Classroom learning for K-20 students is undergoing a number of changes, most of which are intended to engage learners, personalize learning experiences, and make it easier for educators to do their jobs. It may seem that there’s a world between the classroom and the training room, but with the right tools and learning environment, the benefits extended to students can also be made available to industry professionals.
Learners of all ages have a number of things in common, including:
- An increasing demand for technological resources
- The need to learn at a distance, as well as in the classroom
- Diversity within groups of learners, and a desire to include a number of learning styles
- Opportunities to use social media as part of education
- Greater emphasis on hands-on, applied learning
The final point on the list may not sound like a traditional approach to corporate training (i.e. reading or watching something and then answering questions about it), but it is one of the most effective ways to ensure that learners are actually processing training materials, and that they can use what they’ve learned. Undertaking corporate training should entail more than just showing up and checking things off a list.
Here are some suggestions for making learning for work more hands-on:
- Break larger lessons into a series of shorter lessons, each of which finishes with a specific problem to be solved or task to be completed. This helps learners avoid getting lost in large quantities of theory.
- Make assessment and evaluation meaningful by giving assignments that are based on real-life scenarios.
- Don’t shy away from group work. Being able to bounce ideas off others, even if it’s in a virtual environment, gives valuable context to learning.
- Include a variety of learning materials, including videos, case studies and reflective exercises. If learners can approach the material using their own learning style, they’re more likely to apply it to their own experiences.
- Enable learners to go back to and review the material, even after the training session has finished. They’re likely to need “refreshers” once they take their new knowledge back to the workplace.
- Make it possible for learners to ask questions and give/receive feedback as they work their way through training sessions. Just-in-time help can really help to solidify something abstract or theoretical.
- Find technological tools that make it easy for instructors to create engaging lessons.
Whether it's welding, human resources, or fashion design, providing the right learning conditions can help a team of workers get the most out of their training.
Amy Leask is VP of Enable Education and Communications Manager for Infinite Octopus.