Tip #130: MTM: Trainer Behavior Decisions

Trainer behavior is concerned with what the trainer will do to facilitate learning. The use of relevant examples can ensure that learning occurs more quickly and is retained longer, because the example already has meaning to the learner.

According to Dr. Madeline Hunter, “If the examples have certain critical characteristics, positive transfer will more predictably occur and learning will be accelerated.” To produce effective examples:

1. Identify the “essence” of what is to be learned. This essence or critical attribute is that which makes something what it is; no other thing has that particular attribute or set of attributes. Examples of critical attributes:

  • Mammals possess mammary glands and hair.
  • A pledge is a verbal statement (written or oral) made to convince someone else that the pledger intends to do something.
  • “Persevere” means to make oneself continue doing something even though one is tempted to stop.

2. Use examples from the learner’s own experience. For example: a seal might be a more meaningful mammal than a cow for someone in Alaska.

3. Check examples to avoid ambiguity. It would be less confusing to begin a discussion of mammals with the example of a cow rather than a whale. Although whales are also mammals, the fact that they live in water like a fish can confuse the issue.

4. Avoid emotional or controversial overtones that can distract attention from the critical attribute. To introduce whales as mammals that are in danger of extinction can be distracting from the focus on mammals.

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