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with teasers in the welcome email and some pre-work. Contract with the learners and take

joint responsibility for the learning. At the start of a long programme, it is important to set expectations. I do not spoon-feed my learners and so these three questions are great for the start of

a programme: ``

`` ``

In order for this programme to be of value to you, it has to be like what?

In order for it to be like that, you have to be like what?

In order for you to be like that, others have to be like what?

Use the 70:30 rule for your design. According to David Meier,3

70 per cent

of the learning should be learner led and the remaining 30 per cent trainer led. Get them to make meaning and apply the learning to their real world situations. So many trainers shoot themselves

in the foot by saying things like “Tis is a bit boring but we need to get through it.” Instead, speak to their subconscious and prepare them for a difficult subject using something like “You will to need to focus for this next bit, because it will really help you in your role.”

Look at all the various ways in which learners can learn

Knowing about learners’ preferences can help you design training and learning which has great variety. Tis variety or

Identify which of your stakeholders you need to nurture, and those who take up your time for little return

a change in pitch, pace or tone every 20 minutes or so4

has shown that designing will keep learners engaged.

Do not mistakenly use these preferences to design for a specific group of people. Research5

training specifically to meet individuals’ learning preferences (or styles) is no more effective than not doing it. Help your learners to become better

at learning. Involve them in the learning process and help them understand about the whole of the experiential learning cycle, as prescribed by David Kolb.6

22 | September 2016 |

Help them through the whole learning cycle, not just their preference. Build in time for being active, reflecting on the activity, making sense of it though theories and models then also allow time to plan how they will practically apply it to their own role.

Take care of the environment

Te environment can be classified into three distinct areas: the physical, the emotional and the social. Each plays a part in providing the right conditions to support memorable and productive learning. Let us look at each area in turn to see how we can maximise its affect: 1 Te physical environment – arouse people’s curiosity by thinking about how to dress your room. Curiosity “activates the caudate, a part of the brain associated with reward”.7

I may

sometimes have a box on my table, beautifully wrapped, containing either games or rewards just to arouse learners’ curiosity. In answer to the question “What

has had the biggest impact on you?”, one participant on a two-day pro- gramme said “the classroom… how it was set up”. Another participant said it made them feel “valued”. Tis statement had quite an impact on me and convinced me that the effort that goes into dressing a room is never wasted. Other practical tips could include reusing posters from previous sessions to reinforce prior learning; considering the layout and allowing for movement; have different areas of the room for different types of activities; using the vertical space in a room, and having toys and other objects the learners can fiddle with. 2 Create a social environment before

and during the learning workshop. People like to feel connected and “social isolation has been shown to have the same effects on our brain as physical pain”. 7

on social media or collaborate on an activity beforehand.

3 Create a safe space in which they can learn by reassuring them in any pre-workshop communications; get- ting them to work collaboratively (it always feels safer) and, if necessary, state your rules on confidentiality.

Learn about the brain to maximise retention

Te more we know about the quirky ways in which the brain works, the more likely the learning will stick. Here are some tips on how to make learning

more ‘sticky’. ``

Provide opportunities to use the learning as soon as possible. Tis moves the learning to the energy hungry and very limited prefrontal cortex into the basal ganglia and makes learners proficient quickly.


Design variety into your workshops using Sharon Bowman’s principles.4 Variety will keep the learners interested and engaged.


Don’t be afraid to use repetition to make learning stick. Don’t be afraid to use repetition to make learning stick. Don’t be afraid to… OK labouring my point now!


Chunk information into manageable pieces so as not to overwhelm your learners.

Krystyna Gadd is an expert in accelerated learning. Contact her via

References 1 50 ways to accelerate learning, Krystyna Gadd, iBook, Positive Consulting, February 2015

2 ‘Use it or lose it’, Scott Blanchard, Training Journal, 2011

3 The accelerated learning handbook, Dave Meier, McGraw-Hill Education, 2000

4 Using brain science to make training stick, Sharon Bowman, Bowperson Publishing and Training, 2010

5 watch?v=855Now8h5Rs

6 Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and develop- ment (Vol 1), David A Kolb, 1984

7 Neuroscience for Learning and Develop- ment, Stella Collins, Kogan Page, 2015


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