Tips 5 & 6 – Engaging Adult Learners

5.  Seek Participation.  As with #3 (see last blog post), reaching out to the class and involving everyone will increase engagement.  Develop group activities that require everyone to perform a specific task, or play a role in a situation. Creating scenarios and acting out events makes the training come alive. 

Learning by doing helps employees understand specific skills that may be required.  Try to make any activities or games fun for all.  By doing so, you create a positive leaning environment that includes smiles and laughter.  This encourages everyone to participate.  They see that it is okay to ask questions, make mistakes, laugh at themselves in fun, and then to be open to correction and the introduction of new ideas.

6.  Build Rapport.  Adult learners value a welcoming and friendly environment.  Set an open and responsive tone that demonstrates concern for each individual.  Show your understanding of the variety of their responsibilities and their motivation.  As pointed out in Tip #1, by openly and actively preparing to teach the course you increase your credibility.  The process of observing the work, talking with and listening to employees, assessing their knowledge, discussing their experiences and looking for stories all help create the feeling that you care.  It is this “caring” that creates rapport.  The more genuine you are perceived, the more believable you will be.  Your believability helps everyone listen and focus on the topic without bias.