Welcome to the fourth in our seven-part Facilitation Tips series. In this blog, we examine some success strategies in how use hands-on learning for better retention.
As teachers, we are responsible for creating learning experiences that help our students evolve. The human mind is hardwired to discard any information it doesn’t readily use. Our brains attach weight to that which is practiced. To that end, here are a few best practice ideas for building in activities that cement learning:
- Learning by Shared Experiences – Creating shared experiences where everyone—from C-level executives to assistant managers—is involved effectively takes each participant out of their comfort zone and into a creative problem-solving.
If you’ve been following our blog series, you might remember Signature Health has their C level executives go through CNA training. This helps build community, culture and gives executives and managers a better idea what their CNAs are going through day to day. If you can, build activities that allow the CNAs to see other managers or peers and give them the opportunity to get to know one another and share problem solving.
- Learning by Silence – Facilitators are allowing more time for conferees’ solo quests, reflection, even meditation time. One example is to curate a variety of articles around a topic – perhaps senior living in our case – and give your learners time in class to review the articles. Then lead a group discussion around what they found, their impressions, etc. If you are teaching culture, find some culture articles, if you are teaching technique, find some articles around clinical improvement – you get the idea!
Another idea for this is a digital treasure hunt. Make a list of various items that explain your organization, for example, that learners can find via your website or any digital asset they have access to. Provide them a list of the clues you are looking for and have them find them. Rather than drone on and on, let them have fun finding that info.
- Learning by Doing – Learners participate in curated experiences that are supported by reflection, critical analysis and synthesis. Active engagement is achieved by posing questions, investigating, experimenting, being curious, solving problems, assuming responsibility, being creative and constructing meaning. A good example of this technique is after your standard “Falls” instruction, have an area or room set aside with a multitude of falls hazards contained within it. Then ask your learners to examine that room or area and note how many hazards they see. Then facilitate discussion around how those hazards might be addressed.
Examine your teaching to see if you are staggering teaching with practical application. Teach, apply, teach. You are only limited by your creativity.
- Learning AFTER the Learning – Many post-program strategies can be arranged to help facilitate a continued learning process—including self-directed debrief meetings; coaching sessions by peers or managers; or follow-up with simple post cards with action items they mail to themselves at the close of the conference or session. All approaches can be highly productive and fun, assisting participants in real-time learning application issues.
Learning by doing, or experiential learning is all about helping people discover learning on their own with you as a guide, as opposed to didactic learning where you are the “sage on the stage”. Both can be useful, but more knowledge is retained when experiential learning is added.