One way to aid information processing is to incorporate challenges, novelty, and creativity into training. Instructors should create comfortable environments that promote learning and build variety into the program design. A helpful approach involves tapping into participants’ current knowledge and making materials learner-centered. After presenting key information, instructors should give learners time to process it. Incorporating music into the classroom can improve information retention. Trainers should consider using teasers to stimulate curiosity, employ movement effectively, and create content that is flexible. They should address the three main learning modalities: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic (learning through touch and movement). Creative instructors teach to the senses and capture learners’ attention with novelties like magic tricks.
Based on Lucas’ experience, he relates 22 ways to engage participants with different learning modality preferences:
Strategies for Visual Learners
- Animate visual presentations.
- Quote memorable sources.
- Add color to course materials.
- Make materials visual.
- Demonstrate something.
- Create flash cards.
- Design mind maps (a graphic showing how concepts fit together).
- Use photos.
- Incorporate video clips.
Strategies for Auditory Learners
- Invite an outside expert to speak.
- Use group musical activities.
- Reinforce key points with recorded information and music.
- Use memory aids like acronyms, rhymes, and acrostics.
- Provide verbal instructions.
Strategies for Kinesthetic Learners
- Incorporate games and other action exercises into the course.
- Use fun and novelty.
- Include interactive strategies.
- Develop activities that require sorting and decision-making.
- Use different props.
- Use role play.
- Find activities that mimic real-world situations.
- Invite learners to stretch and move.
Developmental psychologist Howard Gardner has published research on eight intelligences he attributes to humans. Lucas identifies classroom strategies for tapping into these different skill sets:
1. Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence. Incorporate physical activities into training to engage the brain and stimulate learning.
2. Interpersonal Intelligence. Use activities that improve bonds between learners and expand their resource networks.
3. Intrapersonal Intelligence. Include self-assessment activities and journaling to help learners who are more introverted.
4. Linguistic Intelligence. Encourage participants to take notes, analyze, discuss, and present their thoughts about the training topics.
5. Logical-Mathematical Intelligence. To engage these learners, use problem solving and decision-making activities.
6. Musical Intelligence. Suggest that participants work on a musical skit based on training topics.
7. Naturalist Intelligence. Encourage participants to explore the natural environment, perhaps through a scavenger hunt.
8. Spatial Intelligence. Use visualization activities for learners with this intelligence.