Every human, animal, plant and nowadays even some machines have the ability to learn. So what is learning? Learning is the act of acquiring new, or modifying and reinforcing existing, knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. Researchers disagree on the attention span of a human. According to Statistics Brain, some think that most healthy teenagers and adults are unable to sustain attention on one thing for more than about 20 minutes at a time, although they can choose repeatedly to re-focus on the same thing, however, others disagree and state that a human attention span is as short as 8 seconds which is less than a goldfish.
Different people have different learning capabilities and pace. There are different learning methods. Some people learn better visually. Visual learning is a style in which a learner utilizes graphs, charts, maps and diagrams. Others learn better auditory. Auditory learning is a learning style in which a person learns through listening. An auditory learner depends on hearing and speaking as a main way of learning. So what are the best methods to keep employees/students engaged during the learning period?
1) Use their devices: Use traditionally known distracting devices as educational devices. This keeps them more excited making sure you keep it an engaging session and not a lecturing one.
2) Gamify your classroom: Use games as a source of learning and quizzing your employees’/students’ knowledge. This makes the learning process more exciting and engaging for all parties.
3) Learning ownership: Empower employees and give them ownership of their learning so they understand how important what they’re doing is.
4) Explain to them the bigger picture: Show them why it is important to take care of the intellectual health and what there is in it for them.
5) Be enthusiastic: Be positive, funny and active. Speak their language. If employees/students see you as a human being who is on their side and trying to help them, they’ll look at what you’re saying through a different lens and are more likely to actually pay attention.
6) Incentives: Give employees/students incentives to take a class and if successfully passing they would receive an award that can be either monetary or for example tickets etc.
7) Experience/opinion sharing: Discuss different topics. Take employees/students opinions. Allow a conversation/ ideas’ sharing session. Maybe even a competitive game session through splitting them into groups. This improves team work skills and which could motivate some employees/learners to stand out among their peers. This keeps the learner more engaged and excited throughout the learning session.
There are different learning methods that you can use to suite different learner types. However referring to the points above visual and auditory combined methods create the best learning methods which also leads us to emphasize on the importance of communication and interaction between the different parties to ensure the best learning outcomes. This might differ from one culture to another. So which of the above do you think is a suitable learning method for your organization?