Interactivity is Critical to Today’s Classroom Training
by Bob Shively, Enerdynamics President and Lead Facilitator
Today’s corporate learner craves interactivity. In a world of short attention spans driven by distractions just a click of a smartphone away, most adult learners are no longer capable of focusing on a specific topic for more than 15 minutes at the most. To be successful, facilitators and class designers must utilize a variety of techniques to foster interactivity.
Here are Enerdynamics facilitators’ eight favorite techniques to keep seminar participants active and learning with examples taken from our The Future of the Utility seminar:
1. Introductory story with discussion
A story at the very beginning of class, even before the traditional introductions, gets participants to sit up and start engaging immediately, especially if it is followed up with a quick discussion question about how the story relates to the participant’s situation. When done correctly, you have participants mentally engaged without them even thinking about it.
Share a quick story about how New York City in the early 1900s transitioned over a 15-year period from streets filled with horses to streets filled with cars and electric street cars, followed by discussion questions. What changed and what stayed the same? How does this relate to today’s utility industry?
2. Introductions with specific question
The traditional "go around the room and do introductions" tends to be a drain of nergy and attention spans. Some folks strain to hear, some don’t care, and some just want to get to the material at hand. A way to make introductions another learning moment is to ask everyone to come up with one word that describes a specific issue related to the course content as they introduce themselves. These words are written on a flipchart or white board for reference during the seminar, and suddenly everyone in the room is already interacting and contributing. This is a perfect way to get everyone comfortable with participating throughout the day.
3. Unstructured ongoing “Socratic style” thinking questions
As facilitators are presenting material, they frequently ask the participants unstructured questions: How does this impact you in your job? What did you see in the video that you found noteworthy? Why is this noteworthy?
What do you think are the key barriers to using RNG in your gas system? What drivers might get your company to use some?
4. I-clicker polls
I-clickers are provided to groups of two to three individuals, and questions that require some analysis are inserted into the material at key points. Each group discusses the correct answer and then use their clicker to “vote.” Results are shown on the screen and participants are asked to defend their answers.
5. Thought questions
These are quick questions that are answered by groups in about five minutes. Each group then reports back to the greater group of all participants. Groups are asked to say why they chose their answer and may discuss different viewpoints from other groups. This allows participants from different backgrounds or work areas to learn perspectives from each other while analyzing content learned.
Groups are assigned a specific incident or problem to address in their groups. As with thought questions, groups report out and often end up discussing their conclusions with groups from different backgrounds who may think differently.
7. Case studies
A detailed case study is provided ahead of time or on Day 1 of a two-day seminar. Each group is given a different, but related case and then prepares a presentation for the other groups addressing the key issues in their study and how they were addressed. This allows participants to think deeply about specific issues and then learn from each other.
8. Aha moments
At the end of each day, participants are asked to state an "aha moment" in which they learned something surprising or useful. Alternately, you might ask what is one thing they are going to change in their work group based on what they have learned. The resulting reflection and sharing results in interesting discussions and gets participants thinking about not only what is important to them, but also what is important to others in the room.
Based on our 25 years of experience delivering classroom seminars, we are convinced that if you implement such techniques to foster interactivity, your seminars will become fun and exciting. And by being required to continually think and analyze the material, your learners will walk away with knowledge they’ll be able to apply immediately and for years to come.
Questions about Enerdynamics' live seminar options? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866.765.5432 ext. 700.
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