How to Enhance Learning With Engaging Setups

We learn by doing. How can a planner ensure speakers are providing effective learning environments? Tell them to step away from the lectern.

How to Enhance Learning With Engaging Setups

All forms of learning are important. Individuals may say they learn best from one form but, in reality, everyone learns using the three primary forms of learning: seeing, hearing and doing. The ideal session will include a variety of learning styles to ensure new knowledge is fully absorbed.

Your speakers will come to you with differing levels of experience and may not know how to integrate multiple learning styles. Teaching them is the planner’s job, and your lesson begins when you invite them to speak. When you outline your expectations, include that multiple learning styles must be used. Follow that up by including it in your speaker agreement and requiring a session outline that identifies the forms of learning to be used. Finally, on evaluation forms, ask how effective they were at using multiple forms of learning.

Beyond Turn to Your Neighbor

Two basic forms of interactive learning are to discuss with your neighbor and question and answer sessions. There is value in both, but they will not engage all participants.

Although each interactive learning activity will engage participants, an activity should be chosen based on how it will support the session objective and best transfer knowledge, and how well the speaker can manage it and your participants will accept it. Consider the fun value; it’s also a great way to learn.

How could one or more of the following enhance your next meeting? 

How could one or more of the following enhance your next meeting?

Boot camp: A short, intensive and rigorous course of training.

Brain date: One-on-one learning meetings with fellow participants.

Campfire: Speaker(s) presenting an idea, then session is participant-led with their questions.

Fishbowls: Three to six seated in the center; audience sits around the outside and observes without interrupting; an open fishbowl leaves a chair open for those who want to ask questions or make comments.

Genius lab: Open, interactive space to learn practical activities.

Hackathon: Any event of any duration where people come together to solve problems.

Learning labs: Hands-on instruction or an interactive demonstration at stations; may start with a brief lecture; station facilitator(s) are topic experts.

Hyde Park Corner Debate: Poll participants; two people debate for and against a topic; poll again to measure number of changed votes.

Unconference: Open format for collaborative discussions and sessions built around whatever subjects the audience wishes to discuss.

World café: Groups of four to six discuss a predetermined question for 15 to 20 minutes; participants move to a different table to discuss a different question; one person may remain to summarize the previous discussion; conclude with each table reporting on the collective discussion.