As I mentioned in my last blog, there are lots of benefits to be gained from getting the group more involved in the learning process. But any activities need to be carefully planned in order to get the desired learning outcome. Here are my top 5 tips:
1. Expected Outcome
Without an expected outcome, an activity will not add value, and may just be seen as a time filler. Activities at the beginning of a training session can be used to create interest in the topic. During the main part of the session, activities are useful for taking the learning forward or developing understanding, and at the end of the session they can be used to consolidate the learning.
A trainer needs to think about the activity they are planning to deliver, in terms of organisation.i.e. Are break out rooms required, for example? How much time will it take? What equipment and materials will be needed? How is the group going to split?
The group need to be accurately briefed in order for the activity to be effective. Instructions need to be clear i.e. the why, what ,who, when, where, and how.
4. Managing the Activity
It is very tempting for a trainer to relax, check emails, get a coffee etc whilst the group are working on an activity which is not tutor-led. However it is essential that the group is carefully managed, to check they are on the right lines, and to feed them in with an idea if they get stuck. Often by just being available, a trainer will get asked questions to clarify a point or to seek reassurance on an idea.
5. Feedback/Summing up of the Activity
Once the activity has been completed it is vital that the trainer asks the group for their feedback on the activity.i.e. What results did they achieve? Did they achieve the desired learning outcome? What would they do differently if they did it again? Why did they draw those conclusions? It is also an opportunity for the trainer to summarise and to bring in any missed points, to bring it all together and to maximise the learning for the group as whole.
So how much planning do you do before adding an activity to your training? Do you always get the desired learning outcome? If you would like to learn more about incorporating activities in to training sessions, then please contact me.