need further help.

8. Make It Interactive

When participants know they are a part of the journey and not just on the sidelines as a passive recipient, they will be motivated to stay engaged to see how the story unfolds. Make your training interactive by building in a few hands-on activities or group/teamwork. The recent introduction of online poll apps, like Poll Everywhere, can help gauge your audience’s level of comprehension and participation. You can even conduct a live trivia contest (right in the classroom!).

9. Make People Think

Throughout training, be open to answering participants questions; however, be sure not to give all the answers. The brain tends to retain more information when it’s forced to come to its own conclusions. At the end of your session, try giving a business-related case study or challenge where participants need to use what they’ve learnt and apply it to a new real-life scenario. One of the best ways to retain information is to immediately put what you’ve learnt into action!

10. Enjoy Yourself

If you’re happy and enthusiastic, it’s very likely your excitement (and smile!) will be contagious. An informal session, where participants see you as approachable and eager to answer questions, will always prove more successful. You’re the leader of the pack and your audience is looking for you to guide the way – so be you and have fun!

Here at TrainTheCrowd, we strive to be the leader in providing fun learning, that works. So how have we done, winning over our crowds?

“It is great to have an animated and interesting trainer. The topic could be dull, but she made it lively with her energetic delivery style.”

“Daniel presented a clear and engaging course, demonstrating great knowledge and professionalism. He engaged with individual’s needs, was encouraging, and always had a smile on his face. Great experience.”

“I really liked the quiz/question approach that our instructor used. The interactivity kept us engaged. Really good.”

“Held great conversations, got involvement from the group and facilitated everyone’s learning styles.”

“Stacey was a very professional, dynamic and engaging presenter. I would highly recommend her to other colleagues across private and public sectors.”

“After we had been told about each section we did an activity to do it ourselves to ensure we understood what Tammy was showing us. This was really useful.”

Stacey Swanton
Stacey has 5+ years experience as a Salesforce consultant and instructor specialising in custom end-user training. On her largest project with TrainTheCrowd she helped deliver 7 courses to 350 users in 5 locations. When Stacey’s not in the classroom, you can find her planning her next adventure abroad – travelling is sort of an obsession!

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