The first time I participated in one of your training sessions, I completely rejected the idea of ‘playing’. Heaven forbid, I should have fun learning! I always consider the fun factor for my learners, why would I reject the idea for myself? Was I too mature for it? Would it make me look silly…less credible?
I forgot, too, that I never enter into a public speaking engagement without my “worry stone” in hand! Who was I kidding?
It didn’t take me five minutes to start swooshing that old Koosh ball from one hand to the other…swoosh, swoosh, swoosh! The rhythm coincided with the pace of the activity. The sound was as soothing as my mother’s heartbeat. The soft texture was comforting! I was hooked!
I remember, too, how we passed the ball to our teammates indicating our choice of “next” in many of our discussion assignments. It was great fun! We were kids again! We were playmates discovering our real personalities! It was a WOW!
But, don’t forget to mention a couple other things you do. I laugh aloud when I recall how we fought to jump to our feet with just the right response and win a candy kiss from your larder of goodies! We stashed them in our book bags and brief cases knowing that we would be taking them to our rooms in anticipation of midnight!
And, finally, we can’t forget the kites. Symbols to all of us that you were going to help us soar! And you always manage to take us to heights unimaginable!
Thank you, Julie, for getting to the heart of the matter, as always! We need to create an enriched, colorful, pleasant, enticing learning environment- draw our participants back to the time when all learning was new and wonderful and fun and play. Remember Robert Fulghum’s book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten?
So, when participants come into your training room, look at all the colorful items on the tables and walls, and say, “What’s this? Kindergarten?” the wise and loving trainer’s answer is “Yes! Let’s make sure today is as fascinating and fulfilling as your time in kindergarten, when you wanted to learn everything and enjoyed the process!”
Here is another wonderful testimonial about the use of “learning aids” from Nancy C. Anderson of Hennepin County, Minnesota! By the way, Hennepin County is comprised of 26 cities, of which Minneapolis is the largest.
“I’ve been training, full time, for the past nine years. We ALWAYS have “learning aids” on the training tables in our classrooms. In fact, we created a “travel kit” for our training offsite, so we can have toys at those classes, also. When I first started doing employee training (after being an college instructor), I took a 4-day Accelerated Learning workshop that gave us plenty of reasons (based on research!) for making sure we used the training aids, in particular for the kinesthetic learners. We always explain that before each class, and we’ve never had people gripe or complain
about the class being too juvenile. In fact, we often hear comments of appreciation!
Working for government, our training rooms lack color and stimulation, so for a year, we actually had colorful kites hanging from the ceilings of our two main classrooms! We “retired” those and then bought colorful Chinese lanterns (bought on clearance from Pier 1), which also brighten our classroom. I’m anxious to get more ideas, from this Learning Tips newsletter, so thanks in advance for the help!
Nancy C. Anderson
Learning & Development Consultant
Hennepin County, MN”
Nancy, thank you for so convincingly validating the importance of these learning aids and explaining how to introduce them!