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PUTTING YOUR BRAIN TO WORK: ACTIVITY

What are some creative ways in which you or others have provided a review of program concepts during a training session?_

How have such reviews been effective in reinforcing the learning?

Guiding Participant Learning

Start all training experiences with an overview of session objectives that describe what participants will be able to know or do differently at the end of the program (the big picture). Make the learning interactive and as the program content is presented, ensure that you link each piece together with transition phrases to help learners mentally follow the flow from one area to the next. Also, ensure that time to review what has been covered is built in at points throughout the session (interim reviews). At the end of the session, display the program objectives one more time and ask participants what they experienced related to each, as well as how they intend to apply what was learned. Finally, have each person complete a written action plan with specific dates for accomplishment of next steps in applying what was learned.

• LEARNING MODALITIES

The complex organ that we call the brain uses its hundred billion plus cells to process information and images in many ways and on different levels. For example, in any given hour of consciousness, the brain collects, analyzes, and stores thousands of visual cues. As part of this vast data assimilation, comprehension, and translation into action, learners use different approaches or modalities in gaining input. Most people have a preferred and a secondary modality for learning. These preferences are often called learning styles and involve receiving information through auditory (hearing), visual (seeing), or kinesthetic (physically experiencing or emotionally sensing) means.

Simply stated, learning modalities or styles are differing approaches that people use to learn. It is important for you to recognize your own preferred style as well as to be able to recognize that of others. If you are not aware of your preferred modality, you may unconsciously design and deliver information in a format with which you are comfortable, but that ignores the learning preferences of others. In such instances, you might ignore the learning needs of a portion of your learners and ultimately cause a breakdown in their learning cycle. To prevent this from occurring, and to determine your preferred learning style(s), complete Figure 1-4. Before doing so, you may even want to first make blank copies of the survey to give to your learners later. This can help identify what they prefer and ensure that you are building training that is truly effective and that learners will accept.

Learning Modalities in Action

There are many strategies available to address participant learning modalities once they have been identified. To help decide what approaches to take in delivering information, use the following indicators to help identify the learning styles of your participants. Look for clusters of signals (several combined) rather than just taking one indicator as being definitive of style preference. Also, keep in mind that each learner brings a unique combination of experiences, needs, and learning modality preferences to the activity; therefore, these are simply common indicators and should not be taken as absolutes. It is always better to ask participants for their input or needs rather than to assume what these are.

Auditory Learners

Easily distracted by people and things around them as well as by actions being processed in their minds.

Often talk to themselves when reviewing information, problem solving, or making decisions.

Often read out loud (their lips move).

Gain the most value from information gathered in verbal lectures or presentations, small group discussions, and in listening to audiotapes or others.

Extract emotional meaning and intent from vocal nuances, such as rate of speech (words spoken per minute), inflection or pitch (high/low), voice tone, volume (loudness/ softness), voice quality (pleasant/unpleasant), and articulation or enunciation of words (clearly pronouncing words without cutting off endings or slurring).

Often able to recall conversations, jokes, and stories and to attribute them to the right person.

Typically benefit from learning activities involving verbal interaction. Math, spelling, and writing may be difficult.

Can sometimes be identified by their verbal statements: I hear what you are saying.

What you are saying is music to my ears.

Take a few minutes to read each of the following statements. In the Preferred Behavior column, place a check (✓) in the space by each statement that is most like you. Once you have selected all statements, look at the instructions at the end of the survey in order to determine your preferred style(s).

Style category

Preferred behavior

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