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Learning without Lectures * questions & contributions

I appreciated everyone’s participation and questions during last week’s HRDQ-U/Trainers Warehouse Learning without Lectures webinar. As you’ll recall, we talked about lots of ways to incorporate 6 brain principles in your training – and to let that guide you in terms of creating learner-focused training – movement tops sitting; talking tops listening; writing tops reading; images top words; shorter tops longer; different tops same.

When we began discussing ways to enable participation, the group offered tons of suggestions. As promised, I wanted to share these rich tips with you. I’ve taken the liberty to organize and categorize all the ideas, but have included only minimal editing, as needed for context.

Finally, at the bottom, I’ve answered additional questions that arose during the webinar. You’ll find the webinar handout notes here.

Community ideas

On Games & Quizzes

  • I have the students create a quiz from the concepts they learned.
  • Students love “Kahoot.”
    • What I love about GAMES: They open the emotional communication between instructor and learners, or in the learners when it is a group game.
    • I love Thumballs!
    • We’ve used a version of “Who wants to be a Millionaire’ since it is multiple choice and allows the ‘player’ to ‘poll the audience’ and/or ‘phone a friend’ in class. That keeps the entire class engaged during the activity. A new player takes over with next question if player answers incorrectly.
    • Have students toss the ball to the instructor with a question they may have.
    • BINGO GAME – thanks to Terry Lablache for this one!   My 4-day session has about 30 topics. With the help of this BINGO game, everyone stays engaged. Here’s how it works:  Distribute your list of topics, organized NOT in the same order as how you will present them. Have participants fold a sheet of paper in half, then quarters, then eighths. Ask them to review the list of topics and select 8 that most pique their interest. Have them write their “picks” in each of the 8 sections. As you proceed, they can mark down the topic when you cover it. With this activity, everyone is watching and paying very close attention to what is happening in the session.  The first person to shout BINGO once their sheet has been filled in with the numbers wins a prize.
    • I use a koosh ball to select the person to answer – a little gaming thrown in!
    • For brainstorming—only speak when you have the ball

On Participation

Gosh, we had so many ideas on participation tips and techniques. So many so that we should probably dive in even deeper next time. Until then, here’s what the group came up with in a matter of just a few minutes.

Before you even start…

  • Explain there are no rights or wrongs.
  • Create a safe environment where it’s okay to be wrong.
  • We set group norms and encourage a safe and brave space.
  • Set the Las Vegas rule – what happens here stays here.
  • Use icebreakers and warm-ups to get people accustomed to participating.
  • Disclose your own vulnerabilities.
  • Encourage participation before class.
  • I find that the first 5-10 minutes of a session to be critical . . . if it’s only us talking, then the norm gets set that facilitator speaks and they listen.    Make sure to set a different norm by getting them talking in the first few minutes.

Question formulation

  • Request a response that isn’t intended to be right or wrong, but to help the group jointly consider and discuss… so they group can collaborate on finding an answer.
  • Formulate easier-to-answer questions: – how do you feel… / according to you…

Facilitation techniques

  • Move about the room so people can’t “hide” from participating.
  • Use breakout rooms, so small group work to encourage all to participate.
  • Ask them to think, then write their answer down, then share (Think, write, share)
  • Sometimes giving more pause as we wait for response.
  • Some people take a little more time to give their input.
  • Offer different ways to participate.
  • Ask for absurd answers to expand the range. All answers are safe.
  • I’ve given 3×5 note cards for students to respond to / give time for people to write out answers, then call on them, so they’ve had time to consider their answers.
  • Repeat and/or write down questions so the questions can be fully considered.
  • Making ‘Pass’ a totally acceptable answer if I call on someone and they haven’t formulated an answer.
  • Have the phone a friend option – invite participants to ask another student, or the group, for help.
  • Pair partners, then have the other person share what their partner said.
  • Let the person answer who answered the question, pick the next person to answer.

Carrots… (reward-based enticements)

  • Make a competition — “southern division has answered the last three questions. What about the northern division folks?”
  • Give a nickel for every time of participation – a dime for every time they catch me in an error and prize to the one who has the most at the end.
  • Give Candy or Amazon Gift Cards
  • I’ve given a card from a deck of playing cards for participation; who has best hand of cards gets a prize.

Responding to right or wrong answers from participants

  • Say they asked a GREAT question.
  • Acknowledge and compliment comments.
  • Affirm responses, even if they’re not right… / I’m glad you said that because…
  • Reply to responses with “Yes, and…”
  • Find something in the answer that was on the right track.
  • Ask: Does anyone have a different way to look at this…
  • Show respect for each answer.
  • Acknowledge all responses whether right or wrong; avoid qualifying responses – wonderful,

Other ways

  • I find games with teams to be better for shyer participants than games played as an individual.
  • Incorporate games that all can play by selecting each other to participate.

Facilitation/Participation tips for online/remote training

  • Zoom can do polling.
  • We use annotation in Zoom meetings.
  • Google JamBoard is easy to use.
  • Microsoft Whiteboard is built into Teams meetings, too. Lots of templates
  • Padlet is a good tool for this too.
  • Use Mentimeter to allow people to answer anonymously.
  • To promote online participation, encourage use of “private messaging.”
  • Use CHAT functions to promote discussion and sharing.
  • Use BREAKOUT ROOMS to promote small group discussion and sharing.
  • Give “virtual prizes” for online participation – kudos, applause, flowers, virtual candy, fireworks explosion…
  • I use the icons when delivering online i.e. clapping of hands or thumbs up.
  • Remote: my producer tracks frequency of participation. Then we have a prize for the most active.
  • We do a wheel of prizes during remote training.
  • In virtual, I will rename a person and put a smiley face next to their name. As people start to see others getting a smiley face, they want one too and so they start to participate.

Community Questions

How does the concept/method of “story telling” fit into Learning without lectures?

It’s true that storytelling can involve a lot talking, but unlike lecturing stories include emotion, storyline, and sometime a moral.  In terms of our 6 brain-based learning principles, I put storytelling in the “Different tops same” category. Stories are incredibly effective when they touch people’s emotions and bring nuance and memorability to your content.

What do you do when you are allotted 15 minutes for a hefty/weighty topic?

In your planning, focus first on essential “Need to Know” information and strip out everything else. Consider what strategies will make that information most meaningful and “sticky” for participants. If your topic requires interaction and discussion, you might want to discuss your time needs with the “powers that be,” so you can do the topic justice. Also consider splitting your material into multiple sessions. Consider the power and impact of TED Talk, which limit presentations to 18 minutes. Memorably, David Christian shared a talk on the History of the World in just those 18 minutes.

I don’t fully understand the “Different tops Same concept.”

Habituation is a psychological concept that says humans experience diminishing physiological or emotional responses to frequently repeated stimuli. In other words, we stop noticing stuff that’s become familiar, like the junk in the corner or picture on the wall. Instead, we are drawn to what’s new. I would venture to guess that it’s an evolutionary trait. If we knew we were physically safe in the current situation, our ability to quickly focus on anything new, would help us to continue to stay safe in changing environments. The lesson for trainers is to keep changing our strategies so that learners always have something new to focus on. We should shift gears frequently, moving from an exercise, to activity, to discussion, to story, to explanation, to break, to Q&A, to game, etc.

What “Movement” practices can be done during vILT?

Take a brain break or incorporate movement in one of your learning exercises. Ask participants to:

  • Stand and stretch, TrainersEXCHANGE has a whole bunch of physical breaks that can easily be implemented during a virtual learning session.
  • Go to their kitchen to get a glass of water.
  • Find an object in another room that reminds them of a concept just discussed.
  • Have them write a note and then go stick it on their refrigerator or wall.

How do the principles of images top words apply to classes that must be accessible to visually impaired students?

Consider that an image can either be a printed/flat photo or a situation that you describe. Remember that image and imagine come from the same root. So, you might say: imagine a tall stack of stack books, long soft hair, the smell of the city after a rain shower, a favorite aroma, etc. Instead of relying on a photograph, request a sound, touch, or small that learners can relate to a learning point or memory.

Is there an extra cost for the tools mentioned Miro, Mural, Zoom whiteboard?

As with many SAAS programs, you’re likely to find a free version with less functionality. Then if you want more features or more users, you will have to pay. Here’s a link to Miro’s pricing structure, as an example.

Can Miro be added to Google Classroom?

Here are the details on integrating Miro with Google Classroom.

Wouldn’t interruptions make a learner agitated and decrease their learning on the focused task?

You would think this . . . and perhaps you wouldn’t want to overuse this technique, but the research says that interrupted tasks are most memorable. This is referred to as the Zeigarnik Effect.

Any thoughts on if it is a hybrid type (some in person, some virtual)

Hybrid certainly creates it’s own challenges. I’d consider each activity and think about ways to maximize the experience for each group… then consider ways to tie the two together. I think you really have to break it down by segment/activity.

What kind of research has been done with ADULT LEARNING – such as what we do in our companies and agencies – not just what kids do in schools K-12 or college – which is different.

I’m always on the lookout for data supporting the use of active learning strategies in corporate environments. When I find studies and data that I feel are helpful, I typically write about them and post them on my WorkSmart blog.

Any great games on conflict management?

Here are a handful I might suggest that deal specifically with negotiation and conflict resolution. In addition, there are games where teams need to build a tower or create a structure. Instead of giving teams all the parts they need, facilitators make it necessary for competing teams to share resources. Great conversations can come from these.

Many Thanks!

Once again, I want to thank everyone for their contributions during the Learning without Lectures webinar. Given the platform, which limited interaction, it was a tall order to present and facilitate a highly interactive, participatory session. With everyone’s help, I think we can say, we did it!

1 thought on “Learning without Lectures * questions & contributions”

  1. Debbie McNulty says:

    This is awesome! I was not able to attend the session so THANK YOU for these notes.
    I am the Leadership Education Coordinator for the Kiwanis District of Florida and I will be sure to pass on many of these “gems” to my trainers.

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