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Powerful Learning and Training 8 keys to achieving optimum results By Doug McPhee


ver the last 30 years the best educators have observed certain principles in planning and executing teaching, training and facilitation. In what follows I discuss eight of these keys for engaging learners and enhancing learning. Each alone is valuable, and together they offer a philosophical foundation for learning and training programs. As an event planner, you may not be directly involved in educating attendees, but it is nevertheless important to be familiar with the best practices for do so. That will allow you to support those practices through the logistics of the session, and to better evaluate the performance of educators and speakers contracted for an event.


Limitless Capacity Acknowledge that all learners are capable. They have knowledge and experience when they join a class or training, and a limitless capacity for adding to that knowledge. The brain is an amazing organ with between 100 billion and 300 billion cells and well over a trillion connections. The brain never forgets what has meaning and makes sense.


Orchestrated Facilitation The challenge is to orchestrate learning so the brain will choose to remember, consolidate and integrate information. One approach to brain-compatible learning is to “chunk” information into bite-size pieces. Another method is to use metaphors, analogies and stories, which help to make new connections in the brain’s pathways. Those connections create dendrites, which hold learning together.


Personalization Adult learning is just like learning when we were children. It must be meaningful and engage us in the content. Personalizing actions, events and approaches is easier when you know your learners first. Build on prior knowledge and experience to engage everyone and acknowledge their competence. Involve learners in “real” work that applies their individual and collective knowledge. Students who have an opportunity to legitimize learning by applying it in their real world will succeed.


Congruent to Outcomes Make sure your words and actions match. Activities should always be aligned with intended outcomes. This goes back to the all-important planning aspect of teaching. Align all activities around the content with achievable, realistic outcomes.


Big Picture The brain looks for the big picture first, so plan lessons to include the overall context for learning. Situating the content in a broader context is part of “teaching for transfer,” the application of knowledge or skills learned in one scenario to another.

Facilities & Destinations 2017 fall / WINTER


Purposeful Spiral Look to provide a purposeful spiral — the revisiting of material already experienced and not yet mastered. Reviewing and discovering new applications (i.e., constructing new meaning) for knowledge enriches learning. Link the new learning with prior learning so that students create more connections.


Atmospheric Conditions Successful learning depends on the atmosphere. “Everything speaks,” as my good friend Bobbi DePorter, President of Quantum Learning Network, says. And it is true. Think about and create an atmosphere that combines the physical and emotional environments. Be conscious and intentional about what’s included in the room and its arrangement. The emotional environment is just as important as the physical space, so make it friendly. Leverage interpersonal relationships and humor, inviting all to contribute to the environment.


Change and Consistency Plan for change in the learning environment, but keep consistencies (e.g., rituals) over time. Both the reptilian brain (which likes stability) and the neocortex (which grows more dendrites with change) will be happy. A good lesson plan allows for spontaneity. There is great value in living in the moment.


Content and context are equally important in planning a learning program. While you are competent in the content, the methods of delivery and student engagement with the content are the most challenging parts of instruction. Context includes purpose, atmosphere, environment and design. Strong planning with congruent activities allows students to have choices that align with expected outcomes. Learn to reflect on your practice, modify your approaches and implement new ones. The most proficient trainers reflect on teaching and make changes with great intention. Seek to add one key element at a time to your learning presentations. This will enrich participant learning and success. Your goal for program delivery can be described as kaizen, a Japanese word that means small steps of continuous improvement. Making those small changes is necessary if you want to grow into better teaching models and practices. Doug McPhee, M.Ed, CMM, CMP, is Senior National Account Manager with Experient and consultant to Coast to Coast Consultare, Inc. An Experient team member since 2000, McPhee works with organizations to improve learning. His background includes consulting with corporations such as TJX Companies and Pfizer, as well as teaching elementary school. As a professional speaker and trainer, McPhee has presented to groups in the United States and abroad for over 35 years. McPhee has also served MPI in local and international positions, including President of the NENY MPI chapter, and has held the position of Chair of the Albany County CVB. 43

Facilities & Destinations - Fall/Winter 2017  

Cover Feature: Spectra Puts Industry Leading Ideas Into Practice || Inside: Small Market Review, 8 Keys To Optimal Learning, Caesars Reimagi...

Facilities & Destinations - Fall/Winter 2017  

Cover Feature: Spectra Puts Industry Leading Ideas Into Practice || Inside: Small Market Review, 8 Keys To Optimal Learning, Caesars Reimagi...