Another Boring Lecture? Create Two-Way Communication

Actually, much more than two-way if you can….

Some of the worst training  or education sessions that I’ve attended were lectures.  Maybe it’s not the lecture method of training alone that’s the problem, but for me, I just can’t stay engaged without a more interactive education process.  My mind will wander and I’ll lose attention.  This is an example think about as you plan.   For a lecture style, you better also plan how you will keep the learners engaged and involved or you will lose many of them to boredom.  Think about keeping it two-way as much as possible.

By “interactive” I mean a process whereby the learner, even in a lecture setting, is actively involved.  When an instructor says “think about a time when.….” she is engaging you to become a part of the learning process.  You may not have to share what you were thinking about, but she is helping you to translate the point made during the lecture to you own world.  This is an example of two-way communication, without verbal feedback.  Then, as others are asked to share their feedback it further clarifies the information and increases understanding for all.

Another great way for a lecture to become more engaging and two-way is for the instructor to ask the group for examples related to the topic being discussed.  Simply saying, “please write down 2 examples of ……..” can go a long way to promote learning.  The simple act of asking for examples and writing them down is engaging, and helps the learners to visualize and transfer the information to their own situation.

Some lectures can be broken into sections.  Using break-out groups or teams to discuss a point and come up with ideas is one technique that I have used and found to be effective.  Inserting some type of game or competition can also add to the enjoyment of the learners and keep them interested.

Regardless of the methods you utilize, remember that you are teaching adults.  Adults will pay attention to information that is current, accurate, and relevant.  By involving them during the lecture you stand a much better chance of holding their attention so you can demonstrate the relevance and timeliness of the information.  The accuracy part will take care of itself……

Anything you can do to help the learner create a visual image will further learning.  According to experts in the field of adult learning, once the learner creates an image the information now becomes theirs.  And, once the information is theirs it becomes their reality.  This is an important concept to know and build into any training session.