Astros or Dodgers? No matter which team you root for, baseball fans and trainers everywhere can learn some important lessons from this series.
1. Warm Ups are Essential
The wear and tear on the muscles during a long season is a major concern. Proper warm ups help to prevent muscle damage and lost time in the game. Neuroscientists and learning researchers tell us that this is true for ongoing professional learning, too. Warming up the neural pathways by activating prior knowledge will ensure that your players stay in the game.
Here’s a favorite warm-up exercise.
2. Highs and Lows are Common
The lead shifts back and forth during the game, giving fans a marathon of highs and lows. This roller coaster of emotions keeps us on the edge of our seat, wondering what is next. Successful trainers build this tension into ongoing professional learning activities. Debates, inconsequential competition and humor are all simple ways to add an emotional element that will keep your learners coming back for more.
3. Some people need extra innings
The unpredictability of the game is balanced by a structure that allows for adaptability. Extra innings, while unusual, are occasionally necessary. Game 5, with its 10 inning marathon, lasted as long as it took to get to the win. Successful trainers proactively build in structures that allow for learners to advance at different paces.
4. Errors Happen
The longer the game runs, the more likely errors will occur. Most trainers can be at the top of their game for a brief presentation, but long-term, multi-session classes are likely to show up a few weaknesses. Have you considered what yours are? Is it group management? Adding in movement? Infusing variety? Players get coached on error patterns. What are you doing to reduce yours?
Check out some group management tips here.
5. Expect fly balls
Fly balls occur almost 50% of the time during a game. Fielders try to anticipate the fly, get under it as quickly as possible and be in perfect position to catch it. Successful trainers also anticipate questions that will be flying at them and are prepared to provide solid answers.
Here’s a recommendation for how to field questions.
6. Endurance is Necessary
By the time the World Series begins, pitchers and other players are approaching the edge of what the body can tolerate. The winners must have incredible physical and psychological endurance. Facilitating a multi-session class also requires endurance. Adult learners need our very best performance at each session, not just during the first. Try adding novelty to each session to invigorate everyone involved.
7. Celebrations are Valuable
Teammates are frequently seen sharing their excitement over the small wins. Whether it is a high five in the dug out or an excited scrum on the field, celebrations don’t need to wait until the big parade. Smart trainers find or create small moments to celebrate learner contributions and growth. I keep a stash of Lifesavers, Paydays and other inexpensive items to toss out as a thank you for contributions to the group. I also will ask my participants to join me in a round of applause for someone who has been a good sport. These little moments matter and add to the overall feeling of success.
Do you have adult learners in your classes or seminars that have difficulty staying on task?
Neuroscientists tell us that the act of reflecting on your learning and seeing progress towards a goal releases dopamine in the brain. Dopamine* is the neurotransmitter linked to sustained attention and perseverance.
Help your learners stay on task by using the Progress Bar strategy. At the beginning of the class, provide participants with a progress bar handout. Ask them to write in their learning objectives for the course, and then reflect on their current knowledge or skill related to that objective. Next, direct them to shade in a percentage,0% representing no knowledge and 100% representing expert knowledge. Midway through the class, ask them to reflect again and shade in their progress. As you near the end of the day, ask them to do one final reflection.
As an added bonus, progress bars provide you with information about how confident your learners feel and who may need additional instruction.
*Dopamine is also considered one of the “feel good” chemicals.
For a Progress Bar Handout click here.
Have you played the popular app game 4 Words 1 Pic? The goal is to guess the common word that connects all four pictures that are shown on the screen. For example, what word do you think connects the four pictures below?
While trying to solve the puzzle, you were activating your prior knowledge about the topic, looking for similarities and differences, and summarizing your thinking into one essential word. This process is extremely beneficial for learners of all ages and helps to cement information. (If you guessed “sleep” you are correct!)
How easy this puzzle strategy is to add to your live presentations or webinars. Simply search copyright free images on Google or another site using a key word in your presentation. For example, if you want to emphasize the word teamwork, you might present something like this:
Too easy? Adjust the level of challenge to keep everyone engaged! For added emphasis, present several puzzles in a row that build to the most important message, like this:
Give it a try! I'd love to see the slides you create, so Tweet them and tag me @annebeninghof. For more ideas of how to weave puzzles into your presentations, click here.
A) use your hands while you speak?
B) use an iPad to demonstrate and reflect annotations?
C) need your hands free to hand out prizes, materials or to offer a high five?
D) do two or more of the above?
A, B, and C all apply to my presentation style. Thankfully, for most of my presentations, I have a wireless, clip-on microphone so that my hands are free. While I always ask my client in advance for a clip-on mic, I occasionally show up at a presentation site that does not have one. I feel so restricted by having to hold a microphone during my presentation.
I found a solution! About a month ago I purchased a hands-free brace to carry with me. It only weighs a few ounces and takes up very little room in my case. Just last week I arrived at a location and was given a hand-held mic to use for the day. No worries! I just whipped out my brace, and was ready to go. It was comfortable, effective and left my hands free to do anything else I needed. Well worth the $9.00 to be prepared!
For more ideas, check out my blog on gestures and my blog on a great annotation tool for presenting with an iPad.
For even more ideas...
Anne Beninghof is passionate about teaching and learning.
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