Event Date: 06/03/2020 (2:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT)
Hi everyone and welcome to today’s webinar. My name is Sarah and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions, just type them into the question area on your GoToWebinar control panel, and we’ll answer as many as we can during today’s session. Today’s webinar is sponsored by HRDQ’s Reproducible Training Library. The RTL as it is known consists of 84 half-day soft skill training courses over 300 hours of high quality learning content. Each course includes instructor-led classroom and self-study versions, and a new virtual instructor led version is now being added for each course. The RTL, it’s downloadable and customizable learning. Learn more at www.hrdqstore.com/rtl.
Our presenter today is Bob Lucas. Bob is an internationally known award-winning author of 39 books and compilations. He is also a learning and performance expert who specializes in workplace performance-based training and consulting services. Bob has been listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, and Who’s Who in the South and Southeast multiple times. He has over four decades of experience in human resource development, customer service, and management in a variety of organizational environments. In 1995 and 2011, Bob was president of the Central Florida Chapter of the Association for Talent Development, and served in most board positions for three ATD chapters during his career.
During the past 40 years, Bob shared his knowledge with workplace professionals from hundreds of organizations such as Webster University, AAA, Orange County Clerk of Courts, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, the US military branches and Wachovia Bank. Bob also provided consulting and training services to numerous major organizations on a variety of workplace learning topics. Thank you Bob for joining us today.
Well, thanks Sarah. I appreciate the sponsorship by the way, and looking forward to working with this wonderful group we have here with us. I want to thank all of you for listening in today. I know that takes time out of your schedule to do something like this. We’re going to be going on a brief journey through the exciting realm of brain-based learning and I know that in this unprecedented and traumatic period in our history, that learning is probably not the most important thing on many of your minds, but like many of you, I’m a lifelong learner and have found that by spending time to do continuing learning and to stay focused, build new skills in trouble times.
Actually, while I’ve been here at home and confined, I found it a comforting distraction to do some research and get ready for this seminar for you folks. Thank you for allowing me to do that to give me a nice distraction. As you heard, I’ve been involved in adult learning for over four decades, written 39 books, seven of which are focused on adult learning strategies and brain-based learning processes. During my career, I’ve witnessed a lot of changes in a profession as many of you probably have. One of the things that I’d like to share with you today is a bit of the information about how we as learning and development professionals can better engage our learners.
The concepts that we explore as we go through this brief hour are going to be designed and/or have been designed, I should say to help you, to help your participants better gain, retain, recall, and use what they experienced, and isn’t that really the goal of us being training and educational professionals? I think that anytime we can do more to help accomplish our learning objectives and help our folks transfer back to the workplace into their life what they’ve learned is really what we’re all about. At least that’s what I’ve been about for 45 years, and I assume most of you probably are too. Before we go any further though, I’d like to do a quick Breck definition if we could of what brain-based learning is, just so we’re all on the same page.
It really gets down to what we know about how the human brain best processes information, and how we could apply that to a learning environment so that our participants can better gain, retain, recall, and use what they experienced. The challenge for many of the educational folks that I’ve worked with and the training and development professionals that I deal with on a regular basis is that the world has changed so much that the demographics have changed, that the delivery systems have changed.
It’s a constant struggle to keep up with some of these things, and the reality is that if we can apply some of the things we know about how the brain processes, it doesn’t matter how we deliver the training, whether it be in class, face to face, or whether it be over the Internet technology such as we’re doing here today. The strategies and the techniques that I’ll be talking about really can apply to any environment and help us in our goal to help meet learning objectives. As we go through this, I encourage you to jot down some notes.
Hopefully, all of you took the time to download the handout that I provided, the workbook and jot down notes as you go along because I’m going to be stopping a couple points and asking you to do that, but also asking you to take some of those ideas and transfer them to our answer section, so that we have an opportunity for everyone to see what you’re saying. One of the things I’ve provided in the workbook that I gave you starting at page 15, you’ve got a whole section of resources. There’s a couple articles there. There’s a listing of workbooks or books rather I should say, and websites that were you can gain additional information about brain-based learning, active learning, accelerated learning, whatever you want to call it, and that will be another resource for you.
I also provided you with a quick checklist or survey for you if you’re not familiar with your learning modality, your primary preference. You can quickly assess that after the session. You can also print that out and use it to assess your learners, and I’ll talk a bit about that more when we get to that section on learning modalities. At the end of the session, we’re going to have about five minutes for questions. If you’ll just hang on to those and post those at that point, then we’ll answer a couple of them while we’re online as well as much time as we have left, and any ones we don’t get to, I will answer in writing and Sarah will get those out to you as a followup to this program.
Everyone will have the questions that were asked by individuals, and they will also have my responses to that. Speaking of that, I’d like to it let you know that I am truthfully a resource for you. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. That’s in your handouts. It’ll be on a slide at the end of this, and there will also be some additional contact information on that last slide. You might want to take your cellphone out, so that you can take a photo of that slide information, so you can contact me if you have questions. If there’s anything I can do, I’d be happy to assist you in any way possible. Please do look at me as a resource. With that said, I’d like to take a few moments to give you a quick overview.
What we’re going to be doing during this session is to take a brief journey into brain-based learning I want to share some of the strategies and techniques that I’ve researched and written about in my books, and also some of the things I’ve used successfully in my four and a half decades as an internal and external learning professional. As we go through the session, as I said, one of the things that we’re going to be doing is looking at how the brain works, looking at how it processes, what that means you as a training professional. As we go through, again feel free to jot down questions that you’re going to ask and before we get started, I want to gather a little information so you know who’s in the group and I know who’s in this group.
Sarah, if you could start the poll. There’s a couple questions I’d like for you to respond to and that would help us out here so that as I said everyone has a good idea of who’s involved here.
Okay. We have the first poll launch. We’ll give everyone a few moments here to cast their vote. Great, and I will now share those results, and it should be up on your screen Bob.
I’m not seeing them.
Okay. Well, we have 37% baby boomers, 41% are generation X, 20% millennials, and 2% generation Z.
We’ll move on to poll number two here then and again, we’ll give everyone a couple moments here to cast their vote. Great. We’ll share those results, and that’s 43% non-technical, 8% technical, 40% both, and 9% said none.
As we move on to the next question here. Let me see the votes casting in. They’re rolling in here. Great, and we’ll share those results. We have 44% yes, and 56% said no.
Hmm, okay, great. Well, I guess what’s good thing we’re doing the session then.
The next poll fourth poll here, another yes/no question. We’ll give you a couple moments to cast your vote. Wonderful, and we have a 28% said yes that they have attended a training program on brain-based learning before, 72% said no.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Okay.
We’ll have one more here to ask you to answer, and we’ll give you a couple of moments again. Great. We have almost 100% that did not attend this 2016 webinars.
One percent had.
Okay. Well, thank you very much for doing that for me Sarah, and thanks all of you for your input. It’s always interesting to hear the types of backgrounds people have when you come into your session. Tied to that, I’d like to ask you a question, what have I just accomplished by having you engage in this short poll, and if you could respond to that.
Yes, so you can type your response into the questions box. We have a lot of responses coming through saying, engagement, you got them thinking, capturing their attention, involvement, paying attention.
Yeah, a lot overwhelmingly engagement.
Absolutely, I see that. Okay. Well, great because the whole purpose of an activity like that as you probably know is you want to engage your learners as early as possible, and you want to get them involved because that encourages them for future engagement. It also sets up the expectation that there’s going to be interaction and engagement, and that their input is welcomed and expected throughout the session. One of the challenges that I find in a lot of programs that I attend is that participants don’t feel invested in the session. They just sit there, and they take notes or they idly go through the motions, but there’s not a lot of engagement activities there. I think that something like this is very important.
It gives you an opportunity also something like this, a little assessment what we just did, to learn what your attendees needs are because that’s very crucial as you know. Too often, we fail to build in time to do a needs assessment for most of our training programs, and when that happens, we don’t deliver what that particular group is looking for or needs. I would encourage you to think about how can you build in something like this at the beginning of your session or even better, before the session starts. If you can get some information like that from your learners by sending out an email or some other contact form and that way, you’ll have an opportunity to gather some vital information to build your program around.
When I’m in a classroom environment, I often do the same type of activity using closed-in questions by using flip charts in different colorful inks. I put a colorful border around it. I put one question on each flip chart. I post them around the room, and as they come into the room, there’s a flip chart easel with a flip chart saying, “Once you’ve gotten settled, please go to each one of the flip chart pages and respond to the questions.” There’s a marker there and speaking of markers, if you’re going to do that activity, put an extra sheet of paper behind the flip chart page, and make sure you’re not using permanent markers.
Use water-based markers because it will go through onto the wall and that will not ingratiate you to the people who own that building, I’m sure. It’s a good technique though because people immediately start going to this the flip chart pages. They engage in conversations, start talking to one another while they’re waiting to respond, and then you could easily tabulate those, leave them up. Throughout the day, you can point to those as you’re making points in your session. Again, just another way to engage people and get them thinking because as we will talk about later on, motion movement and engagement is a crucial part of brain-based learning. With that in mind then, let’s move in and talk about some factors that impact learning.
There are three primary areas I’d like to quickly address. One is preconceived ideas or paradigms, another is the attention span, and the third is learning preferences or also known as modalities. Let’s take a look at these one at a time, and see how they play into the learning process into brain-based learning. First of all, preconceived ideas or paradigms and as you probably know paradigms, it’s not for nickels. It’s actually a word that means how you perceive the world, how you view things, and I find in my experience that a lot of times, trainers come with preconceived ideas about their learners and what they need, and that can inhibit learning.
It’s also a challenge for your learners because they come with preconceived ideas, or they come thinking that this session is going to be like another one I went to, and they may or may not be receptive. If you go into a training environment as a trainer with a preconceived idea that something is true or not true about your audience or about to content, or will or will not work, then your learners are probably going to not get the full benefit of your experience and your knowledge. Similarly, if they come with that, they’re going to probably not approach the learning with an open mind, and that’s going to create some challenges. I’d like to get you thinking a little bit about paradigms by having you do a little quick activity.
I’m going to show you three images on the screen one at a time. You have five seconds to look at each image, and I’d like for you to jot down in your workbooks on page three, what you think you see in this image. You’ll have again three images. Turn to page three if you would, and then we’ll go through these slides. Again, you have five seconds to see what you can see there, and then jot down what you think you saw. Okay? Here we go slide number one. Okay. Write down what you think you saw. Now we’re going to slide number two. Okay. Again, jot down what you think you saw, and slide number three. All right, we all saw three slides. Same slides should have been visible from everybody’s standpoint.
Now I want go through these slides one more time, and see what you think you saw. Again, going back to your question area there where you can respond, just jot down as we go through these one at a time, what you thought you saw on that slide. Here we go. Slide number one, what did you see in that slide? Looks like we see women, old men, two faces, and owls, two old people, a vase. A variety of things here, interesting. Isn’t that strange that we all see the same image, but we’re all seeing all these different things? Bluebird, interesting. Okay. All right. Let’s go to the next one then and see what we see here. Yeah, you get the old woman, the young woman, old man, girl in a hat, a lady, younger woman.
Wow, can’t keep us with these. Girl in a hat, man with a mustache, young and old man. It looks like we saw a variety of things there. Some people saw one thing, some people saw others. Some people saw two things. Okay, great, and let’s take a look at the third one in and see what you saw there. Okay. We got an optical illusion, optical and illusion, optical, illusion, optical, optical and illusion. Okay. Some of you saw one word, some of you saw two words. Right, great. Well, as you went through these slides, there were actually three slides that had different information on it. As you said here, if you look at the faces facing one another, you see an old man to the right, a woman to the left.
If you look very closely, you’ll see a man playing guitar with a sombrero on the right side in the face of the old man, and a woman with some pottery on top of her head on the left side. There’s also down at the bottom little owls and little people, and then if you look at the shapes between the two faces, there is actually a vase the light forms a vase. There are a lot of different elements going on there, and some of you caught a lot of them, and some of you caught one or two of them. This one here if you look to the right side, you see the nose of an old man and his right eye with some beret on and a mustache. If you go to the left side and look at the scope of the image, you see a younger woman who has the beret on, longer hair and some scarf around her neck.
Then this one if you look at the blue areas only, you’ll see the word illusion. If you look at the white letters only, you’ll see the word optical, so the two of them form optical illusion, which is what we’re looking at. Think about this little activity when you get back and start working on your own programs again. The human body is really a stimulus gathering machine. You got five senses where you continually gather information through millions of nerve endings, and these transmit the data to the brain for processing. At any given time, you’re taking in sight, sounds, smells, tastes, tactile messages. All of these are competing for priority or attention and are being filtered by the brain.
However, from what we’ve seen from various types of research, only about 1% of all these sensory signals ever reach the brain for processing and possible memory formation. That’s because they’re filtered out for one reason or another, and that goes back to our paradigms. What are our experiences? What are our beliefs or whatever? Because the brain is trying to figure out do I need this information? Is it important? How important is it? It’s making some quick decisions on what do I do with this information. Do I hold it in memory or do I discard it, or do I save it for later?
As we go through, looking at some of the issues, we’re going to take a look right now at the attention span and how that impacts our learning process because attention can be a fleeting thing as I just mentioned earlier from the statistics we see. There are a number of things that the brain looks for before it focuses on an item, and let’s go through those very quickly here. It is looking for items, I should say, that are unique, new, and unexpected, and each one of those has a different level of characteristics that can deliver that information. Let’s go through one of them at a time here.
The first one unique, something that’s unique means that delivery approach, the approach that you’re using as far as communication, or the movement you’re using, the interaction that you’re having with your audience, those type things make it unique. Think about in presentations you’ve been to in the past where a person really captivated you, that you just couldn’t wait for their next word. They really did deliver their information in a way that was unusual for you. Maybe you’d never experienced it before, or only slightly experienced it before. The brain looks for information that falls into that category. It also looks for things that are new, so that means you have to continually look for new research to present to your learners, and tie it in to your training.
It has to be information they’re not familiar with, or that you’re presenting in a way that they’re not thinking about in the past. Maybe a new paradigm for them that you’re trying to help them form. The third thing that helps the brain with this prioritization is that things have to be unexpected, and this grabs the brain’s attention. It could be a sound, the unexpected sound. It could be an image, and that sound by the way could be an inflection of your voice. It could be the way you enunciate certain words. It could be something that is external inside the environment that grabs people’s attention and focuses them. The images that you’re presenting verbally as well as physically in the room are going to be helpful.
If you show something that might say shocking or contradictory to what people might expect, then as long as it’s related to the content, it’s going to be valuable as far as helping the brain to prioritize this information and say, this is important stuff, I need to remember this. Actions that you take and that your learners take is another unexpected thing. You might have them move. You might have to get up and do some activity. You might have them focus on you. By the way, the gesture you’re using moving forward, moving back, engaging learners in a different way. Then any other stimuli that is unexpected, and that could be something in the environment.
We’re going to talk about the environmental stimuli here a little later, but all of these things combined help the brain say, “You know, that’s important. I’m going to commit that to my short-term memory, and I’m going to take a look at that.” Going back to engagement and some of the things we’ve been talking about at this point, let’s take another brief moment here and do another quick poll. If you would bring that up for me, Sarah, please. It’s just a quick question. Tell me how we’re doing on pace here.
Great, so we have that poll launched. We’ll give everyone just a couple of moments again here to submit their response.
Okay, a couple of you think it’s too fast, but you’re already even think it’s just right, and a couple of you think it’s too slow. Okay.
All right. Well, thank you for that input. I appreciate that. All right. Well, let’s move on then now that we have an idea of how we’re doing pacing wise, and I want to talk a little bit about environmental changes in the environment itself. There are so many things we can use from a brain-based learning standpoint to help grab attention, hold attention, and emphasize points to our learners. In your handouts, you have a little bit of information about this. I do entire workshops on just this alone on how to create a fun environment, a novel environment, how to engage people. We’re not going to be able to go into a lot of depth here, but I did want to bring it to your attention because it is an important element of the learning process.
Many times, we don’t experience things that could help us with learning when we’re a learner and as a facilitator, we don’t take advantage of some of the tools that we might have available to us. Let me quickly just run through a couple of these things, and talk about how you can use music, sound, light, motion, color, activity, smells, food, group activities, things of that nature to engage your learners and help reinforce the concepts you’re trying to teach. For example, sounds are very powerful. If you’ve ever been in a classroom and you heard someone outside the window going back and forward with a lawnmower, that sound usually attracts attention, and you see a lot of people looking out the window.
Similarly, the motion of that person moving up and down with a lawnmower will attract attention, which is why in your learning environments, if you’re doing classroom training, I always encourage people to close the blinds or to face their facilitative or their participant tables towards a wall away from the window, so they’re not seeing those things. It’s because any of these distractions you can minimize are going to help the learner, but it’s also going to help you on task because it gives you an opportunity to share that information appropriately and effectively. Colors, smells, those type things. Interesting about aromas, I don’t want to get too far into this, but there are a couple things that research shows stimulates the brain neurons, the smell of citrus and the smell of spearmint.
That’s why a lot of times when I’m doing a session, I’ll put orange flavored candies or spearmint, peppermint type candies on the table because when someone reaches and opens one of those and pops it in their mouth, not only do they get the smell which stimulates their brain neurons, but other people around them also get that little smell. It’s just a subtle way to introduce some things that can help stimulate the brain and possibly keep people alert, so that they are more receptive to the learning. Again, I’d encourage you to go through and research this. I’ve got a number of articles on my creative training blog. If you want to go look at those, that’s all your resource list.
You can check it out. It’s called the creativetrainer.com, and there’s a number of my books also address this, but these are things that if you can implement as many of these as possible into your session, you’ve got a better chance of keeping people alert, keeping their attention, and also keeping them engaged from a learning standpoint. Keep that in mind with attention because I want to go back to one element of that in particular because that’s an important one, and that is movement and engagement. Now this is not only your movement engagement. You’re moving back in and out of it the participant areas, getting close, moving back, managing the classroom like that, but it’s also the gesturing you’re doing
Are you doing it appropriately? Too often, I see presenters standing motionless. They’re standing behind the lecturer and in some cases, holding on to it like it’s a life raft, and any of you who’ve been doing this a while, know that that’s the kiss of death. It really does not project an image of engagement, and it doesn’t project the image of helping people and wanting to reach out to them. Look for ways to engage people. An insightful book called Brain Rules which is also in your handout materials as a resource provided some very interesting information. It was written by a molecular biologist, John Medina, and he provided 12 principles for surviving and thriving at work, home, and in the learning environment he said.
One of the more important things from a brain-based learning standpoint that he addressed was movement and exercise improves attention. It also improves long-term memory reasoning and problem-solving. Based on that, it would make a lot of sense to me that you want to engage your people in the classroom as often as possible, get them moving. Movement can be something as simple as asking a question and having them raise the hand, and be called upon because now by that physical movement of the arm moving up and down, it’s not a big thing, but it does cause the heart to pump a little bit faster, and that increases that flow of blood and the oxygen being carried to the brain, which makes the brain more alert, more receptive to learning.
It’s also physical movement obviously is something you want to try to build into your training, and we’ll talk about that here in just a second. By physically engaging people, you create a situation where their attention is refocused and their blood supply is increasing, and those are good things from a standpoint. To emphasize this point, I’d like for us to try a little physical activity, and this is something you can do in your own classroom environments, or as you can see right now, we’re going to do it right here. What I’d like to ask you to do is to stand up, move behind your chair, and participate in this activity to your abilities and as well as you can.
If you’re not able to stand up, if you just slide your chair back away from the table to about arm’s length, that’ll work just as well. Okay. Is everybody up? I’ll see a few of you up. Up, everybody come on, get up, get behind your chair. All right. What I like for you to do is we’re going to do a little exercise called a crossover exercise, and from your position behind the chair, start with your feet slightly apart. Now bring your right hand out behind your head, and tap your left shoulder three times. Okay. Put that hand down, bring your left hand behind your head, and tap your right shoulder three times. All right. If you want to get real creative, put both hands behind your head and tap both shoulders three times. Okay.
Now let’s try something called figure eights. If you would extend your right arm to shoulder level in front of you pointing with your index finger. What I’m going to ask you to do is draw a large looping figure eight from your shoulder height down your weight, while you watch your index finger. Go ahead and draw that eight. Okay. You can put that hand down. Now to do the same thing with the left arm, extend it finger out, and repeat the process with your left hand. Do that figure eight. Okay. Now let’s try a little challenge here. Stick both arms out and draw a figure eight in the opposite directions. Internal inside or outside, whichever is good for you, make that figure eight with both fingers.
Okay. That’s a good one. Now let’s move to the next one which is called a human pretzel. What I’d like for you to do is stand with your feet crossed at the ankles, and make sure you’re close enough to your chair so if you lose your balance, you can grab it. Your feet are crossed at the ankles. I’d like for you to extend both arms straight out in front of you, take your right hand, cross it over your left, and grasp your hands together. Now slowly bring your clasp hands into your chest under your chin, and bow your head down and touch your hands with your chin. Now what I’m going to ask you to do is for 15 seconds, I want you to breathe in slowly and out slowly while holding this position. Ready? Go. Fifteen seconds.
I’ll tell you when 15 is up. Slow deep breath, in and out. Okay. Now we’re going to unfold the body by reversing those steps, extend your arms straight out in front of you, release the hands, and then lower your hands to your side. Okay. Everybody give yourself a clapping roar, clapping hands there. You did a good job. Have a seat if you would please, we’ll move on. Okay, so based on what you’ve learned up to this point about the brain, what have I just accomplished by having you engaged in this short one-minute physical activity? Jot that down in your workbooks on page six, and also if you’ll jot that into your questions section on the screen there. Okay.
Increase blood flow, pattern movement, engage the brain, got you moving, re-energized, movement, fresh oxygen, listening intently, thinking, absolutely, engagements, stimulated a brain, focus. All right, you’re right on track every one of you, good job. Again, that’s a quick activity when people have been sitting for a while or it seems like you’re losing them a little bit. You want to release the stress. You want to get them to concentrate a little bit bigger. Some of you said you want to get people up and moving, get that blood flowing, get people to a point where they are physically engaged in something, and then you can move on to whatever it is you’re going to talk about from that point on.
Again, you could build that into your training program, whether you’re doing in class or whether you’re doing a session such as we’re doing. Easy do. Okay, let’s go back to our last element, the factors impacting learning, and those are your learning preferences and modalities. You’ve probably all heard about learning modalities, so let’s explore these just a little further. This information that you see on the screen is from a book called Jump-Start the Adult Learner, and again that’s it your resource listing. It compiled some research studies from various sources and as you can see, based on the study and the situation that they were looking at, that most people in a learning environment are visual learners, 40% to 65% are visual learners.
The secondary most used type of modality is your kinesthetic, also called tactile learners, and that’s 25% to 30% of your group. Your least represented group is your auditory learners, 5% to 15%. If you think about what this is telling you, it tells you that we need to use a number of visuals of different types. These could be visual aids. They could be photos. They could be slides. They could be images. They could be your flip charts. They could be hand on products, where people are doing things, looking at things. Could be a book. It could be a workbook. Any numbers of visual products could be used to help these people gain as much understanding as possible from your content.
Kinesthetic learners, get them up moving and again, this could be moving them to a different area. Whenever I’m doing workshops, I use random selection techniques. I’ll put a prop that represents the topic we’re talking about. For example, if I were doing this session in a classroom, I would have either foam squeak stress ball squeeze brain type things, or I would have little rubber erasers of the shape of squeezed brains. I would have those randomly put at tables when people come in and then throughout the day, when I want them to break into a group, I would break them by saying, “Okay, if you have a yellow brain, you move to this table over here. If you have a blue brain, you move over there, et cetera.”
I put them in different areas of the room, and then I have them move physically. I break up the group they started with and I have them move to different groups to work in different activities throughout the day. Again, it’s just a way to introduce color because they’re colored items, they’re novel items, they’re fun items, and they’re something that the tactile learners really like because they get to play with them and manipulate them during the day. In the auditory learners, you want to think of ways to engage them. You can do audio tapes. You can do a visual video type thing that has audio. You could have people stand up and share stories. You can share information.
There’s a variety of ways to do that obviously. I just wanted to share those with you. Again, don’t want to go into too much depth there, but it’s a very important factor when you’re considering your design. One of the things, and the reason I gave you that little survey in your handout to use is most people have a primary and a secondary style. If you’re not aware of what your primary style is, you may tend to do too many of those things that you like to do. Say if you’re an auditory learner, you may spend a lot of time talking. If you see these numbers, you see that auditory learners are not the primary audience there. You want to make sure when you’re building your training programs, you’re not teaching to your style.
You’re teaching to their style, which is why you do the survey upfront and you do other ways of finding this information out before and during your session. With that said, let’s move on to a very important piece of information, and that is how do you make memories. Before I do that though, we got one more poll here. If you could start that for us Sarah, I just want to get an idea of what I’ve got in the room here. Visual, auditory, or kinesthetic and unknowns. If you don’t know what it is, just put it there, and I know some of you are going to say, “Well, I’m both visual and whatever,” but typically we lean one way or the other.
Great. There are a couple-
… moments here as I see the results streaming in.
Wonderful. Looks good…
Looks like these numbers validate what we just saw on the screen, visual learners primary, secondary is kinesthetic, and auditory is small. I wanted to do this to make it visual to show you this is not just something somebody wrote about in the book. This is you. This is an average group. If you can recognize this and you can identify this, it’ll help you in your training classes when you’re delivering your training. I just suggest to you that maybe it’s a tool you want to put your toolbox and use. All right, let’s move to the next phase of this, which is about memory because memory is so important obviously. One of the things that I try to remind myself when I design learning events is that the human brain has a limited capacity to retain information in short-term memory.
Depending on the study you read and the situation involved that they were taking a study around, the average adult attention span is about 10 to 18 minutes. You’ll see people say, “Oh, it’s 15 minutes or oh it’s 12 or whatever.” Well, yeah it is, but it depends on the situation, it depends on the environment, it depends on the person’s receptiveness in that environment. A lot of things come into play, but if you use the gauge 10 to 18 minutes, use some kind of activity, some change of pace, introduce a different environmental stimuli like we talked about earlier, use some other attention gaining strategy throughout your session, within 10 to 18 minutes at least.
That doesn’t mean you can’t do it more often, but don’t go to like 30 minutes and not have people move or answer questions or use their keyboard or write something in their workbook. Keep them engaged because that short-term memory is very fleeting. The slide you see in front of you, seven bits of information plus or minus two. This is an old study done in the ’50s. Ma Bell who used to be Bell communications, the predecessor to AT&T for those of you who remember who’ve read the history. When they were trying to figure out okay, what’s the best length for a phone number, they went to this guy, Roger Miller, who was a Harvard psychologist and asked him that question, and he did research.
Based on his research, and this has been validated by many other studies since in by the way, but seven bits of information plus or minus two. We’re talking five to nine bits of information is a good area to be in. Seven is best, but you can go a couple above or a couple of below and still accomplish your goal, and not overload to short-term memory, but look for ways to build your information using this knowledge of how much to use or to present to your learners. One of the easiest ways to keep in this parameter if you will is to use something called chunking, and some of you are probably familiar with this. Chunking is nothing more than taking information, breaking complex or lengthy information into smaller digestible chunks and feeding it to your learners.
This will present brain overload. This will present people from getting stressed out and frustrated. It’ll also help because they’re able to retain information in their short-term memory before their brain decides do I need that or do I discard that. Let’s look at an example of how chunking might work. This is not a classroom example, but I think you can all relate to this. Assume that you’ve got a shopping trip to make, and there’s a list here that you’ve got.
I keep a blackboard or a whiteboard rather on my refrigerator, and we use a marker to write down things as we’re needing them, so that when I go to the store because I do all the grocery shopping, I can look up there and I can either write myself a list or if it’s a short amount of items, I can just stand there and memorize it for a few minutes or a few seconds rather. Then I can go to the store and I can remember it. If I have a list this long, it would be very complicated. Chances are I’d write it down because I’d forget. However, if you categorize these things by chunking, remember we said seven items plus or minus two, my suggestion and my experience as a trainer for almost five decades, is I find three to five bits of information about as much as a lot of people can tolerate.
I would keep it in that range, but again research shows you can go all the way up to nine, but that’s stretching the memory there. What I do if I’m going to the store is I will put these things in categories. I’ll say, “Okay, I’ve got four vegetables to get, three dairy items, and five canned goods.” I’ll stand there and I’ll study the list. I can pretty much as a visual learner go to the store, close my eyes and say, “Okay, I need to go to the vegetable aisle first.” I go there and I can look at items, and I remind myself what I saw. I do this because sometimes, I lose my list between the time I leave the house and the time I get there. I don’t know how that happens, but I do.
Every once in a while, when that happens and there’s a lot of items, I do have to call my wife and grovel a bit and say, “Yeah, I’m sorry. I lost my list. Can you go in the kitchen and tell me what everything’s on the list?” Again, this would work in your classroom environment as well. Chunk things by three to five items, so that people have a better chance of remembering and recalling. Here’s another piece of that chunking. I said use three categories to five. There’s a rule of threes. Basically, this means you break things into three categories, and that’s what I’ve just done with the example I showed you. There were 12 items, and I put them into groups of three that had less than five items in them.
I’m using this chunking process personally, but you can use it in your classroom. Let’s take a look at some common examples you probably experienced every day and never thought about them. Social Security numbers, break them into chunks, three groups. You’ve got nine there which is the maximum we could go based on Miller’s research, but it’s easier to remember by using the chunking technique. Same thing with phone numbers, same thing with birth dates. You can either use October 25th, 2010 or you can do 10/25/2000 if you’re a numbers person. As an author and a publisher, I know that most successful book, the maximum words that a book title should be is five words. Three is better.
Three to five words in the title is very effective if you’re grabbing people’s attention because they see it, they can compute that. Then if they’re interested, they look at the subtitle of the book. Also with presentations we use this rule of three. We have introductions, body and conclusion, and trainings and presentation programs. I don’t know how many of you do impromptu presentations, but there is a technique using this rule of threes that could make you look like a virtual genius about any topic. I’ve done this in classrooms, and people throw things out like space technology. I have no idea about space technology other what I’ve seen on TV or some articles I’ve read, but I can use them one of these techniques, and I can stand there and talk for several minutes like I know what I’m talking about.
For example, past, present, and future. Say somebody said, “Talk a little bit about space technology.” Now so that’s an interesting topic. You in the past, we didn’t know a whole lot about space, but over the decades, we’ve developed technology to help us learn things. Then back in the ’60s when we were started putting flights up into space where we put people in the space, we could actually do research and find out things we didn’t know before. Now we’re at a point where we just launched people back to the space station for the first time in the United States, so we’re back into that space race.
We’re going to learn a lot more in the future about that, and that brings us to the future, which is many of you probably know that our ultimate goal is not only to go back to the moon in this country, but also to go to bars and set up and establish on that planet. Again, I don’t know anything about space technology, but I can BS my way, if you excuse the term, through the process. You could do the same thing by using any of these things. You just start with, “Well in the beginning, there was this and in the middle of a project, we learn this and by the end, we had figured this out.” Same thing with these others. The rule of three is very helpful tool for you as a trainer, but also for your learners to help them remember things.
Speaking of this rule of three, you probably don’t realize this, but I’ve been using that throughout the session. We’ve talked so far about three factors of effective learning. We did three optical illusions. We did three ways the brain process and information through prioritization, and we talked about three learning modalities. We just talked about the rule of threes. It’s an effective technique, and you may want to think about it because what I’ve exposed you to is a lot of ideas and concepts, but there are things that could be overwhelming if I tried to give everything to you and a whole bunch more so which is an introductory session as I said earlier.
Throughout this session and going back, you’ve seen visual things in images on the screen and information on your handouts. You’ve heard things that I’ve talked about. You had opportunities to mentally review information in order to respond to the questions that I’ve posed to you, and you’ve been given an opportunity to write notes in your own words. There’s one more material review that I’d like to ask you to do, and that is to have you list in your answer section there again, one idea that you’ve experienced in the session that you might immediately go back and start applying in your own training. Once you’ve put it on the screen, if you go back and put that in your workbook so that later on, you remember that that’s one of the things you want to start doing.
All right. A lot of different things coming up that we’ve talked about, polls in the beginning, utilizing movement, participants, memory, aromas, polls. People like the polls it looks like. Engaging participants throughout, chunking information, getting up, absolutely. Okay, great. Don’t forget to write those in your workbook there, so you’ll have an opportunity to go back and review them later because if you’re like me, you’ll go back and with all intents, you’ll say, “Yeah, I’m going to go back and start doing some of this.” You get back there and you get very busy with everything you’re doing, and working and working on a training program, and doing other projects, and all of a sudden, you forget about it.
Then you finally do get around to go back to the handouts and say, “You know, I was going to do something. I don’t remember what it was though.” In summary then, what I’d like to leave you with is that the question, why should you care about brain-based learning? Why does it matter? I would go back to when we were all children, and then some of you have children now. For years, teachers have used games, toys, music, stimulating environments to teach kindergarteners and elementary school students. That’s where we learned all our basic skills of life if you think about it. We learned about skills like interpersonal communication and teaming and problem solving, decision making, how to manage time and resources.
We did all that stuff, and where we doing it? We were in the dirt, we were screaming, we were laughing, we were playing, we were having a lot of fun. My theory is that somewhere along the line, as we got into high school and college, we got that drilled out of us. They sat us in rows. They talked at us for endlessly, and they wrote things on boards, and then they tested us on “our knowledge.” If you’re like me, I really struggle with that. I was not a good student because I didn’t understand a lot of things they were doing because they weren’t engaging me. They weren’t tapping into my kinesthetic. I missed a lot of things, so those tests were real struggle for me. Some of you may be able to relate to that.
Anyhow, the exciting part about applying some of this brain-based learning concepts is that you can regenerate that enthusiasm in your learners. You can use a variety of music. You can use a smorgasbord of color in different ways, caricatures. You can do magic tricks that tie to your learning. You put toys on the table for manipulatives for the kinesthetic learners that relate to your session. All kinds of creative possibilities that I encourage you to do that. With that in mind, I’m going to open this up and ask you what questions you might have that I can answer. If you’ll just go ahead and start typing some in. Again, we probably don’t have time to answer all of them, but I will collect these.
I promise you I will write your responses, and I’ll get them to Sarah, and she’ll send them out to you in the next week to two weeks. I promise to do that.
Great, yes. If you just want to type your questions into the questions box, and then Bob, we probably have time here to answer one question.
We could do that shout out to the audience, and then we can wrap things up for today.
Okay. I see somebody’s asking about the reference list. It’s in your handouts and it is on page… Bear with me a second. Page 19 is your resource list, and then from page 15 on is all things we didn’t talk about, but things that could tie in to what we said, as well as give you some additional ideas.
Great, and I think we could conclude here with this one question from Teddy, and Teddy would like to know if you could make some suggestions regarding attention getters in a virtual environment.
Attention getters. If you want to wake people up, use a noise maker to get their attention. If you want to engage them, we’ve already used some things here. We’ve used the question/answer thing. We’ve used the polling. We’ve used the opportunity for you to get up and move. It’s a challenge for the technical side. I’ll give you that, but some of the techniques as you’ve experienced, and that’s why I built them into this, I want you to experience them to see they do in fact work. There are some excellent books out there on technology-based training, and I don’t know that I’ve listed those in your materials. With that question, I’ll remember to remind myself when I go through these questions, that I need to go out and see if I can find some resources tied to this, that I could list for you. Good question though.
Wonderful, and that will conclude-
… today’s session. Thank you Bob.
My pleasure and if I could just have the group, since training is a team activity, if you will read along with me as a team, as a group verbally, and just shout it out since nobody’s around you maybe. If there are, maybe whisper it, but read what you see on the following slides for me please. I’d like to thank every one of you for taking your time to come out. I hope you got some good information that you can go back and start using. I’d love your feedback. You’ve got all my contact information. Take a shot of this slide with your cameras, I suggest it. Use me as a resource. I’m sincere about that, and I’m semi-retired at this point. All I do is write books and do presentations.
I’m usually sitting here at my desk. If you have a question, just in the subject line, remind me who you are. Just put question from the energizer training webinar, and that will prompt my thinking of who you were. I won’t think it’s spam and if it goes to spam, then I can catch it there and not miss it. All right. Well, thank you so much, have a great afternoon, and we hope to share some more information with you again later.
Yes. Thank you again Bob for such an information field webinar today, and thank you to our sponsor, the Reproducible Training Library from HRDQ, providers of downloadable and customizable courseware, wow with a new virtual instructor-led version. Learn more at www.hrdqstore.com/rtl, and thank you all for participating in today’s webinar. Happy training.
So much changed in what we know about effective learning strategies since Malcolm Knowles published his theory on andragogy in the 1970s. Since then, researchers and scientists who specialize in neuroscience and adult learning have made amazing discoveries into how the brain functions and processes and retains information. The breakthroughs in medical technology have been invaluable in this exploration. Technology unlocked insights into previously unknown facets of the brain. These inroads made it possible to consider different applications of the research and transfer what has been learned about cerebral functions into classrooms and other learning environments.
In Energize Your Training: Using Brain Research to Enhance Your Learning Events, internationally known award-winning author, trainer, and presenter Bob Lucas will share proven ideas and strategies for effectively engaging learners and positively impacting learning outcomes. His goal when delivering information is to help participants actively gain, retain, recall, and use what they experience. He gained his knowledge through over forty years of training adults in a variety of settings with participants and students from around the world. He delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations on the content of this session. Additionally, he has written seven books on creative training and hundreds of articles on brain-based and adult learning topics.
During this session, you will be actively exposed to information and strategies which can be immediately applied in your own training and presentations. These approaches are easily transferable to virtually any training topic to help engage participants by incorporating brain-based research. Some of the techniques you will experience involve the use of learner engagement, environmental elements, novelty, repetition, activities, fun, color, and images.
Access the handouts for this webinar here.
Attendees will learn:
- How to develop and deliver learning events that actively engage and stimulate your participants.
- How to deliver training using brain research on how to activate brain neurons and reinforce memory.
- How to transfer some of the techniques and strategies encountered to your own learning events so that participants are better able to gain, retain, recall and use what they learn.
- How to create an enjoyable environment in which participants play an active role in their learning.
- How to identify research and resources from which you can gather additional information and materials that will make your training initiatives more effective.
- How to add a bit of sizzle and excitement to their learning events.
Who should attend:
- Managers and team leaders
- Organization development professionals
- Human resources managers
- Management consultants
Presented by: Bob Lucas
Bob Lucas is an internationally known, award-winning author of 39 books and compilations. He is also a learning and performance expert who specializes in workplace performance-based training and consulting services. Bob has been listed in Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the South & Southeast multiple times and has over four decades of experience in, human resources development, customer service, and management in a variety of organizational environments. In 1995 and 2011, Bob was President of the Central Florida Chapter of the Association for Talent Development (ATD) and has served in most board positions for three different ATD chapters during his career. During the past 40 years, Bob has shared his knowledge with workplace professionals from hundreds of organizations, such as, Webster University, AAA, Orange County Clerk of Courts, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Martin Marietta, all U.S. military branches, and Wachovia Bank.
In addition, Bob has provided consulting and training services to numerous major organizations on a variety of workplace learning topics. On a personal note, Bob has lived, traveled and worked in 70 different countries and geographic areas and currently writes a cruise blog www.cruiseratheart.com. His website is www.robertwlucas.com. He also has a creative training blog – www.thecreativetrainer.com and a creative training Linkedin group with over 3200 members. He also publishes a customer service blog – www.customerserviceskillsbook.com and a nonfiction writers blog – www.robertwlucas.com/wordpress.