#ATD2015 Session: Want better classroom Enagement? Stop Talking!

Want better classroom Enagement? Stop Talking!One of my major objectives for this conference was to increase my training facilitation toolbox. This particular session was one of the seassions I was looking for. Jill Boone gave a session that was very interactive due to the activities she used to conduct it. She increased engagement by providing interactive activities and getting out of our way

We began the session with a group activity around the question: How do you know whether a training audience is engaged? This is what the group shared:

  • questions
  • participating
  • not reading Facebook, email, etc.
  • notetaking
  • appropriate body language
  • interacting with each other

Basically, they are doing something.

The average person can focus on listening 10 to 15 minutes optimal but it is generally, passive listening. This decreases as the class goes on to only 3 to 4 minutes at a time.

Boone made it a point to note that she does not read to adults. During the entire presentation, she never once read the slide.

The group also addressed some accelerated learning principles:

  • relevancy
  • make it fun
  • make them do something
  • get them active and involved

“Being in the same room with someone saying something is not equivalent to learning it.” ~ Middendorf & Kalish

Boone also recommended to get away from the term “role-play”, instead refer to sand-tables, simulators, etc. The term “role-play” is loaded and people run away from it.

Accelerated learning principles

  • total learner involvement
  • active creation of knowledge
  • collaboration
  • activity-centered learning events
  • designed quicker
  • positive emotions

What is a learner-centered environment?

  • building upon prior knowledge
  • relevant
  • ask what they need to learn
  • give opportunities to practice

You can ask questions before, during, and after an event. Before an event, you can use questions to assess knowledge. After an event, you can use questions for transferring learning.

Boone likes 60 second activities; this causes learners to focus.

Here are some questions that she recommended you should never ask:

  • Do you understand?
  • Make sense?
  • Do you have a questions?

Other tips from the session:

  • Use open-ended questions.
  • Play ball with questions. In other words,  send question pack to participants. It is a form of reflection.
  • Use questions where there is no right or wrong answer.
  • Use questions to draw out experience of group.
  • When asking an individual a question, follow up with probing questions. It keeps individual on the front of their seat rather than kicking back and relaxing. It keeps them engaged.
  • Always acknowledge right answers.
  • If people do not respond, break them into smaller groups.

This was a very enjoyable session. I walked away with a number of ideas that I hope to share and use. Boone made this a very active session while effectively sharing the content.

Recommended books

Creative Training Techniques Handbook ~ Robert Pike

Accelerated Learning Handbook ~ Dave Meier