5 Proven Ways to Help Learners Remember Lessons – Tip #167

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Learner engagement is a constant challenge for designers and trainers. Learners are hounded by countless information media. So how do we help them recall, retain and eventually apply what they learn?

Ponder these ideas and see how it can help your learners:

1 Add Realism

Start with a recent story or current event that catches attention.
An example would be about the new Amazon Go store. No lines, no checkouts, no registers – no cashiers. The world’s most advanced “Just Walk Out Technology” has opened its first store in Seattle. So you ask,
“How does this affect you?”
Or how about the false missile alert that went off in Hawaii last January 13, 2018 that sent the entire island into panic mode?
This brings learners to a “now” and real event that can be associated with a lesson.
2 Have a Dinner Table Conversation

Have a human to human conversation with your learners.
Speak and write with candor – defined as the quality of being open and honest in your expression.
Many of our writings are so impersonal, we have lost the ability to be candid and direct with our learners. We have also been unable to talk with our learners as it happens in real life. We are perceived as superficial and not present because of our technical jargon.
Here are some helpful insights that I hope will help you build quality conversations with learners
  • Commit to build rapport with your learners, both with encouragement and guidance throughout your sessions.
  • Provide helpful positive feedback as you stir them into realizations.
  • Motivate experience sharing by using real-life examples.
  • Design thought-provoking questions to stimulate conversations.

As we recognize this challenge, we should seek to speak and write to learners as if they are having a conversation with you at the dining table.
We call this “dinner table” conversation – warm, candid and reality-based​.
3 Create the Big Picture Impacts

Framing is like helping the learners think with a big picture in mind. The disconnect with learning lessons, in a significant number of instances, is that the learner does not recognize the bigger perspective. The best way to do this is to always tell the learner how the lesson matters in relation to the bigger scale of things.
For example a 1% reduction in defect might be small, but if there are thousands of workers doing this it would be a total turnaround – extremely significant to the company.​

4 Let Them Do Something

It has been said time and again that practice makes perfect. But how do help our learners apply ideas?
Studies show that people/learners will not show the big projects as assignments during learning events,  but would do the small incremental ones.​
The SRIA Model of the Story-Based Design is a helpful tool for different types of learners.
SRIA™ Summary:
Set up – Why do I need to know this?
Relate – What exactly is this?
Interpret – What if I do it this way?
Apply – How can I use this in my life?
5 Allow Reflection

​Why is there a need to stop and allow our learners to reflect?
  • This provides meaning to the process one is engaged in.
  • You actually learn more when you reflect on what has been learned.
  • It automatically creates a story out of your own experience which your brain easily understands.

… allow silence
… allow a break
… allow the sharing of reflections
… allow the change their learning from new reflections

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”