When delivering training sessions to adults take into consideration that adults often have many other concerns that they could be thinking about during this time. If they are not effectively engaged in your training session, they could “shut down” and direct their focus to those other concerns.
Below are ten tips on maintaining effectively engaged adult learners:
#1 – Start the Training Session with an Ice Breaker
Ice Breakers can be an interactive and often fun method of beginning a training session. By getting to know each other, getting to know the facilitators and learning about the objectives of the event, the adult learners can become engaged in the training session and are more likely to remain engaged throughout the session.
#2 – Body Language and Movement Around the Room
Make sure your body language communicates your enthusiasm for the training objective. Likewise, moving around the room instead of sitting in one place is an effective way of engaging participants.
#3 – Eye Contact
Eye contact can assist in conveying your message by enabling you to identify the participants who may be losing their attention to the session and to establish a connection between you and the participants.
#4 – Facial Expression and Confidence
Since our faces show emotions, opinions, and moods, it is important for you to maintain a facial expression that shows how enthusiastic you are about the course objective. Be aware also of how your face communicates your feelings about the participants and your role as their trainer.
#5 – Voice: Volume, Variety, Pace, Tone, and Clarity
Voices are just as unique as faces. While some vocal qualities are genetic, you can develop vocal habits that can be used to your advantage. Speak loud enough for all to hear but not so loud as to annoy the participants. Speak slow enough to be understood but fast enough to keep the learners engaged. Speak with confidence and enthusiasm to inspire.
#6 – Asking Questions and Leading Discussion
Asking effective questions allows you to ascertain what participants know both before and after information is presented. Questioning is also an excellent way to gain their attention and to invite participants to think, become engaged, and remains on task. This Instructor’s Manual provides you with many thought-provoking questions to engage participants effectively.
#7 – Asking a Question
When asking a question, pause and then, if necessary, repeat it. While awaiting a response, patiently allow time for the participants to think (usually 3-4 seconds); resist the temptation to answer your own question. Direct a question to the whole group. Don’t allow everyone else to avoid thinking about an answer by calling on one participant before you pose the question.
#8 – Awaiting a Response
If the group is having difficulty answering a question, rephrase it and move around the room, making eye contact as you await a response (usually 3-4 seconds). Allow a few hands to go up since the same participant is often the first to put his or her hand up. Then, if no one appears ready to give a response, call on someone and invite him or her to answer as well as possible, and then proceed to engage others in the same manner.
#9 – Reacting to Responses
Affirm acceptable responses and invite other participants to help if someone responds with incorrect information or has no response. Show enthusiasm for the responses so participants feel encouraged to respond to further questions.
#10 – Leading Discussions
Discussions are an important means of assessing participants’ understanding of a topic. The discussions promote active engagement in learning and allow the participants an opportunity to express themselves. Initiate discussions by asking questions that go beyond retrieving information and invite individual thoughts, opinions, and feelings. Invite more than one response to a question and then ask for reactions to the earlier responses. Occasionally summarize what you heard and invite more discussion. Encourage respectful listening and assure confidentiality.