After over 20 years teaching in the high school, collegiate, business and non-profit sectors, sometimes a visitation to the roots of teaching is an eye-opening experience. Recently, my staff and I went to a seminar on putting the fun back into training. Fun in training? Yes, fun!
We took a trip through the ages of children from infants to about 6th grade. As infants our parents made learning fun by playing with our toes as they counted. As toddlers, we had all kinds of learning games to make learning fun. As kindergartners, we had fun through stories. However, as we got to be in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades, learning became serious business with classwork, homework and tests. We tend to let go of the fact that learning can be fun. Even as adults, we have a bit of a kid in all of us that craves fun.
What can we do to add some fun back into training?
- Play uplifting music. No one wants to walk into a quiet room. Keep the atmosphere energized.
- Greet students as they come in the door. Make students feel like they are welcome. This is a great opportunity to also get to know them a little. Sometimes the information you learn can be tied into classroom examples, too.
- Let the students do the work. Let them write on the boards, brainstorm together, come up with ideas/solutions, etc.
- Have toys available. Keep the busy-bodies busy. Give them things to keep their hands active and their minds on the topic.
- Keep note taking to a minimum. Some of us just love to take notes. Try to minimize or eliminate it by promising to give a handout with all the information at the end of the session. Keeping everyone engaged during class tends enhance learning and comprehension.
- Use a bright, colorful room. Have you ever taken a class in a gray, drab room and had the energy taken right out of you? A bright, colorful room does make a big difference.
- Wear bright colors. Wearing bright colors energizes your students just like the brightness of the room.
- Feed them. Food or candy is always a great energizer. It really helps with the tired time in the afternoon.
- Get a summary of the class from the students. Let each student have a say in what they are taking away from the experience. It’s a reinforcement of what they learned today
Of course, not all of the options will work in all training situation. Trying one or two new things could help us regenerate our training classes.
There are so many ideas of how to add the fun back into training. What are your ideas?