Learning Objectives

At the end of this chapter, and when applying concepts covered, you will be able to:

• Create a more professional image through design and use of written materials that communicate effectively and add pizzazz to your programs.

• Provide training reinforcement on the job.

• Use creative strategies for generating flip charts, that attract interest and send a message.

• Identify ways to use posters, charts and diagrams to enhance the environment and get your message across.

• Help participants brainstorm effectively using Post-it Notes®.

• Develop and use cloth boards as an alternative to static messaging in your classroom.

• Use electronic visual aids in an effective and creative manner that aids comprehension and adds pizzazz to your material.

Many trainers and educators make the mistake of thinking that their knowledge alone makes them good at helping others learn. Although what you know certainly can be a cornerstone for effective training, it will make little difference if you do not know how to engage the minds of your learners effectively. Words alone will not ensure transfer of knowledge to others. To facilitate better getting what you know in front of participants takes preparation and skill in a variety of delivery strategies. You must be able to use all of the information you have learned about brain-based learning and how to apply it in the classroom.

A common fallacy is that by your speaking or having learners read words, they will be able to absorb and apply what they encounter. In truth, only by engaging participants on different sensory levels will they be able to gain and retain information, concepts, or ideas. A simple technique for presenting information is to develop a theme for your session and the key concepts contained in it. Once you do so, think of words, acronyms, and visual images that conjure up mental visions and aid memory and recall. For example, if you were delivering training on interpersonal communication, think of words that relate to positive communication. Possibly come up with an acrostic device (e.g., an acronym) created from the first letters of key words, factors, concepts, or other program components. Use the device to present the model visually and to accompany the words. Add visual aspects (e.g., pictures, clip art, or other elements) to supplement and reinforce your message. You can use any graphic display as long as it is in congruence with the written message and adds to understanding rather than confusing learners. Repeat the theme you develop throughout your presentation. Hang posters, have participants write it, project various images of it, and create job aids to take back to the workplace. You can also place the theme on pencils, mugs, hats, ribbons, buttons, or anything else you can think of as incentive takeaways. Doing this reinforces the model or message each time your learners look at the items in the future. An example of this involves the Basic Concepts that are the core of a program that I developed for a program titled Working Effectively with Others: The Legal and Ethical Aspects of the Workplace. In addition to stressing these concepts throughout the 1-day program, I have learners participate in activities designed to have them apply the Concepts in class. They then have to explain how and why they used each of the Concepts during the activity. I also have posters with the Concepts displayed on several walls, give pocket-sized cards (job aids) to take back to the workplace for future reference, and I provide coffee mugs imprinted with the Basic Concepts. By bombarding participants with the Concepts throughout the day and afterwards, there is a better chance for absorption and application of the material.

You can take the theme idea to another level by presenting information during your sessions, then having participants brainstorm how what you taught applies to them and their workplace. Taking such an approach helps make the learning more personal for them and they will likely take more ownership of implementation. You might even either create a logo from the theme for the session or have learners do so. Use this logo as a watermark (faintly screened background image) that appears in the center of each page of printed handouts or on projected images (e.g., transparencies or slides).

By seeing and encountering program relevant information more often learners are more likely to retain and act on it.

Control Your Classroom Traffic

I recently found a wonderful means of communicating classroom rules and other messages to participants by placing messages on the walls around the room. These messages come in the form of signs you hang that look similar in design to various road signs. Messages include the following:

QUIET: LEARNING IN PROGRESS

DANGER: TALKING OVER CLASSMATES CAUSES IRRITATION SERIOUS LEARNERS ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT NO SNORING 8:30 AM TO 5:30 PM CAUTION: CELLPHONES IN USE MAY DISRUPT LEARNING NO HOGGING THE SHOW

They are interesting, colorful, tasteful, and can be purchased from The Trainer's Warehouse (see Resources for Trainers section in the appendices).

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