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This is why you didn't learn anything from your last training session

Published on March 20th, 2017 by Scott Summers

Have you ever been on a brilliant training course and been blown away by the content and delivery but then when you get back into your work environment it seems almost impossible to recall anything.

Do you even wonder if the clever-clogs that was sat opposite you scribbling continually into their workbook is now actually putting it all into practice?

Well I can tell you that unless the four fundamental rules of training design and delivery have been followed then the likelihood of you remembering anything are going to be quite low. Never mind being able to implement your learning when you get back to the workplace.

The only way you can get valuable training to stick is by following these four simple rules.

1. Honey & Mumford’s Learning Styles.

The four learning styles are activist, reflector, theorist and pragmatist and the best training courses appeal to all four styles. So, if you are an activist then you are much more likely to engage with the part of the course that provides you with hands on experience. You will want to try out the new way of working as quickly as possible, preferably here and now in the classroom. If you don’t get that chance then what you have learned is a lot less likely to sink in. Look out for my blog on learning styles to find out more about them.

2. Sensory Preferences.

There are three sensory preferences which are visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. (We call them VHF: visual, hearing and feeling.) So, if you have a visual sensory preference then you ‘see to learn’. For example, a clear, eye-catching graphic or diagram will appeal to your preference and therefore will be something you are more likely to remember after the class has finished. If training material isn’t presented in a visually engaging way (e.g. dry blocks of text) then it’s unlikely to stimulate your senses and be remembered. Of course the same goes for the hearing and feeling preferences too and I’ll cover those in a later blog.

3. Kolb’s Learning Cycle.

A well designed training course provides adequate time for participants to process through the learning cycle. The full learning cycle consists of 4 stages. Experiencing, Reflect, Analyse and Plan. So you’ll complete an activity in the classroom, then you’ll be given time to reflect on what happened. The facilitator will help you analyse what you learned and then agree a plan on what to do the same and/or differently next time. Then you’re back round to experience again and this time you complete the activity by building in what you concluded from last time you did it. More on this another time too.

4. Role-play Practice & Feedback.

This is probably the most important part of any workshop and usually the bit most dreaded by participants. The moment the trainer asks – “Who wants to volunteer to try this out?” – everyone looks down! So we recommend that if you are invited up to participate in a role-play then it’s best to jump at the chance. It’s one thing to wallow in the theory or to deeply understand a model but it takes the learning to a whole new level when you get up onto your feet and practice the actual words or actions that will make the difference in your new way of working.

Next time you attend a training course try to see if the course has been designed with the four rules of training in mind. And if you get invited up to practice what you are learning in a role-play then be sure to put your hand up.

Finally, make sure you ask questions if you think of any because that will help the learning stick and of course everyone gets to learn more too!

I just wanted to say a big thank you for all your great teaching on the course Presenting with Confidence that you ran at St George's Hospital. I have found it so helpful when I have presented. It is the best course I have ever been on. Thanks again and I hope it's all going well and other people are able to benefit from your course.

Alice PFY2 DoctorNHS