As well as increasing the motivation to learn, there are many ways to make your sessions more interesting, enjoyable, and suitable for all learners. These ideas can be used for formal lessons, or for spontaneous learning opportunities that present themselves.
You can help the learning process by doing the following:
- Use pre-instruction questions – These can get learners to think about why they should be learning this new skill, as well as to appreciate the benefits of learning.
- Use conceptual models – These are often a useful way for helping learners to store and retrieve information. Mental models (which can be in the form of diagrams and charts) are often helpful for learning the details of a lesson.
- Vary the learning material – This will help you deal with all learning styles. Some of the systems we use for learning are as follows:
- Visual – Charts, graphs, or images may represent the idea being presented, as well as information in books or reports.
- Auditory – Lectures, presentations, and group discussions allow learners to ‘talk through’ what’s being presented.
- Kinesthetic – This is experience and hands-on practice that’s either real or simulated.
We all have our own preferred learning styles. If you provide as many different learning experiences as sensibly possible, you’ll be more likely to connect with each learner.
- Group learners of the same skills – Encourage learning and understanding by having people work with others who are learning the same skills. By helping one another, they can all reinforce what they’re learning. Everyone in the team will then benefit from the strengths of the individual members.
- Provide opportunities for reflection and thinking – Learning journals are a popular and effective way for people to write down their thoughts about how the learning process itself has been helpful to their overall development.
- Actively review the lesson at the end – What progress did the learners make, and what difficulties did they encounter? By revisiting the lesson, you have an opportunity to learn from the experience yourself – and hopefully, figure out how to improve the content or approach next time. A review also gives the learners an opportunity to analyze their performance and increase their commitment to continuous learning.
- Use all of your emotional intelligence and communication skills – This means establishing a connection with learners, listening actively, using empathy where appropriate, being patient, and showing genuine interest in the people and in your teaching. Your attitude toward learning has a huge impact on the learners’ attitudes, so make sure you’re a good role model for continuous, active learning.